Jena’s Infallible Steps to Get Good Press
Today's blog was written by Ohio VP Jena Huffman. Through Jenna's hard work and her chapter's creativity, she was able to get her special holiday makeover featured in the press three times! We asked Jena to share her tips on getting awesome press for your chapter.
You work hard to plan makeovers and meetings for your chapter--you deserve to have your hard work recognized! But, how do you reach out? What do you say when you go to reach out? What if they don’t take me seriously? What if I get ghosted? Okay, take a deep breath, and don’t fret--this blog post includes everything you need to know about getting attention from your local press. I’m Jena Huffman, co-founder and Vice President of Glamour Gals of Tiffin-Fostoria, based in Ohio. Recently, my chapter was featured in two local newspapers and on a local television station. I’ve mastered the outreach part of the process, and would love to share my infallible tips with you! Let’s get started.
Determine your method of outreach. Will you contact your local press by email, or phone? I prefer electronic methods, as they tend to be much quicker than a written letter. If by phone, you must be confident in yourself. I recommend writing a script before you call. For example,
“Hi! My name is Jena Huffman, and I am Vice President of Glamour Gals of Tiffin. I was looking to see if someone from The Advertiser-Tribune would be interested in writing a story on my chapter. We provide company to women in nursing homes and give them complimentary manicures and makeovers. Our next makeover is January 14th at St. Francis Nursing Home in Tiffin. We would greatly appreciate if someone would write a story on us! My number is 555-555-5555. Please call with any questions you have.”
Writing a script prior to calling will also help with nerves. I remember being anxious when I called for the first time, and writing a script definitely helped to put me at ease! You can also use this script as a template for an email.
Be persistent. I give press 48 hours to respond. If you hear nothing, do NOT be afraid to reach out a second, third, or even fourth time! When I reached out to a certain newspaper, it took me calling them four times and emailing them twice before they took notice! Another newspaper emailed me back an hour later excited to cover our story. It depends on the press, but you must always be persistent.
When you hear back, break into your happy dance! The hardest part of this process is now over. You have their attention. Now, you’re most likely getting paired with your interviewer and determining a place and time for the interview. Wait, what am I going to say? What if I mess up? For awesome interview tips, check back next week for Gretta Kissell’s blog post on press interviews!
Rock that interview! You’re part of the coolest volunteer organization in the world! Brag about it! Share your chapter’s greatest achievements and your chapter’s plans for the future. Tell them the reactions residents have during your visit. Do they smile? Do they laugh? Do they cry tears of joy? Tell them all about it! There are various forms in which an interview will occur. I have been interviewed in person, over phone, and by email. Once again, if you tend to get nervous, write a script! Writing a script will also ensure you don't forget any details or anything you really wanted to talk about! I also suggest tag-teaming interviews. When Gretta and I participate in interviews together, we tend to fill in the blanks. For example, if I forget to mention when our next makeover is, Gretta will remember to mention it.
Waiting… waiting… waiting… I take back what I said earlier, waiting is actually the most difficult part of this whole process. You killed the interview, and now you're waiting for your epic article to get published. In the meantime, prepare a thank you card for the press. Have all of your volunteers sign it, include a handwritten, “Thank you for writing about our chapter! We really appreciate it!” and mail the card. Not only is this a sweet gesture, it will also increase your chances of being interviewed a second time. [We at GG love a handwritten thank you note!]
Congratulations! Woohoo! Your article is in the paper! Your chapter’s segment is on TV! Celebrate! Share your post on social media, send the link to firstname.lastname@example.org, and break into your victory dance! It’s an honor and a great accomplishment to be featured in the press. Now that your chapter’s name and mission are out there, continue to do great things and spread the #ggmovement.
By Jena Huffman, Ohio Volunteer.