If you are someone who wants to help us spread the word about Invisible Illness Awareness Week, but you haven’t spent a lot of time working with the media, here are some great tips and resource. Don’t be intimidated!
- Common mistakes in releases
- Where to send it – Newspapers | Radio
- Find media near you – all of it! (Thanks to the Pulmonary Hypertension Association for this great searchable database)
How to Write an Op-Ed
- What is an op-ed?
- How to write something editors will choose to print.
- Op-eds best work when you target it to a specific newspaper and their “style” but if you have $100 to spend and want to see what happens, we use www.christiannewswire.com which sends them to 350 Op-Ed editors.
- Find newspapers near you
Tips for working with media
- Send out a letter/press release to your local talk radio stations and newspapers. Christian media may be especially interested in hearing your story about living joyfully despite having a chronic illness. Look in the Yellow Pages for phone numbers and addresses or ask us if you need a listing of media. We’ve enclosed a sample press release that only requires a few lines from you so it’s easy!
- Let your church know about this special week. It’s an excellent time for a church to have a person with a chronic illness get up and share his or her testimony. A pastor may be interested in having a sermon related to chronic illness; topics may include: how to choose joy in the midst of difficult circumstances, how to give the gift of encouragement, living with chronic pain, when God doesn’t answer prayers. Our postcard this year should have available. Display a poster on the bulletin board.
- Participate in a local health fair, church ministries fair, or other event and distribute materials (call us to receive brochures, etc.)
- Share with the kids. If your child feels comfortable with the idea, you may want to ask his or her teacher or Sunday school teacher if you do a short presentation to the class about illness or disabilities that are invisible. It’s always fun to use props, so get creative!
- Either individually or with a group of friends, visit a local nursing home or assisted care facility and just visit with the residents; call beforehand and let someone know you are coming and about National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week.
- Media representatives are busy people, therefore keep your press release to one page. Remember who, what, when, where, why and how. Attach the provided “fact sheet” for added information. Who is your target audience?
- Make your heading catchy and unique, but descriptive.
- Select the type(s) of media to suit the needs and population group you are seeking–i.e., radio, newsletter, bulletin boards, newspaper, TV., etc.
- When do you want people to know about your event? If you want to get as many people involved as possible, a press release can be sent out at any time this summer, and then perhaps a follow-up just before the event in September.
- Double check your spelling, your sources, back up any statistics you use. Be accurate!
- Ask around to see if friends or family have any media contacts. Be sure to follow up any inquiries and provide additional material, statistics or quotes where needed.
- Remember to thank media representatives and programs which have been helpful and establish connections for next year.
Grab a note book!
- Keep track of what media you have called, the name of the person you spoke with, their response, and your action (did you send them something).
- About 3-5 days after sending out a press release, consider calling the journalist back to see if they had any questions.
- Don’t call and ask, “Did you run my story?” Check the paper if you aren’t sure! Remember to keep a copy of anything that is published.
- Be available for interviews. If you have something scheduled, do your best to follow through… if you don’t feel well, laughingly tell the journalist that you are feeling like a chronically ill person and you hope it adds to your credibility.