Despite the changing market around media including the growth of newer media outlets there’s still a place for traditional coverage within your local and regional newspapers.
Plenty of people within your community will still read their local paper to find out about local activities, events and achievements so it’s important to be proactive and get your stories out there.
Make Yourself Known
The first step is simple: get in touch with your local paper. Find out the contact information of a relevant reporter or editor on the papers’ website or in the printed paper, and give them a call.
Tell them about your club, a recent achievement, competition result or an upcoming event. Local and regional papers are interested in hearing about these activities and the more help you can give them the better and more often than not they will find a way of publishing your story either in print or online.
Don’t underestimate the power of face-to-face contact. It is easy to send someone an email but next best thing after a face to face conversation is that chat on the phone especially if you are talking with them for the first time. People respond to enthusiasm so project your passion for judo and your club in your initial conversation and you’re more likely to build interest in your club and get your stories published than through a formal email.
If you’re holding an event, masterclass or competition then invite your local paper(s) down to cover it. The work you’re doing, the personalities and the successes of your club can be more effectively highlighted if somebody is able to see and experience it at first-hand. Even if they’re not able to attend it doesn’t cost you anything to invite them and have them visit your club.
The 5 W’s
When discussing or sending any potential news story always remember the Five W’s: Who, What, When, Where and Why.
Don’t shy away from giving as much information as possible as the editors and reporters can edit it down if needed. However, it doesn’t hurt to ask what word limit they might be working with especially if it is for a printed edition.
Promoting your events
When it comes to promoting events via the press most newspapers will have an online form and/or a specific events email on their website where you can include relevant details. However, there is no harm in following that up with a direct contact at the paper (if you have one) and asking them to promote that way as well.
Wherever possible provide photos as the more visual you can make your story the better. Most smart phones and devices can take high quality images but if you have access to a decent DSLR camera then use that.
Writing a Press Release
Writing your own press releases can be a great way to get your story in the papers. Journalists and reporters are busy people and by sending a press release to them directly it saves them time researching and writing it up themselves.
Here are some tips on how to get your press release noticed:
- Introduce the story – Draw the reader in with an engaging and interesting opening 2-3 sentences.
- Content is key – Include all the relevant information that the reader will need: The 5 W’s. Try and avoid complex judo terminology and Japanese terms, make sure it is Judo you are promoting. Papers will naturally want to focus on successful players but try to give others a mention and above all be positive.
- Keep it short – Try and keep your press release short as it saves the journalist editing it and avoids losing key information.
- Include a quote – Make the story personal by including a quote from a coach, parent or player.
- Use Google Alerts – Sign up to Google Alerts to see what news coverage you are getting online.
- Contact details – Be sure to leave information for the public or journalist about how they can contact you/the club.