Successful media outreach starts with creating a contact list. The next step is building and then maintaining media relationships to become a valued and trusted source. How? Follow these tips and best practices to optimize your communications, share chapter news and – hopefully – generate ongoing media coverage for your chapter.
- Be newsworthy. Here are some things to consider:
- Timeliness – Is what I’m sending timely and interesting? Examples of timely news include any upcoming webinars, training sessions or accomplishments for your chapter.
- Human interest – Does your chapter have a really interesting SCORE success story? Has one of your clients made a strong impact in the community, overcome a recent challenge or helped others? If so, local reporters might be interested in learning more or scheduling an interview.
- Impact – How does what I’m sending impact my local community? Is there a good local story to be told here in relation to the work my chapter is doing?
- Immediate & Current – Do you have a story/event/initiative that connects to something going on locally or on a national level? For example, maybe one of your local SCORE clients is doing something unique to combat supply chain issues or to attract employees during a labor shortage.
- Connect with the newsroom. As mentioned in our guide on how to create a local media list, the best way to connect with TV and radio stations is to send a press release to the newsroom email and then call the newsroom phone number. Identify yourself (be friendly and get to the point quickly!) and let them know you sent something of interest (say what it was) and wanted to follow up. This helps build a relationship with the news desk that assigns stories to reporters.
- Personalize your pitch. For newspapers, blogs and radio, you can individually pitch reporters who regularly cover small business, the local community, entrepreneurship or nonprofits. Mention why you think they would be interested (did they write something recently that caught your eye?). By sending a personalized and conversational note, it helps reporters view you as a credible source.
- Subject lines are important. For press releases and pitching emails, be sure to have a catchy but shorter subject line to capture the reporter’s attention so they will open your email.
- Follow up. If you don’t hear back from an email pitch, send a follow up note to the reporter to ensure they received your email and check if there’s interest. Send no more than two follow up emails per pitch.
- Respond promptly! Reporters and newsrooms are often working on deadlines. Make sure to include a cell phone number or other means to contact you and then follow up immediately if they reach out. Being available, helpful and quick to respond is the best way to make sure the media will contact you again and value you as a source.
- Be consistent. Establish a regular cadence to reach out to your local media whether it is via monthly press release, regular phone contact or establishing rapport over email.
- Don’t be discouraged! It’s completely okay if you do not get media coverage on a press release or pitch you send. Getting media attention is tough, but these fundamentals will set you up for success and lay the groundwork for meaningful press relationships.
Here’s an example of how one SCORE chapter garnered local press coverage celebrating the chapter’s record number of business mentoring requests – and doubling of resources as a result. For more ideas, check our customizable press release templates in the Support Center or the Field Marketing Editorial Calendar for monthly campaigns or trends that you can amplify locally.
As always, our public relations team (email@example.com) is here to provide additional guidance as needed. Thank you for sharing your chapter’s success and accomplishments!