You know how incredible Scouting is—the experiences, the adventure, the learning, and how it all comes together to create your own unique Scouting journey. But how can you help the rest of your community understand this? Two words: media coverage.
Summer is in full swing, and with recruitment just around the corner, now is a great time to show off all the awesome benefits of Scouting your council has to offer. By securing local media coverage, you can bring all those extraordinary moments to new families for miles around. So, how can you garner the attention of local media outlets? Keep reading to discover some key tips for getting your Scouting story covered.
Plan ahead: make the most of Scouting events
When you’re planning the next adventure for your Scouts—day camp, Scout camp, service projects, or other newsworthy activities— look for natural opportunities to show off what Scouting means in your community. Not only will your Scouts be making an unforgettable memory, but the hard work you put into planning will pull double duty by introducing families to Scouting through local media coverage.
Pro tip: Brainstorm around holidays and upcoming events. For holidays like Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, and Veterans Day, plenty of media outlets may be interested in how your Scouts will commemorate the observance through service projects like flag retirement ceremonies or participation in community events, such as marching in a parade. Other holidays, such as Thanksgiving, are moments when community service is a natural media topic. Local engagement is a fantastic way to demonstrate what Scouting means in your community.
Invite reporters to experience Scouting for themselves
Invite reporters to attend your event by sending them a brief and engaging email. Hook them with an intriguing (but still professional) subject line. Then, explain what makes your event unique or special, and be sure to include all the necessary details they’ll need to attend.
Pro tip: Find out which reporters cover topics related to your event. There may not be a designated Scouting reporter, but your activity could be related to all kinds of news beats—lifestyle, education, community service, summer fun, and many, many more. It’s amazing what some quick internet research will do!
Make Scouting shine
So you’ve managed to secure media interest for your upcoming festivities. Now what?
If you plan to host media at your event, be sure to have a few visuals ready. Official uniforms can make beautiful visuals, but for events with a casual atmosphere, don’t be afraid to show off a more laid-back side of Scouting (think Scouting t-shirts). Of course, Scouting is about way more than a uniform, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t leverage a good branding opportunity!
Pro tip: Things like BSA hats, neckerchiefs, or coordinated pack/troop t-shirts can work just as well, and showing off your unit’s personality is an added bonus. Remember—these are huge opportunities to represent Scouting in a way that feels natural to your council.
So maybe you got caught up in planning the perfect Scouting event and forgot to invite local media. Or maybe your outreach didn’t receive as many responses as you’d hoped. No worries! Delivering quality Scouting experiences is what it’s all about, after all. And better yet, it’s not too late to pitch your story.
You can follow up with reporters or reach out to new ones by sending a photo of the event along with a caption explaining why the kids pictured are having so much fun. If a picture is worth a thousand words, be sure to choose a good one. And if you have tons of good ones, pick your top two and offer to send more upon request.
Pro tip(s): One of the best ways to get beautiful photos of your event is to hire a photographer. The job of capturing your event will be in professional hands, and you can concentrate on whatever else the day throws your way. Of course, we know this isn’t always possible, so here are a few pointers to capture media-ready photos on your own:
- Use your flash outdoors.
- Lock your focus before snapping your shot.
- Make a habit of taking several shots of the same image (so you can pick the best).
- Take both horizontal and vertical photos so they can be used in multiple formats.
- Take a few photos with the focal point in the right or left third of the image (rather than centered).
- Watch your background!
Bonus pro tip: Remember to get written approval from parents before distributing photos with Scouts. For parents that ask about privacy, it’s important to let them know that BSA only offers Scouts’ names in the form of first name and first initial of the last name because media outlets require that information for captions. In addition to noting those who are in the photo, the caption will also include a description that captures the fun of the activity, the event, and the timing.
If you liked these tips, we’ve got more media pitching support coming your way via Scouting Wire’s council marketing newsletter, so keep an eye out for the new Pitch of the Month section. You can also email your ideas to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have you had pitching success in your council? Share your tips in the comments below!