Basic Steps to Raising Awareness through the Media
Scoring a media success is easier once you understand how the process works. Familiarize yourself with the basic steps and timeline below before you start working with reporters. Keep in mind reporters need ample time to produce a quality story. Start your media efforts 6-8 weeks in advance for best results.
8 weeks Ahead - Choose your theme and gather information
Perhaps you want your story to highlight your upcoming fundraiser or support group meeting. Or maybe you just want to share your personal journey with PH. Whatever theme you choose, make sure to make your pitch irresistible to reporters by doing some of the work for them. Visit PHA's Press Room and public service announcements pages to gather fact sheets, informational video clips and other resources you could share with a reporter to make coverage easy for them.
7 weeks ahead - Create a media list
A media list is a contact list of reporters with their emails and phone numbers. When creating your list, target reporters who typically covers aspects of your story such as health, parenting or community fundraising. Here are a few tips to help you compile your media list:
- Visit PHA’s media search page: Type your zip code in the box and click “Go” for a list of all the media outlets in your area.
- Put several irons in the fire: Consider including multiple reporters at a single news organization in your media list. For instance, a story about a PH special event might be pitched to a local editor, a local reporter, a health editor, a health reporter and someone who covers nonprofits and philanthropy. The more people you try, the more likely you are to find your idea accepted.
5 weeks ahead - Write your pitch
When writing your pitch, try to figure out what will catch a journalist’s attention. Make sure to keep your pitch to half a page. Include the most important basic facts about your story, special event or support group, and highlight the information materials you gathered earlier in the process. Have someone less familiar with the story you are trying to share review your pitch. Is it interesting to them? Does it make them want to know more? If not, it probably won't interest a journalist either and you may need to change your approach. Finally, spend a few minutes thinking of a subject line for your email pitch that will grab a reporter’s attention.
You can also try adapting one of these template pitches:
3 weeks ahead - Contact journalists and follow up
Email your pitch to the list of reporters that you created earlier. Within a few days, call the reporters on your list and ask if they’re interested in covering your story. When you follow up with reporters, try to offer something new each time — an additional fact, new video, someone to interview (with contact information) or a related article or a website.
1 week ahead - Interview tips
Securing an interview is half the battle! Now comes the easy part: sharing your personal journey. Stay relaxed and provide honest answers. For more interview tips, watch one of these videos:
After securing media coverage - enjoy your success!
Congratulations! You got your story in the news! We’d love to hear about your media success, so share your media coverage with PHA on our Facebook page www.Facebook.com/PulmonaryHypertensionAssociation or by emailing Elisabeth at PHAware@PHAssociation.org or 301-565-3004 x753.