Newspapers and magazines

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Community projects and their achievements are very newsworthy items, so make sure you take advantage of opportunities to gain free newspaper coverage. A good write up about an event or achievement featured in a newspaper or magazine will allow you to access a much larger audience than you could ever hope to reach via your own contact list, so it is well worth the effort.

Research. Start by drawing up a list of local press and other relevant publications which could be interested in featuring a piece about your project. Simply an internet search should highlight the main contacts to consider.

Write up press releases. It is unlikely that publications will have the time or resources to send out reporters to personally meet you or to attend an event run by your group. Your best bet is to write up a press release about an event or achievement and send it out to all the relevant publications you have identified. The idea is to write a piece that is ready to go, limiting the work the publication has to do such that they can’t refuse to include it. Add in a few real quotes and high resolution photos, preferably including a pretty landscape or smiley children, and they won’t be able to turn you down. Press releases are often re-printed almost verbatim, so make sure you have written it exactly how you want it to appear. Don’t forget to include your group’s contact details and website address.

Case Studies
Country: UK

Hook Norton Low Carbon received coverage in the local Banbury Guardian about setting up their low carbon car club. The article detailed the group's plans to purchase second-hand two small vehicles and one larger vehicle for people to use for shopping and local trips or even holidays and longer journeys. Members would pay around £50 per year and book use of a car online. The vehicles would be adapted to run on waste oil biodiesel, which would be kept in a tank at the local brewery. The hope was that the article would help to stimulate interest in the car club to enable them to reach the number of initial users necessary to make testing the scheme viable. The article therefore also promoted the financial benefits of car sharing, explaining how motorists who drive less than 6,000 miles a year can save up to £3,500 a year by joining a car club.

Country: UK

Bath and West Community Energy has received coverage in the local press on a variety of topics, including their proposed hydro schemes and solar panels installed at local schools. They have also received a mention in Jules Peck’s Sustainable Business Blog in the Guardian, where they are highlighted as an example of an innovative new business.