Are the G.I.R.L.s (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)TM in your troop taking the lead in a community project? Perhaps your Girl Scouts identified a problem and are actively working towards a solution, or are hosting an event in the community. We’ve rounded up five steps your girls can take to reach out to local media to spread the word about the amazing things your Girl Scout troop is doing!
Step 1: Consider what the story is—think about what your troop is doing and why reporters might want to cover it. You can do this by answering basic questions like: “is this story timely?” and “does it have an impact on others?”
Step 2: Create a list of reporters you want to reach out to. Selecting who to contact is very important, because it may affect whether or not they might want to cover your story. Start by researching local news outlets in your community. You can find a list of reporters and their contact information on most news outlets’ websites. Outlets you can reach out to include your school newspaper, local cable announcements, community newspapers and radio stations, and your service unit newsletter.
Consider searching by topic—does your story concern the environment, for example? Then see if there is a reporter who typically covers this subject.
Step 3: Reach out. Once you have your selection of media contacts, the easiest way to reach out is to send them an email.
- Introduce yourself
- Share the main points of your story (answer the questions who, what, when, where, and why)
- Provide your contact information
The most important aspect is to emphasize how the story is relevant to a news outlet and why they should cover it.
Step 4: Follow up. Wait a couple of days before following up with reporters, if you don’t hear back from them. You can send a follow-up email, or call them to ask if they considered your story for publication. If your story doesn’t get picked up by reporters, don’t be discouraged! Journalists are constantly receiving many story submissions and can only select a handful of stories to tell.
Step 5: Prepare for potential answers to questions you might get from the media. When answering questions, be honest and authentic about your personal experience!
Did you try these steps? Let us know how it went!
- Double-check all grammar and spelling.
- The council’s correct name is Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys or Girl Scouts River Valleys (don’t use an acronym for the name).
- The correct name of the national organization is Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA), not Girl Scouts of America or GSA.
- It’s “Girl Scout Brownie,” not “Brownie Girl Scout.” (Same goes for all other Girl Scout program grade levels).
- It’s “Girl Scouting” and “Girl Scouts,” never just “scouting” or “scouts.”
Monica Vallejo – Monica is a Communications Specialist at Girl Scouts River Valleys. She has a B.A. in Journalism and degrees in Photography and Communications Studies from Northeastern University in Boston. Monica grew up in Guatemala City, Guatemala, and has lived in the U.S. for the past six years. In her free time, she enjoys exploring new places in the Twin Cities, travel, and photography.