Media Outreach

Press coverage can be a major driver of participation in WE RISE events and awareness of mental health. Journalists are always seeking one-of-a-kind, relevant stories. They also are inundated by pitches. Here are several tips for crafting and implementing a media outreach strategy that brings visibility to your WE RISE campaign.

 

Create Your “Hook”

Identify 2-3 key messages around how and why WE RISE is benefiting your community.

Frame your pitch around a novel topic, such as:

  • Art pieces and workshops addressing a topic that is dominating chatter in local news or schools, such as homelessness, LGBTQ acceptance or suicide prevention.
  • Conversations that parents, educators or others who support youth can jump-start after taking part in WE RISE
  • A strong human-interest story of a teen and/or artist participant who is on a positive journey toward mental health advocacy in their community

 

Do Your Homework

Monitor local media to identify which outlets may be interested in art, youth or mental health-related stories (include TV, radio, print, bloggers). If an outlet or reporter has recently covered a very similar story, it’s unlikely that (s)he will want to do another piece unless you have a unique and timely angle. You can also research assignment editor information online. Consider who you want to reach and look at newsletters, TV or radio programs or blogs focused on (or created by) students, parents, educators and African American, Latino or LGBTQ people.

Personal referrals are always best. If you, a donor or board member, or other contact has a connection at the outlet, ask if you could receive the name and email of the best reporter to pitch.

 

Don’t Forget Social Media

Everything is shared on social today, so ensure that your outreach messages complement your general social posts. And include social-friendly offerings, such as photo and video opportunities, when pitching. Many reporters and bloggers are active on social media, particularly Twitter. Follow journalists who could be interested in WE RISE and check out relevant hashtags. Be ready to start conversations, not just share promotional messages. You may want to include local arts and youth influencers in your outreach as well.

 

Timing is Everything

Smaller outlets and those that issue new content bi-monthly or monthly (plus events calendars) need more lead time to cover a story (generally 4-6 weeks) while daily news programs or other outlets may need only a week or 2 of notice.

 

Follow Up

A follow up call or email is appropriate, but be brief, emphasizing why We Rise matters to your community. Always start by introducing yourself and asking if (s)he is on deadline. Even if you get a firm “No!”, thank the reporter for his/her time.

A Few Notes about Youth and Press
Make sure that you have parental/guardian consent in the form of a media release for any young person who is being featured in your outreach (including quotes, photos or name). Work with youth ahead of time to ensure that sharing stories around mental health and other challenges is an empowering experience that emphasizes how WE RISE has amplified their strength and well-being. An organization representative should always be present when a member of the media is interviewing a young adult.

 

Press Release Sample

Your organization Launches WE RISE Campaign to Foster Mental Health Awareness and Action Among Youth

City, State (Date) — Your Organization name and descriptor is launching a campaign dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of mental health and transforming systems to improve access to care. WE RISE is a youth-driven, arts-based movement that seeks to normalize mental health topics for teens and young adults through art and performance and to engage them in developing solutions to break down obstacles to treatment. Created and first implemented by the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health in 2018, WE RISE has already reached more than ### youth. Your organization seeks to engage number young people in your city around relevant topics such as add line on event focus.

List brief description of events, participating artists and dates. WE RISE includes collaborations with list partner organizations and is supported by list funders.

“Too many young people face mental health challenges alone, due to stigma, a lack of awareness or barriers to accessing treatment, such as cost. The effects ripple across our health care, juvenile justice, and child welfare systems, and profoundly alter our families,” says Your Executive Director/ Name and Title. “WE RISE is an opportunity to come together as a community to create lasting change that empowers the next generation and strengthens your city.”

To learn more about WE RISE in [your city], visit: [URL]

ABOUT WE RISE
WE RISE is part of a movement to transform our mental health care system using art and community building to unite efforts to foster the empowerment of mental health and wellbeing as a civil right. Developed by the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, it includes powerful programming, performances, workshops and world-class art come together to help create a future where communities thrive and every youth has the support they need to reach their fullest potential.

ABOUT YOUR ORGANIZATION
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