How to work with the local press in promoting your school.
Local newspapers have gone through some major changes over the years. Once the prime source of news for most UK communities, many of them have sadly fallen as the media landscape has shifted.
Larger regional newspapers have mopped up a lot of former local papers’ readerships, while the growth of online media and the rising use of mobile handsets means that a weekly newspaper cannot compete with the immediacy of delivery for our time-poor, digital audiences.
What media do you have?
The result of this is that most towns will just have one local newspaper now. Some even less, instead being served by a wider regional title that distributes a weekly ‘local’ version. In addition, or instead, in reaction to the demise of many local titles, you may well have some great community news websites in your area. A simple Google search will bring them up. Their readerships can often get quite large, as their content is shared widely on social media - particularly by parents on Facebook!
This local print and online media is invaluable when promoting a school or college. Whereas the national titles provides a wider picture, local journalists are the trusted face of the local community and are always on the look out for positive (and negative) stories about people and businesses in their area. These titles tell parents all about the schools their children will attend.
Getting to know the team is very important. There will not be a huge editorial office, so take the time to introduce yourself to everyone and ascertain who the best contact for education stories is - and ask how they like to be contacted. Some journalists still love a phone call. Many will ask for email. But by calling to introduce yourself and getting to know the journalist, you are a face behind an email (they get a lot!). Just make sure you ask when their deadlines are, and don’t call them then!
What to send
News. Nothing that happened six months ago, or that simply reads as an ad. Special guests, results, charity initiatives and working with local businesses all work well. Your press release needs to short and to the point: try not to exceed one side of paper and include the ‘who, what, where, when and why’ in the first paragraph. Ensure the right contact details are at the bottom of the page in case the journalist wants more info and always include a quote from the school. Never email your release as an attachment; embed it in the email - and only after telling the journalist it is coming over.
Help is at hand!
If you would like more in-depth guidance on pr and press relations just drop us a line so we can arrange to have a chat about how Glove Marketing can help you - firstname.lastname@example.org