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Reach Out to the Media

Getting coverage in the media for your petition is a great way to grow your support and win the change that you are seeking.
Decision makers are sensitive to media coverage, so getting a story about your petition can be a great way to influence them. Here are four steps to getting that coverage:

Step 1: Craft your press story
Step 2: Pitch reporters
Step 3: Ace the interview
Step 4: Make the most of media
Step 1: Craft your press story
You can link your story to something that is being covered on the news right now, mention an upcoming deadline or decision, or link your petition to a calendar event like a holiday.

Timing is everything
You’ll need to show why your petition is important right now. You can link your story to something that is being covered on the news right now or you can mention an upcoming deadline or decision or link your petition to a calendar event like a holiday. You can also demonstrate momentum, for example by saying “This petition is taking off! It has been signed 250 times in the last 24 hours.”

Location matters
Explain how your petition is relevant to the area the reporter covers by finding local angles and targeting reporters near you.

Explain why the story is important
The more people affected by an issue, the more compelling the story. Say how many people are impacted by the problem you’re trying to solve.

Petition starter Erick won his petition after getting headlines all over the world. Check out this video and hear his advice on how you can tell your story for the media, how to approach journalists and making the most of media coverage:

Tell a compelling story
Petitions that tell the personal stories behind a campaign make the best news stories. So include a story about love, loss or family. Mention any celebrity engagement like signing or tweeting your petition. Highlight the elements that will make your story appealing to readers.

Highlight photos, videos, and events
Photos, video, and live audio help make a story engaging. Include any photos, videos or audio related to your petition, and make sure to mention any events that might be opportunities to capture great content like hearings, stunts or speeches. Just don’t clog up reporters’ inboxes with large files!

Make sure you have proof
Some reporters may want to fact check your story. Make sure you have any documents, emails, video or contact information for credible people who can back up your story.

Step 2: Pitch reporters
Once you know what your story for the press is, the next step is to get it in front of reporters.

We asked leading international journalist Peter Meikle what he thinks about Campoal petitions. Check out this video to find out how to best approach journalists like him:

Do your homework
Find out which reporters are covering your issue or are most likely to be interested in your petition. Read your local papers, listen to the radio, watch the news and use internet searches to help find interested reporters.

Hear Peter Meikle’s tips on the best ways to contact journalists about your petition and get a response:

Email first
Send a short email to introduce yourself and bring your petition to their attention.

Example:

Subject: With budget cuts looming, Green Bay’s special needs students at risk

Hi, my name is Angela and I’m a parent of a child with Asperger’s Syndrome who is enrolled at Danz Elementary, Green Bay, WI. My son currently receives one-to-one support from a teacher’s aide but could lose this entirely due to budget cuts.

I recently started a Campoal petition asking the school district to continue to provide support to children like my son with special education needs. The petition currently has 172 signatures.

Let me know what you think. You can contact me on (555) 678 9650 or by email.

Follow up
If you haven’t heard back after a few hours, you could give the reporter or the news desk a call or tweet them to get their attention.

Be persistent
It’s not uncommon to send a pitch to ten or twenty journalists to get a single story. Make sure you listen to the responses from reporters, refine your pitch and try again in a week or two with any updated information on the progress of your petition.

Monitor the media
Sometimes journalists will write a story based on what you send them without contacting you back. Make sure you don’t miss any coverage by watching the news and setting up a Google alert.

Step 3: Ace the interview
Many journalists will want to talk to you for a story. Journalists love to talk to regular people with a sincere passion and connection to a story. Whether it’s for print, radio or television, these tips will help you get your message across.

Have three key points
When you know what you want to say, you can get your message across no matter what questions you are asked. Decide in advance the three key points you want to make and practice answering interview questions by bringing the conversation back to your points.

Example:

Point 1: The Green Bay School District cut the budget for special education, and that’s not fair for children like my son, who has Asperger’s Syndrome.

Point 2: The school district needs to give all children the chance to succeed by reinstating the special education budget.

Point 3: My Campoal petition to reinstate the special education budget has 350 signatures and there is still time to sign before the school board meeting on Thursday.

Mention your Campoal petition
Make sure you mention your Campoal petition and the number of signatures. It adds credibility and helps you grow support. It also helps people who want to sign your petition to find it on the site.

Step 4: Make the most of media
Media coverage is great on its own, but these simple actions can help you increase impact.

Say thanks!
Follow up with a brief thank you note to the reporter and include any updated information about your petition. If they feel appreciated and kept in the loop, they’ll be more likely to cover your story again.

Update your supporters
Media coverage is exciting, so make sure you update your supporters. You can also share your media coverage on social media and ask your supporters to do the same to get more attention.

Send stories to your Decision Maker
Forwarding press coverage to your decision maker in a short email can help you get a meeting or convince your decision maker to act.

Use media to get more media
Forwarding a local story on to a regional or national outlet along with your pitch can help you get broader coverage for your petition.

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