Your group has come up with some great ways to raise money for your tour with EF, and you’ve created a successful fundraising plan. Now what? The next step is to increase awareness and start rallying for community support. The best way to do this is to reach out to your local media outlets and tell them about your student tour—local newspapers, television and radio stations are a great way to spread awareness about your fundraising initiatives and build interest. Before you approach your community news editors or reporters, be sure you can catch their attention with the right messaging. Below are 5 tips to consider when pitching your story.
1. Think about your message
The role of a news editor is to produce stories that will attract an audience. When you are thinking about your message, ask yourself what will be most engaging for the readers. Highlight the 21st century skills your students will develop through international travel and cultural immersion, or the fact that they will return home global citizens. If you have any writers in the group, you could even propose having a student journalist pen the article.
2. Determine your point of contact
News outlets vary in size, so some newspapers may only have one editor while others have many reporters each dedicated to specific topics. The easiest way to identify who to contact is to visit their website. The masthead or contact page will provide a list of editors and reporters along with their email addresses and phone numbers.
Often, the best person to reach out to is the education reporter or community news reporter. Before emailing them, read a few of their past stories to make sure they’re the right person for your story.
3. Draft your pitch
Your pitch should be simple, concise and attention-grabbing. Be sure to provide the most relevant information that you think the reporter needs to know. The easiest way to do this is to answer the five Ws: who, what, when, where and why. The “why” should be where you explain what makes your story newsworthy. The subject line should also be short and sweet, but make it obvious that you’re offering them a story idea. Use what you learned from researching the reporter’s interests to write a tailored pitch and really capture their attention.
4. Make their job as easy as possible
The easier it is for a reporter or editor to craft a story based on your pitch, the more likely it is that it will be published. Reporters work long hours under very tight deadlines. If you have any, attach photos, include quotes, or offer to arrange interviews with yourself or your students. This information also clarifies the message of your pitch and makes for a well-rounded story.
5. Follow up
Most reporters and editors receive plenty of emails every day. Wait a day or two before following up on your initial email so they have an opportunity to read it. Follow up with a casual but direct phone call, and be prepared to answer any questions they may have.
Once your story gets published, don’t forget to share it with your friends, your family, your local community—and even with EF (our team would love to hear about it)! The easiest way to do this is through social media. Your group’s hard work and commitment to fundraising will allow you all to to see the world, and that is something worth celebrating.
Take your students on the adventure of a lifetime. Start planning your educational student tour today!
Newspapers: Jon S.