Working With Your Local Media Outlets
Read the publications you’re interested in and find out who’s assigned to the community affairs desk, the health desk, the sports desk, etc. Some papers publish their reporters’ email addresses with their articles, or you might have to call or email to find out. Don’t waste anyone’s time by sending your press release to the government or crime beat reporter, it will get deleted.
- The first Masters meet ever held in your town because you have a new club
- A 95-year old swimmer competing to your event
- An Olympian competing in your event (never use the term “former Olympian”)
- Adult Learn-to-Swim class
- Stroke clinic
- Meet-and-greet for local lap swimmers
- Coach certification class
How to contact reporters and editors
Many journalists use Twitter. And not just journalists: police departments, visitors’ bureaus, and local governments are often active on Twitter. You can learn how to use Twitter, follow any relevant local organizations, and then interact with them appropriately.
And not only when you want something—remember, you’re cultivating relationships. If you write good tweets and don’t overdo it, you’ll get more followers, which expands your reach and the likelihood that your tweets will get noticed by a reporter or other influential community member.
Use great images! Pictures tell some stories better than words do.
- Hey @LoisLane, we’ve got the #kryptoninvite this w/end and you-know-who will be competing in #200fly. Love to see you there! @DailyPlanet
- Many thanks to @AtlantisFireRescue for keeping the swimmers safe at our annual #LostCityOpenWaterSwim—you guys rock! @AltantisPolice
- Congrats to @GrandmaOnTwitter, who broke a @MastersSwimming world record in the 1500 this weekend! @ABCNewsAffiliate @HeraldTribuneGazette
>>>Important: Be unfailingly polite and positive in all your tweets. Humor is fine, but keep it clean and light. Never engage in arguments or get defensive.
Social Media in General
Communications trends have meant a decline in the usefulness of press releases, especially since so many companies use the scattershot approach—blasting them out without researching the publication before pitching the story. This has resulted in press releases often getting deleted.
However, a press release can still work if it’s about something your local press is interested in. It’s still good practice to have all the facts and contact information presented in a clear and concise manner so that a reporter or editor can assess its newsworthiness and timeliness.
- Keep it concise—about 400 words
- Paste properly formatted press release directly in the email body—do not send an attachment
- Do not follow up after issuing a press release
- If applicable, link to your website where more information can be found
- Back up claims with concise and truthful facts and statistics
- Use active verbs; avoid passive voice
- Avoid excessive adjectives
- Use a non-sell approach
Press release template
- This customizable press release template can help you get started.