How to Attract Media Coverage (2023)

(Adapted from a tip sheet by the Drug Policy Alliance)

1. Identify what’s “newsworthy.”

There’s a big difference between an issue and a news story. You’re more likely to get media coverage when a “story” emerges. What makes something newsworthy? Controversy, anniversaries, civil disobedience, human interest, strange bedfellows, superlatives (first, biggest, etc.),conflict, dramatic human interest, new announcement, trend, local spin to national or global issues (or vice versa), a fresh angle on an old story, milestone, celebrity, special event, etc. If a topic isn’t newsworthy – no matter how important – reporters probably won’t cover it. Also, visuals always get attention and send a message that is less corruptible than a verbal one.

2. Develop written materials.

The first thing a reporter is likely to ask when you call them to pitch a story is: “Do you have anything in writing?” Help make their job as easy as possible by developing brief, easy-to-read materials. Especially important is a 1-2 page media advisory or press release with details of your event or news story. When possible, other background materials can be helpful, including fact sheets, spokespeople bios or report summaries. Learn how to create these resources in our How-To Media Guide.

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3. Develop a targeted media list.

It is important to think about which reporters will be interested in your story. Will it entice journalists who write about health? Politics? Entertainment? Is it a local or a national story? Is it a story that’s good for newspaper, radio and/or television? From there, develop a list of reporters’ names, e-mail addresses, phone numbers, and social media contact information.

4. Be by a fax machine and / or computer.

In order to quickly send your written materials to a reporter, it is important to be close to a fax machine or computer when making pitch calls. If a reporter wants to see something right away, it will not help to send them something several hours later or the next day. Don’t have a fax machine? You can easily send faxes via the internet. Fax or e-mail your press advisory or release, but call to follow up.

5. Identify strategic spokespeople.

The messenger is often just as important as the message when it comes to the media. For example, a doctor or patient talking about the importance of medical marijuana will probably be more effective than a college student in perfect health. It is also crucial that spokespeople are articulate and knowledgeable on the issue, and easily reachable by reporters on a deadline. Having experience speaking to the press is always a plus. If you are having a rally or large event, have one or two people designated as press liaisons. This way the information you give to the media can be controlled. Make sure everyone at the event knows whom to direct the reporters to.

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6. Practice your telephone pitch.

Before talking to a reporter, see if what you are planning to say passes the “cousin” test. In other words, run it by your cousin or someone who doesn’t have any knowledge of the issue to make sure that you are sending the right message, and that it is clear. You can also practice leaving messages on your own answering machine. If you’re talking to a reporter and feel like things aren’t coming out right, you can stop and say, “let me start again,” and do so. Reporters get hundreds of calls a day. What’s likely to make a reporter not hang up on you, or immediately delete your message, is if you develop a well-focused, 30-second pitch that highlights the essence of your story. Once you hook them, you can describe in more detail why you are calling and how you can get them more information. Don’t forget to leave your phone number if you leave a message!

7. Remember – reporters are not your friends.

Be careful and strategic when doing interviews. Develop a relationship (not a friendship) with reporters. Find out who the environmental reporter is and make sure to send information to them directly. If you are credible, helpful and timely, they will come to you when they are looking for information. It is good to have one person from a group be the press contact for consistency reasons.

8. Keep in mind that reporters have a job to do, and their job is to get a good story.

They know little, if anything, about your issue. They are under deadlines and often have multiple stories going at once, and they are under constant pressure from their editors. Most media outlets are businesses with the ultimate goal of selling papers and increasing their ratings, which place added constraints on reporters. Don’t let that intimidate you. You’re not going to lose anything by trying. If you’re not having any luck, be direct. Ask the reporter what it will take to get them to cover your story. They might tell you exactly what you need to do. And remember, reporters want to cover good stories, which is what you are providing.

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9. Stay on message!

Don’t confuse the reporter with too much information. They will often choose odd things to highlight in their coverage, so only give them the information you want to get across. It is good to have a short message that you can repeat constantly. Repeat it, and repeat it again. If you provide all the information reporters need to write a story, it makes their life easier (remember they are on a deadline). Furthermore, it allows you to give them the information you want them to have.

