This website uses cookies for anonymised analytics and for account authentication. See our privacy and cookies policies for more information.


Supporting Scotland's vibrant voluntary sector

Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations is the membership organisation for Scotland's charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises. Charity registered in Scotland SC003558. Registered office Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh EH3 6BB.

Top tips to get your stories in the media

Tara Fitzpatrick from STV and Jon Brady from the Daily Record joined us at the SCVO Comms Network session in November 2022.  

Thanks to them both for sharing their time and experience with us. Here are five top tips they shared with us for getting your stories in the media: 

  1. Understand your audience 

Any journalist, especially those with an online audience, wants stories that appeal to their readers. Think about who will really care about the story you have to tell and match it with a media outlet whose readership reflects that. Clearly explain the ‘why’ in your email or press release – so journalists know immediately why people will or should care. 

  1. Be human 

Whether it’s for a newspaper, website, social or broadcast, a case study – someone who is affected by the issue in your press release – will make your story more appealing. 

Putting forward case studies can be daunting but there are things you can do to reassure yourself and the case study: 

  • Get to know a journalist. Suss them out before you give them access to a case study. Build trust. 
  • Consider your case study’s tolerance for different types of interviews: are they ready to go public? If not, would an anonymous interview be OK, or are they just not ready at all? Would they feel more comfortable doing something as a pre-recorded interview rather than live? 
  • Be open with the journalist about what your case study is comfortable with, and be open with your case study about the journalist needs. 
  • Be there for the case study during and after the interview. 
  1. Think pictures 

For print and digital, a good picture can boost the appeal of your story. Think visuals for TV and video too – people and places that tell your story well on camera can boost a story from a short news piece to a something longer and more in-depth. 

  1. Find your tribe 

Send your story to the right journalists and you will have more success. 

Read, listen and watch coverage to spot journalists who are covering your issues. For example, if you are in education, target education correspondents or look for who has written on education recently. 

It’s more effective to target individual journalists that generic ‘newsdesk’ inboxes. You can do that by email or DM on twitter.  

  1. Build relationships 

Building a relationship and trust with individual journalists helps you both to do a better job. 

Journalists are not experts in all the issues they write about. They are expected to pick up different topics and issues at speed and cover them. That means they are open to help, support and guidance on what and how to cover issues. 

A good example of pro-active support is the Samaritans guidance for covering suicide. 

Another example is the Rape Crisis Scotland media guide. 

No reason why other organisations/causes can’t do something similar to share when they are issuing stories to the media to help journalists use the right language and imagery. 

Last modified on 20 December 2022