MEDIA RELATIONS tips and tricks for PROs (Public Relations Officers)

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1 MEDIA RELATIONS tips and tricks for PROs (Public Relations Officers)

2 What kind of news does the young marines program generate? The news that generates from the Young Marines is considered soft news. Soft news has a human interest angle. Your Basic Facts to consider before pitching a story to the media: WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, WHY and HOW Characteristics of a newsworthy story: Proximity: local interest Prominence: notable or famous people are involved. For example: you invite the Mayor to attend a YM event Timeliness: something new that your group is doing Impact : local Young Marines honor America s Veterans or participate in the Raising Awareness to Flag campaign Uniqueness: what can you find that is unique about your story? Develop an angle: Take your facts and try to create a unique story. Tie your story into a holiday or a seasonal theme? (Memorial Day, Flag Day, Veterans Day, Relay for Life, Earth Day) Plan an event designed to get media coverage How is your story unique locally? How will affect local citizens? Give interesting facts Pitching a story to the media: Inform the media of the story you are pitching (feature story, human interest, etc.). Explain why the editor s audience should be interested in your story (what s in it for them?). The pitch should be written as a letter. Consider it to be similar to a cover letter you would send with your resume to A future employer and accompany the pitch letter with a press release

3 What a press kit should include: A two pocket folder with a sicker or label on the front with your unit s logo. A pitch letter. Press Release. Fact sheet about the Young Marines national and local program. Optional: a flyer or brochure about the event that you are hosting. Press kits can also be sent electronically via , webpage forms or fax. Check with your local media to confirm their preferred form of delivery. What to include in a FACT SHEET: A fact sheet is used to accompany a press release. A fact sheet is a summary or list of facts journalists use if they need more information about the program. You can download the national fact sheet in the document library of the YM database. It is also recommended that units put together a fact sheet that is personal to their unit such as accomplishments, interesting facts, community service, special achievements, etc.

4 Tips for your press release Your release should answer the following questions: Who, What, Where, When, Why, How Put the most important information first and the least important information last. Journalists are busy and they are accustomed to having all the important information first (think of an inverted pyramid). Use short words so the information is easy to understand. Don t use technical jargon or military acronyms. Cut out as many words as possible. Keep adjectives and descriptive words to a minimum. Stick to the facts. Make sure your sentences are less than 20 words long and keep paragraphs to four to five lines per paragraph. Always type your press release. Leave one-inch margins and plenty of white space on your release so the journalist has room to make notes. Check to make sure you don t have two or more paragraphs that start with the same words. Avoid repeating the same words or phrases. Sometimes it can get tricky when referring to Young Marines over and over throughout the release. A few other ways to refer to the Young Marines are: the youth membership, the youths, members, etc. Let your release sit overnight; it will be easier to edit after you have some distance from it. Then, go back and see if you can cut out some words to keep it brief and easy to scan over. Always obtain final approval from the Unit Commander prior to sending the release. It is not recommended to present a press release that is longer than 2 pages. Be sure your release includes: Name, address, and telephone number of your media contact person at your Young Marine unit and a headline that summarizes the story and generates interest

5 SAMPLE PRESS RELEASE FORMAT Anytown Young Marines 123 Young Marines Lane Localtown, MD FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE For more information, contact: [INSERT: Unit point of contact name, phone and ] LOCAL YOUTHS ANSWER A NATIONWIDE CALL-TO-ACTION TO RAISE AWARENESS TO THE FLAG (Local Town, MD ) - Youth members of the Anytown Young Marines are answering a nationwide call-toaction campaign of Raising Awareness to the Flag, during National Flag Week and Flag Day this June. The call-to-action comes from Young Marines National Executive Director, Michael Kessler. Young Marine units are very active in civic events to honor the American flag, and they do so all year long, says Kessler, We believe that we can do even more as a national organization to help inform and enlighten the status of Flag Day and National Flag Week in our communities nationwide. The Anytown Young Marines are holding a community event on Saturday, June 7 at the VFW Post #1775 at 8:00 am. Members of the community are invited to attend the presentation about the American Flag. Young Marines will also have yard flags available for a suggested donation of $7.00 for community members to display during National Flag Week. The week of June 14 is designated as "National Flag Week." During National Flag Week, the President of the United States will issue a proclamation urging U.S. citizens to fly the American flag for the duration of that week. Flag Day is June 14 th. The Young Marines is a non-profit 501c(3) youth education and service program for boys and girls ages 8 through completion of high school. The official website is # # # END # # #

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