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10 Tips To Get More Press Coverage For Your School

Published on 12/11/15

Want to get your school’s story heard? PR agency Athene Communications have listed the best ways to get coverage for your school.

Why does my school need press coverage?

News rooms have never been more stretched for time, coming to rely more than ever for community members to provide them with stories. This is a great opportunity to build your school’s reputation within the local community, and celebrate all the good things that your school is doing. Having ties with local journalists can also help when your school is recruiting for new students, teachers and staff too, promoting your school and it’s image in local press.

1. Know your media

The content needs to be relevant and written for the publication’s audience. A publication can be anything from a local newspaper or magazine, to a website where your article will be displayed. Make sure you are familiar with their content, and use straight forward language in your article which ties in with their tone of voice.

2. Stand out from the crowd

Make the story newsworthy. Your story must be new, informative, and tag onto public or human interest – focus on the people, rather than the school. Offer exclusivity if you really want your story to be covered.

3. Write a press release

Summarise the key points of your story into a press release, written in the style of a news article. Get the juicy parts of the story – who, what, and when – into the very first sentence.

4. Know their deadlines

If your paper is printed on a Thursday, there is a good chance that most of the paper will be written by Tuesday morning, so get in early. Don’t contact them on the afternoon before it is printed – they will be under pressure to hit the final deadline.

5. Make full use of your email subject field and headline

Give the journalist a reason to care after reading your email title. A valid, eye-catching subject line is crucial. One that is misleading or unclear will most likely get deleted straight away.

6. Pick up the phone

Don’t just email your story. Journalists receive hundreds of emails each day, so it’s easy for one to get missed. If you think it’s better to sell your story to the journalist over the phone, then do so – but don’t waste their time. Be clear on the key points and messaging, and be ready to offer up more information.

7. Supply an image

Always send a photo. It will make your story clearer and it helps the journalist to fill up space! If you're sending your story to a newspaper or magazine, make sure the photo quality is high resolution (minimum 1MB is best).

8. Follow-up and keep trying

Journalists are busy. Just because they don't cover you now, it doesn't mean they can't cover you later.

9. Be accessible

When you have a story to run make sure you are accessible. Don't leave your computer straight after sending an email pitch or news release - the journalist could want information straight away. Always provide your best contact number - being accessible out of office hours may be the difference between a story being run or pulled.

10. Get online

All journalists use social media to get their stories. They will most likely have a Twitter account and monitor it regularly during the day. It's a great idea to follow the journalist on Twitter, and don't be afraid to Tweet them if you can help them with a story - or chip into a conversation. Kindness pays dividends.


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