Inviting media to your farm to cover an activity or event requires a little effort. You have to have a good story, then invite them to come and cover the story. The basis of the invite is the media release.
Inviting media to your farm
A media release is a special document that is written in a style that is used by the media. It is a simple style and follows some simple rules.
The rules of a media release
1. Have a catchy title – something that grabs the eye of a journalist! What you need to know is that a media outlet is flooded with media releases every day. Each media release might get a second of a persons time to capture them into reading more. The vast majority end up in the trash based on the TITLE alone. You can’t afford to lose that “second” and end up with the vast majority – and so you need to catch the attention of the reader. For example, you might have a special farm visit day where people can come and see your farms operations (and buy some stuff from your farm store). So rather than “Special Farm Visit Day” why not try “Talk with the Animals” or “Grow it and Show it” or even “Food lovers tour”. See how those title might grab a person ? Also know that YOUR title may not end up being the headline in the newspaper – you are not trying to be the editor, but you are trying to get someone to read the press release beyond the title.
2. Information is listed in order of importance – so you need to work out what is the information you want to give the journalist and then list it in order. For example, imagine you have a special farm visit day planned. You have a list of the type of animals and gardens you will want people to see, you have a store set up, you are going to offer free coffee for people and tractor rides for the kids and you know the day and hours you will be open. You will give a milking demonstration at 3 pm. So which of these items is the most important?
The importance list I would pick is based on what will attract the most people – and so:
You have an open day on what day and time and where you are located.
People will see xxx animals and yyy gardens
Milking demonstrations at 3pm
Free coffee and tractor rides
Store for purchasing farm products.
Then I would write one of two sentences (and no more) on each of those items in that order.
Why is the order important? To help the journalist, you have all the important stuff at the top and not buried in the detail. Also, if its a newspaper, they will have a word limit that they can print in the space available, and may need to cut some words out. They will cut FROM THE BOTTOM UP. So put stuff at the bottom you don’t care if it is cut out. Remember, you want to get people to visit you farm on a certain day and time…that needs to be at the top.
3. Contact details – makes sure you have your name, phone number, email etc in bold clear print at the bottom…so the journalist can easily find your details. Inviting media to your farm will mean that you want them to contact you – but they may not! They might just turn up
4. Photo/video opportunities – this can be an important for the TV media. Their entire world runs on needing visual ‘stuff’. So in the example above you might what to add something like “Milking demonstration – see children try their hand at milking” or more generally “See families interact with farm animals and equipment”.
For newspapers, having some good quality images of action shots of your activity can really help them out. You can provide them as an attachment to a media release so that they don’t even need to send out a photographer. Lets face it, you want media coverage BEFORE most events, and so you can get it using photos from, for example, last years event or stage a scene a few weeks earlier using family as ‘models’ and get some good photos.
Inviting media to your farm – some examples of media releases
Inviting media to your farm – Some other things to consider
Depending on the size of the media outlet for which they work, a journalist may have no say in what stories they cover – it could be a decision made by someone higher up the chain of command. Smaller outlets, like the local paper, may be completely run by just one or two people and so decision making is much closer to the journalist – and is much easier to get your stuff included.
Check and double check (and you a close friend check) that the details are correct, you have caught any silly typographical and spelling errors of your media release before you take the next steps.
My final comment is don’t be too upset if you get NO media showing up. That might mean that you need to change your story idea, or even that some other major news broke that day, and your event was pushed further back in the priorities.
Good luck inviting media to your farm! It can be a very fun and very rewarding (from a marketing perspective) experience. We would love to hear of your success!
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