Patron: His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales
Members » Contact the media
by Weed Stoodley
Issue your own press release!
It's easy: here's how...
Download our ready-made BPA Form 268: First jump press release (enter '268' in the Search Forms Box at the head of this page).
Then click here to find your local media contacts to send it. Simple!
Skydiving is exhilarating, elating, exciting. You've got a head start! Editors need YOU!
Make your own press release, as follows.
In double-line spacing, equivalent to one side of A4 in the days of paper. Send by e-mail, along with a short introduction and a couple of relevant picture attachments, this is the ideal format.
The heading is important! You may only have one moment to attract a busy editor to read further. So get this right! It will be in bold type, to the point, entice the reader to continue further, so in these few words you need to tell the story. Never underestimate the importance of the heading. Get this right and you're halfway there!
Contents Whatever the message, remember:
The Magic Five Ws: Who, what, where, when and why?
Ensure each of these are addressed in the text. Keep to the point. Try not to dumb down: write smart, in relation to your relevant readership. Don't use jargon but aim to inform, inspire and entertain your audience.
If writing for a local audience, add local interest. If national or specialist adjust the slant of the piece to suit.
Poetic licence - don't be afraid to use it. But never tell untruths!
Include at least one interesting quote (giving spokesperson's name and relevance). Use the quote as further area to add information fact and detail.
Date and name your work and finish release with '- end -'.
No! you're not finished yet (although you're doing very well!)
Always include: Photographs - our sport is hugely photogenic, and a picture is worth a thousand words!
Visually our sport is incredible. A picture can tell a thousand stories, and may be the one thing that gets your item published. Most news and web media are image-led. Always, include one or two relevant pictures (ie, for a team one in action exiting the aircraft, and one on ground). List names to faces at end of press release. Cover any copyright issues, and credit photographer/s.
Always include current contact of e-mail/mobile. Be prepared! Most good journalists will contact to double check information and get further information before publishing. If someone isn't available, you may miss the boat!
Say where to find more information
List related websites, points of contact, ie team, DZ, BPA, relevant charity or products, etc, interesting reading. Don't fail at these last hurdles!
Get your work out there - put your release in front of those who matter!
Email is a wonderful tool (not forgetting those attachements!) but be it email, fax, post, or by hand...
For example, for a team, consider each member's local and regional media, TV and radio and web news sites, with a target release with their personal details foremost, also consider their locale of work/study, university media, workplace media etc (overlap of members and areas can be covered with joint release).
Re-word the release to cover all team members for regional or national appeal, again targeting papers, TV, radio as well as specialist media.
Make the press release less time-critical by using words like 'recently' rather than a specific date. Your release will stay fresh and newsworthy for longer. Sometimes a news story may prompt a feature story, which may be less time-dependent.
Getting your work to the right person is vital
Look in the relevant paper/s for contact e-mails. Try to be precise, find a personal email address. Try not to use the anonymous "info@" email address and try to avoid using the "submit a story box" on some media websites, unless you have tried and can't find a personal contact. A little time invested now finding the right person to get in touch with really can be worth it. If you're not sure, just pick up the phone and ask who to send it to, or who would be interested.
For the BBC, check out bbc.co.uk and find your local area. Your local page should provide details of how to get in touch.
Don't forget specialist magazines, if it's about our sport, it's always worth sending our own BPA Skydive the Mag a copy editor[at]skydivethemag.com What about related webs and forums who run with stories and articles?
NOW press Send
Remember the picture attachments
Be prepared! If your efforts have hit the mark, it is likely someone will soon be in contact, to check facts elaborate etc, so be ready!
This is a good time to forge good contacts and offer further details, photos etc.
If a face-to-face meeting or telephone interview is on the cards, don't worry. It's an opportunity to get your message across.
Be sure to confirm:
Most Media web sites have advice and information on submitting material to them. Check them out.
dropzone.com has a number of interesting articles relating with dealing with the media (search on media).
mediauk.com may also be worth a look.
I hope you find this advice helpful.
Updated 28 July 2016