10. Never lie or exaggerate.

It is important that reporters feel they can trust the information you give them. If they find out you are lying or exaggerating, it will greatly hurt your chances of ever being able to pitch them a story again. It destroys your credibility. If you don’t know an answer, admit it, but say that you can find it for them and get back to them – promptly (remember, they are on a deadline). Usually the facts are strong enough to make a case for a good story.

11. Don’t take no for an answer.

Pitching is not dating. Don’t be afraid to be direct: Ask if the reporter plans to show up to your event or cover your story. If a reporter says no, try another reporter, or call them again when you have a different story. If you get one out of ten reporters to write about your story, that is a huge success! Remember, one reporter can represent thousands of readers, listeners or viewers. When you call a reporter, always ask if they have a minute to talk. Often times they will be on deadline and will not be able to talk to you then. If they are busy, ask when a better time would be to call them. The reporter will likely appreciate this greatly and be more receptive.

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12. There is NO off-the-record.

Remember, the reporter is not your friend; they are out to get a story and sell papers. If you tell them something “off the record” it can still end up in the story – it just may not have your name attached to it.

13. Use the media to get more media.

If a good article comes out on your issue, send it to other reporters who might also be interested. Often newspapers will be more interested in op-ed pieces if the topic has been in the recent news. Articles and op-eds can also lead to radio interviews, and local stories can lead to national stories, if they’re seen by the right editors / producers.

14. Say thank you.

Developing friendly relationships with reporters is helpful when trying to pitch news stories. If a reporter writes a story you like, call them up and say thank you. They appreciate it and will be more likely to return your phone call the next time around.

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15. Don’t forget social & alternative media!

These are other, powerful ways of spreading your message, and they often reach different audiences than the mainstream media. Use them! Depending on where you live, there may be alternative newspapers, community newspapers & radio, and cable-access television. Ask around. Make sure to announce your event on social media platforms, invite friends, and send the social media links to your press contacts.

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Visit our Campaign Resources page for fact sheets, posters, and other media-friendly resources.

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How can I promote media coverage? ›

  1. Send a handwritten thank you note to the blogger, editor or journalist. ...
  2. Ask your community to thank the blogger, editor or journalist. ...
  3. Connect with the writer on LinkedIn. ...
  4. Add the writer to your list. ...
  5. Invite the writer to your next event. ...
  6. Send the article to other journalists, press outlets and bloggers.

How do you get media attention for your cause? ›

Follow the three steps to set your cause up for better media coverage:
  1. Position yourself or others within your cause as experts.
  2. Stay in contact with relevant reporters.
  3. Make your website media friendly.

What are the 5 elements of media strategy? ›

The 5 Elements of an Effective Social Media Strategy
  • Audience Awareness. ...
  • Ideal Platform Selection. ...
  • Data-Driven Risk-Taking. ...
  • Constant Learning and Adaptation. ...
  • Integrate within Digital Strategy. ...
  • Conclusion.
18 Mar 2019

What are 3 techniques used in the media to attract your attention? ›

Marketers use these techniques to attract audience attention:
  • Rule of thirds and the golden ratio.
  • Color psychology.
  • Testimonials.
  • Placement and typography.
  • Visual path.
  • Association.
  • Emotion.
  • Demographic positioning.
11 Mar 2022

How do you get mass attention? ›

Here are some tips and tricks from relationship and matchmaking experts that can help you get a man to focus his attention on you.
  1. Smile. TODAY. ...
  2. Don't hide in the corner. ...
  3. Ask for his help. ...
  4. Talk about your hobbies. ...
  5. Don't dress for your girlfriends. ...
  6. Look him in the eye. ...
  7. Avoid the obvious. ...
  8. Go out alone or with one other friend.
20 Jul 2016

What are examples of media coverage? ›

Media coverage means any reporting, recording, broadcasting, narrowcasting, cablecasting or webcasting of court proceedings by the media using TV, radio, photographic, recording, or other electronic devices.

How can I get my story on my TV? ›

How to Get Media Coverage for Your Story
  1. Create a targeted media list. Sometimes it's best to go big by starting small. ...
  2. Find the right reporters. There is likely someone already covering the topic at hand. ...
  3. Develop a press kit for reporters and producers. ...
  4. Find Your News Hook. ...
  5. Plan Ahead.

