Leveraging the media
The media play a highly influential role in creating a public perception of young drivers but often it’s only the bad stuff we hear.
Notifying the media of your Young Driver Intervention may be a good way of drawing attention to your event and also to the young driver issue in general.
Some points to consider when approaching the local media:
- You’ll need a strong hook to grab the journalist’s attention. Think: why should this be reported? Could it be pegged to the date of your event, an incident or case study?
- Either work with your Communications or Press team to draw up a press release or create your own pitch.
- Be engaging and succinct. Write a couple of sentences or a short pithy paragraph encapsulating what it is about. This is your pitch.
- Contact your local newspaper, radio or television station and speak to the News Desk to put your idea forward.
- Journalists follow the five ‘W’s’ rule, that’s: Who, What, Where, When and Why. Be prepared if they ask.
- To illustrate your story, think about some good case studies, contributors (e.g. a young person or parent), experiences or quotes to help the journalist along.
It’s easy for the media to demonise young drivers but this can create a dangerous social norm, the rules that a group uses for appropriate and inappropriate values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviours.
When communicating with the media about young driver behaviour, think about giving a balanced viewpoint: give a voice to young drivers who genuinely want to drive safely. If you’re asked about risky driving, identify root causes, such as peer pressure or contributing factors, like distraction.
Often the press will have their own angle but it’s worth trying to build a productive relationship with your local media to help them understand what you want to achieve.
Use Social Media
Include social media channels as part of your media strategy. You can create a Facebook page for your event easily using your own Facebook account or your organisation’s account. Alternatively why not look for suitable pages on Facebook who may be prepared to link to your event or post about your event, like:
- Parent groups
- Local youth organisations and charities
- Local police, fire brigade and other services.
If you already use Twitter or someone in your organisation tweets, this can be a great way to get information about your event out to cross section of people including parents who may be hard to reach otherwise.
Make use of Twitter’s ability to send messages to specific Twitter accounts, create topics using #, and request that anyone you contact retweets your information to their followers.
If you’re not comfortable with social media and don’t have a Facebook page or a Twitter account make use of your organisation’s media team to help you to use social media channels effectively.
Good luck and let us know about your coverage.