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Marketing your service - Getting media coverage

The effect of good press coverage is priceless. It’s free, and it carries a lot more clout than advertising. So a news item or a feature on your setting could be worth its weight in gold in terms of publicity.

Good media coverage requires persistence and a concentrated effort, but your work will eventually pay off and one success will quickly lead to another. Try not to get demoralised if it doesn't work immediately - it takes time to build media interest.

What might the local media be interested in?

  • Local success stories
    • if your setting is expanding
    • if you have just gained an accreditation award
    • if one of your children has done something unusual
  • Special events or activities
    • fundraising events
    • something which ties in with a national day or event
      e.g. Mother's Day, National Play Week, a Diwali celebration
    • fun days, carnivals
    • local community get-togethers
  • Local angles on national news e.g. a government announcement about childcare or new legislation

Write a press release

  • Write PRESS RELEASE in large letters at the top

  • Type the date of your release at the top so that the editor knows it's a current story

  • Give your release a heading which encapsulates the story e.g. Local pre-school gets quality award. Keep it simple and factual

  • Summarise the story in the first paragraph so that if everything else is cut, your release is still publishable

  • Use double spacing and wide margins so that its easy to edit

  • Keep it clear and to the point - a maximum of one side of A4 

  • Avoid extravagant adjectives – you are writing a news item, not an advertisement 

  • Include a photo where you can, or phone the Picture Editor at the paper and invite them along 

  • Put two contact names and telephone numbers at the end of the release - journalists have limited time and if they cannot contact you, it will go into the bin and someone else will get the column inches

  • Phone the paper and find out who to send it to. Make sure it is personally addressed. 

  • If the press release is about an event or activity, send it about 10 days before it's due to take place 

  • Be persistent, not rude. Phone the person you have sent it to a few days after you have sent it to make sure it arrived. Be prepared to send or fax another copy of your release. 

  • If you can, provide it on email – journalists get a lot of press releases, and they are likely to use yours if it’s the one in a user friendly format.

  • A list of the key local media with contact details is available.

Write a letter to the editor

Letters pages in the local press are widely read. Writing to the editors of the local newspapers is a good way of getting your message across. Keep the letter short - to ensure that it is used and read.

Contact local radio

Would your local radio be interested in an interview with you on aspects of childcare? How about a phone-in? Make the most of any opportunity with the media. You will find that if you come across well, you will be asked back again.

  • If you are invited to be interviewed on the radio, always make sure that you are well prepared.

  • Find out who else will be on the programme and don't be afraid to ask who they are if you do not know.

  • Find out how long the interview will last, whether it is live or recorded and what sort of questions you will be asked. Also try to anticipate what questions will come up and think of an answer beforehand.

  • Make sure that you know what you want to say and try to keep one or two good facts in your mind. Facts and figures make you sound like an expert - whether you are or not!

  • Preparation doesn't necessarily mean being available for comment all the time. If someone in the media telephones you for an interview, do not feel obliged to answer their questions straight away. Buy time to think through what you want to say and call them back later.

  • A media contact list is available.

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Disclaimer

Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information provided in this directory, we do not accept any responsibility or liability for any errors that have occurred. It is recommended that you always check with providers that their service or organisation meets your requirements. We offer an impartial service and we cannot recommend or endorse any providers listed.

Further information