The media is always on the lookout for good stories. With Yuda Bands being in the forefront of student-led service learning projects, you’re already off to a good start. It’s now a matter of how to get news coverage for your project.
Importance of media coverage
News coverage allows you to cast a wider net, helping you reach more people to get the word out there. In this case, our message of eradicating extreme poverty through education will remain unheard of in the absence of media coverage. That’s we highly recommend getting in touch with the press.
Not everyone can afford a PR company to do the work for them. Fortunately, you can still get significant news coverage about your Yuda Bands project thanks to this guide.
How to get news coverage
There are steps you must follow to get the media’s attention. Here’s a complete step-by-step guide to keeping you on track.
1. Create your buzz
One of the best ways for the media to take notice is by creating your buzz. For one, social media is a powerful platform to get an early word out there about your project. From posting on your personal pages to creating an event page, this gets the community talking.
For example, tweeting about your Yuda Bands project raises awareness within your circle. A simple statement with a photo can reach a larger audience if it is retweeted so many times. When you strengthen this further with relevant hashtags, you begin to cover much greater ground.
Blogging about your project is also an effective way to generate significant buzz about your story. The trick here is to exhaust your connections first. By the time you connect with the media, there’s already an audience for it.
2. Go local
Don’t get caught up trying to get national coverage. In fact, going for your local news provides equally compelling benefits, if not more.
People love local stories, especially when it’s about helping those who are in need. Moreover, the idea of “hometown heroes” always sells to the press. This can help you spread the word about your Yuda Bands project better.
3. Create a press list
Each news outlet specializes on a topic. For example, TMZ is best known for gossip while Mashable is best known for its technology stories. When you’re trying to get news coverage for your story, you must contact the right outlet.
One way to do this is to create a press list of outlets that are more likely to take notice of your story. Research your area’s daily newspaper, TV or radio station, magazine or web-based news site. You can also take note of reporters you believe will be interested in your project. From here, find their phone numbers and email addresses and organize everything on a spreadsheet.
3. Streamline your message
Before you get in touch with the media, it’s best to simplify your message. The tendency of people is to get overly excited; they throw too much information in one sitting. Be sure to polish what you want to say first. Talk about what exactly your core message is so it is much easier to deliver to your news outlet.
Framing your message also makes it easier for you to write your press release. You will have something short yet substantial and compelling. What you have now is this quick elevator pitch instead of a long, winding email.
4. Write a press release
Once you know the key takeaways of your project, it’s time to write a press release. It’s essentially the “who, what, where, why, and how” of your Yuda Bands project. In this section, you will include your school’s name, when you are selling, what it is for as well as other important details. Once an outlet or a reporter is done reading your press release, they should have a much better idea of what the story is about.
Be sure to write two press releases: First is to announce the details of your project before it happens and another about the story written in past tense. These pre and post-event press releases should still read objectively and must be nearly ready to print or publish as it is.
Include numbers and photos, previous news coverage, important links as well as your contact details. Since Yuda Bands has collected noteworthy coverage before, you may want to include that in your release.
The key to writing a strong press release is making it newsworthy. What sets your story apart from everyone else? What makes your project so unique that it deserves a spot?
5. Pitch with brevity
We all want to say as much as we can to make our story stand out. However, sending out a long email as your pitch to a reporter/news outlet isn’t the best way to do it. The media works with a very tight schedule. That’s why pitching with substance and brevity is the better way to spark their interest. Cut right to the chase and let them know what your story is and why it matters.
Forget about email templates. It will make your emails long and message impersonal. What counts is differentiating your story from everybody else’s.
You’re not guaranteed to get news coverage the first time you call or email. Chances are, you’re going to have to send 2-3 times more before you receive a reply. So don’t hesitate to do a follow up when you don’t hear from them after three days. We also recommend conducting an A/B testing with your emails by changing one sentence to see which one works better.
Follow up but know when to stop. Try not to go beyond three emails sent to the same reporter or news outlet. Try and look at your story with fresh eyes and move on to the next.
It may be hard work getting the media to cover your story. However, patience and persistence are what will give your Yuda Bands project the publicity it deserves. Keep these tips in mind, so more people will keep our story alive.