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Kick Butts Day is a program of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

Supercharge Your Event

Promote Your Event to the Media

Want to reach people with your Kick Butts Day message? Let the media know about your exciting event.

Just think: if you have a rally at your state capital with 50 people, then 50 people hear your message - but if you have a rally and alert local media, your message could be seen and heard by hundreds or thousands of people!

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WHY IS GETTING MEDIA COVERAGE SO IMPORTANT?

Media coverage can:

HOW WE HELP YOU ATTRACT MEDIA

After you register your event, our Kick Butts Day media team will contact you and work with you to get media attention.

After a media team member has spoken with you, the event will be listed on our Kick Butts Day map and included in press releases so reporters can find important information about the event details. Then, our media team will start “pitching” your event to individual journalists.

We will also host a media training webinar closer to Kick Butts Day.

Download Media Toolkit for Event Organizers

DEVELOPING A STRONG MESSAGE

Before you contact any media, you should have a clear, convincing message.

As a group, think about thetwo or three most important pieces of information you would want people to gain. These are referred to as key messages.

Key messages should:

DEVELOPING YOUR MEDIA LIST

After you've decided on your key messages, assemble a list of media you will contact. Make a list of all local TV stations, radio stations and newspapers.

Things to consider:

Be sure to keep track of all the contact information for the media that you decide to contact, including name, title, publication, email and phone number. Using an Excel spreadsheet is a good way to keep this information organized.

CONTACTING THE MEDIA

Now that you've finalized your key messages and compiled a good list of journalists to contact, you will need to prepare your story and get it out there.

Here are some tips:

  1. Media Advisory: 
    A media advisory (or media alert) invites the media to an upcoming event. Your goal is to make the event sound interesting and newsworthy and make it easy for reporters to quickly figure out the details. A media advisory alerts reporters and editors to your event by providing them with the five Ws—who, what, when, where and why.
    • Media advisories should be sent a couple of days before the event (with a possible reminder advisory the morning of the event). Send them to reporters and editors you think would be interested in the activity.
    • Make sure to put a contact name and daytime phone number at the top of the advisory.
    • On the remainder of the page, explain your event, using the “Who, What, When, Where and Why” format. Try and keep this information to one page.
  1. Letters-to-the-editor:
    These should be short and sweet – state your point, provide an example or two of support, then close.
    • Letters should be concise; typically newspapers have a word limit of about 250 words (about 3 paragraphs). Papers are less likely to print long letters.
    • Writing a letter to the editor can be a useful way to share your knowledge about tobacco control issues and your Kick Butts Day event with the local community and policymakers. Writing letters to the editor is fairly simple and an effective way for you to be a voice for tobacco control in your community.
    • Most newspapers have a website. Check the paper’s website or the editorial page of the print version for information about submitting a letter to the editor. Many newspapers have an online submission form that you can use.
  1. Op-ed (opinion column):
    The op-ed gives you an opportunity to express your opinion, state the facts, and stimulate others to think about an issue.
    • It is longer than a letter to the editor, generally 600-750 words. Many newspaper websites indicate a suggested length for op-eds, so check that before writing.
    • An op-ed is written by an individual and submitted to the newspaper, but it is different than a letter to the editor because it is in the style of an essay.
    • The most effective op-eds stick to one topic and use the most convincing arguments to support that point.
    • Make your op-ed timely and relevant.

TIPS ON TALKING TO THE MEDIA

As you go through the process of getting media coverage, there may be many different opportunities to speak to members of the media. Talking to reporters becomes easier with experience. Here are some guidelines to make any conversation with the media easy for you:

HOLDING A PRESS CONFERENCE

If you have the opportunity and resources to hold a press conference, it's a great way to let people know about the results of your Kick Butts Day effort. At a press conference, a spokesperson announces the news (or results or outcomes) and then takes questions from reporters.

To make sure it goes smoothly, use the following checklist:

Whatever you are planning for Kick Butts Day, remember that media coverage can help your message be seen and heard by many more people. Although seeking media coverage may seem like a lot of work, it is just as important as planning the activity itself. From the start, your group should include media in the planning. Divide the steps among the members of your group and remember to follow all the tips and suggestions included in this guide. Good luck and don't forget to tell us all about it!

You can email photos, press materials, news clips and other materials about your event to the Kick Butts Day Team at kbdinfo@kickbuttsday.org.

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