Raising profile locally is a great way of increasing influence on policy decisions towards improving and protecting the countryside and attracting public interest in what you are campaigning on.
Councillors are generally responsive to public attitudes, so build support for your case through the local newspaper or radio.
Make an issue out of a planning application. This will help secure greater interest amongst councillors.
The letters page of a local newspaper and radio phone-in programmes provide useful opportunities to air your concerns. If you are part of an organised group, you should consider issuing a media release and contacting local journalists.
Journalists rely on being told about a story and being supplied information.
If the story captures their imagination and if the information is accurate, timely and factual, it is likely to be covered.
Local journalists work under pressure to meet tight deadlines, because local and regional newspapers go to print on a certain day of the week.
You may find it helpful to prepare a press pack, with fact sheets, any campaign publications you've produced, media releases and contact details
Regular, interesting and concise media releases will help establish your reputation as well as flag up your story.
Say what you feel as well as what you know, illustrate points with examples where possible.
Make the most of the letters page, which is said to be the second most widely read part of a newspaper or magazine. You can initiate and also respond to letters.
A media release is a way of communicating your message/issue to journalists through a newsworthy story and, in effect, writes their story for them. A good media release should:
Before writing a media release, study the publication/radio station etc you are sending it to, to see what sorts of stories it is interested in. That way, you can create a media release with a slant the newspaper/radio station etc is interested in.
Always date your media release and provide an embargo date, if required, which gives journalists time to research a story and requires them to not publish information until the date specified.
You need an attention-grabbing headline that will give an accurate summary of the story
These should answer the questions: Who? What? Where? When? Why? and aim to include all the highlights of the story, with the remaining information in later paragraphs.
The first paragraph should contain the essence of the main story, and the first sentence should be eye-catching, punchy and possibly a quote.
Most media releases should contain quotations from your spokesperson. They can be in more direct, heartfelt language than the rest of the text and make the media release more personal and interesting.
Include notes for editors at the end of the media release text, including background information to the issue and any details, facts and figures that are too technical to be included in the body of the media release.
At the very end, give the names and telephone numbers - both daytime and early evening - of your media contacts.
Radio and TV interviews can reach a large audience, so are always worthwhile. You may find your first radio or TV interview to be nerve-wracking, especially if the interview is live rather than pre-recorded. But practice and preparation will make you more effective and less nervous. Find out beforehand:
Case study: Blackdown hills.