What is the most effective form of media? ›

Movies – film, motion picture, screenplay, moving picture, or movie has world-wide reachability. It's the best type of mass media to promote cultures and spread social awareness. Movies have always played a huge part in the entertainment world.

What is a good media strategy? ›

Identifying & researching your target audience

In addition to understanding yIdentifying your target audience is essential in developing an effective media strategy. In addition to understanding your audience's key demographic traits, really dive deep to try to get to know and understand your target audience.

What are the 7 forms of media? ›

Modern media comes in many different formats, including print media (books, magazines, newspapers), television, movies, video games, music, cell phones, various kinds of software, and the Internet.

What are the seven secrets of media? ›

The seven secrets of the Media Lab are: sun, moon, fire, water, wood, metal, and earth. The sun is evocative of a light shining into every corner of the Media Lab.

What are the 10 attention getting strategies? ›

10 Ways Great Speakers Capture People's Attention
  • Start with the unexpected. Start with a bang, not a whimper. ...
  • Make it about them. ...
  • Keep it concrete at the start. ...
  • Keep it moving. ...
  • Get to the point. ...
  • Arouse emotion. ...
  • Keep it interactive. ...
  • Write clear headlines.
5 Mar 2014

What are 4 ways to grab the audience's attention? ›

Engage the audience — get them interested, give them a reason to listen. How?
  • Describe a scene or a character.
  • Tell a story.
  • Share a personal experience.
  • Relate to a recent event.
  • Piggyback on a previous speaker's remark or theme.
  • Point out something important about the audience or the current setting.

What is a good attention gainer? ›

Attention-getters can include references to the audience, quotations, references to current events, historical references, anecdotes, startling statements, questions, humor, personal references, and references to the occasion.

How do you get an attention grabbing opening? ›

7 Tips for Writing a Great Hook
  1. Your title is your first hook. ...
  2. Drop your readers into the middle of the action. ...
  3. Form an emotional connection. ...
  4. Make a surprising statement. ...
  5. Leave your reader with questions. ...
  6. Stay away from description. ...
  7. Once you have your reader's attention, keep it.
1 Sept 2021

What are six strategies for engaging the audience? ›

6 Easy Ways to Engage Your Audience for a Better Presentation
  • Maintain eye contact. It may sound obvious, but eye contact is crucial throughout your presentation—and that doesn't mean just those first two minutes. ...
  • Make them laugh. ...
  • Tailor your approach. ...
  • Tell a story. ...
  • Keep it short. ...
  • Share your enthusiasm.
21 Oct 2016

How do you attract social media audiences? ›

11 Ways to Grow Your Social Media Audience
  1. Hold contests. ...
  2. Include a visual with every post. ...
  3. Share more video. ...
  4. Be proactive in listening to and responding to your online community. ...
  5. Change your Page profile photos and cover photos. ...
  6. Give people a reason to follow you. ...
  7. Encourage tagging. ...
  8. Use hashtags to get found.
24 Jan 2020

What are the examples of media coverage? ›

Media coverage means any reporting, recording, broadcasting, narrowcasting, cablecasting or webcasting of court proceedings by the media using TV, radio, photographic, recording, or other electronic devices.

What are the three types of media coverage? ›

What are the three types of media coverage? The three types of media coverage are owned, paid, and earned. Owned is your own media, paid is promotional media, and earned is unpaid coverage from other sources.

How do you leverage media coverage? ›

How to Leverage Media Coverage of Your Nonprofit
  1. Blog about it on your website. ...
  2. Share and reshare on social media. ...
  3. Update your website's Press page. ...
  4. Build an incoming link from the story. ...
  5. Use a website pop-up to target referral traffic. ...
  6. Repurpose into supporter communications. ...
  7. Pitch a new story to a different journalist.
8 Jun 2022

What media coverage means? ›

The term media coverage is used to refer to all blog articles, RSS feeds, video content or other types of digital content (produced by individuals or organisations other than your own company) where your brand, products or services are discussed or shown.

How do I contact news media with a story? ›

Look on the media outlet's website for an email address.

Find the organization's website and search for an “About Us” or “Contact” tab. Most news organizations publish an email or phone number for tips on stories. Use this email or phone number to contact the press and tell them about your story.


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