Tips for Contacting Local Media

Being awarded National Lottery funding is a huge achievement and great news for your local community.

Your local newspapers and radio stations will be interested to hear about your news. You may already have a good relationship with your local media or this could be the first time you have ever contacted them.

We have outlined some tips for contacting media below

Identify which media to target

It may sound obvious but local newspapers and radio stations will only cover stories that fall within the exact area they cover. The newspapers you should contact are the ones that are available to buy or are given our for free in the area your project is based. If you are unsure you can always ring and ask what area they cover. With radio stations think about your local BBC as well as any commercial stations in your area.

Find the best contact

Most newspapers and radio stations will have an email address for the news desk on their website. This will get a lot of emails sent to it so it is worth calling the news desk to tell them about your story and ask if there is anyone in particular you should send it through to.

Drafting your press release

We have included a template you can use to draft your press release. When filling this in think about the impact of the grant - explain how the grant will make a real difference to the people you work with? Does it mean you will be able to work with more people, or open up to new groups for the first time? How will it improve their lives?

Sending your press release

Think about your subject line as this is the first thing the journalist will see, and if it doesn't catch their eye they may not even open the email. It's a good idea to reference your local area in the subject so the journalist can see it’s relevant, for instance 'Wolverhampton Sports Club Awarded National Lottery Funding'. It's best to paste the press release into the body of the email rather than attach it and if you are sending to multiple contacts at different outlets use BCC not CC. And don't forget to always include your contact details.

Attach an image

Attaching a high quality photo can really improve your chance of gaining publicity. Photos taken on iPhones or similar will be fine. Think about what you want the photo to say about your project - think about the setting and who you want to include in the photo, this could be staff or perhaps some of the people that will benefit from the grant. Make sure you provide the names of everyone in the photo and make clear who is who - it will be used as a caption.

Follow up with a phone call

Journalists receive lots of press releases each day and it will help if you give them a quick call to highlight your news. If time is an issue, select one or two key newspapers or radio stations to make sure they have received your press release.