How Do You Tell Your Story to the Media?

  • Know your local media: daily and weekly newspapers, radio and TV, Internet and blogs, wire services.

    • In this digital age, don’t discount radio. With the approval of your refuge manager, contact a local radio station to suggest a regular monthly program hosted by the manager or other refuge staff.

    • Your local public access cable television station might consider interviewing the refuge manager or Friends president.

    • List your events on newspaper, television Web sites as well as Internet sites such as Patch.com.

  • Know what makes a good story.

    • People. (Who is doing something groundbreaking, fascinating or just unusual?)

    • Relating to what’s in the news. (How is the drought or sea level rise affecting wildlife on the refuge?)

    • Something that is surprising, counterintuitive, one–of–a–kind

    • An urgent or unexpected threat. (Are volunteers needed to protect sea turtle nests suddenly exposed by a higher–than–usual tide?)

    • Contests, festivals, seasonal special events

  • Know how to write a good press release.

    • Answer the key questions succinctly: who, what, when, where, why.

    • Include a date and contact information. Follow up with a phone call and leave specifics in your message.

    • Don’t depend exclusively on press releases—follow Twitter and Facebook pages of interested reporters and publications so that you can comment about your refuge or Friends group when it’s appropriate.

  • Target your stories.

    • Consider news, features, leisure and lifestyle, travel, op–ed/letters to the editor.

    • Regularly update your media contact lists.

    • Build a relationship with individual reporters.

  • Know the message you want to convey.

    • Identify no more than three key take–away ideas.

    • Keep your talking points short. Radio–TV sound bites are 5–20 seconds.

    • Avoid bureaucratic lingo or acronyms.

    • Create good photo opportunities to illustrate your message.