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Stonewall's Communications Officer Gary Nunn says that working effectively with the media is key to the success of any campaign. Here are his tips below for getting media coverage for your group or campaign:
Write a good media release: The best media releases are concise and use everyday English - avoiding jargon, acronyms and elaborate or flowery language. State all the facts within your first sentence or two, leaving minute detail in the Notes to Editors at the end. Include a short quote from a key contact in your organisation to liven it up a bit.
Be reactive: Reacting to news stories that directly affect your organisation is often an effective way of getting good media coverage. Be quick off the mark - before another organisation beats you to it, or the story becomes old news.
Be proactive: Don't forget - journalists want to hear your news. Don't be afraid to pick up the phone and chat through something your organisation has coming up that may interest them. Journalists especially like 'exclusive' news stories, so if you have an interesting angle to pitch, consider which publication would most like to cover it.
Keep your finger on the pulse: Keep an eye on politicians and celebrities alike - journalists will be watching their actions closely and what they do - or what they say - may be something you can neatly tie in with. Be open to opportunities to promote your organisation and its key priorities or campaigns - anything from awareness raising weeks to the opening of a new film could be a chance for you to grab some valuable column inches.
Know your audience: Think carefully about what different readers want. Is the publication you're pitching to positioned on the right or the left of the political spectrum? Is it gay or straight? Does it have more male or female readers? What age group is most likely to read it? What topics is the publication most likely to cover? The answer to all these questions will mean that each pitch you make is different.
Avoid over exposure: Not every story that breaks will be relevant for you to respond to. And not every piece of news your organisation has will be of interest to journalists. If you bombard them with e-mails and media releases, they'll hit the delete button before even reading it. Always think about the brand reputation of your organisation and don't dilute any credence you have as a campaigning body by becoming a "rent-a-gob". It'll only result in people not taking you - or your campaigns - seriously.