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Generating media coverage for an MP visit

This is one of a series of guides that explain how everyday events in the life of a Scout Group, District or County can be used to generate media coverage.

Whats the story?

All good media work begins with a press release. When starting out writing your press release make sure you answer the following questions.

Who was there? What happened? When it happened, Where it happened, and Why the event occurred.

You can find a template press release that you can adapt for your group here or for a Cubs100 visit here

Inviting your MP to see first-hand the amazing work you do helps to raise awareness of Scouting. A visit can help you to:

•    Ensure your MP understands that Scouting provides a really important service in the local community and is run solely by volunteers.
•    Challenge out-of-date perceptions of Scouting, particularly about the diversity of our young people (some MPs are still surprised to see girls are involved!). MPs are always so impressed with the work of volunteers to make Scouting more inclusive, so if you have a Better Prepared Group in your District, now’s the time to shout about it.
•    Build a relationship, even friendship, with your MP and secure future support for local Scouting. If you are facing a particular problem locally, you can ask your MP for advice or support with that issue. 

If you would like to make contact with an MP regarding a visit please contact our Public Affairs Team- Rachel Wenstone; Rachel.wenstone@scouts.org.uk / 020 8498 5403

Key Messages

Key messages are essential tools in all communications work. To be effective as a communicator you need to identify the key messages that you want to deliver and use them as a way of structuring your writing.

Every piece of communication should have a key message. Is it obvious? Do you know what it is? If a story your writing doesn't have a key message and demonstrate Scouting as a modern, growing, adventure based organisation why are you writing it?

All of your stories should provide an opportunity to deliver Scouting’s key messages. These messages can be demonstrated in every part of your story from the who, what, when, where, why to the images and quotes. All of the information that you include should support your messages.

You could ask your MP to:
•    Post about the visit on their social media.
•    Release a press release or put up a news story on their website.
•    Add a comment to your press release.
•    Put you in touch with a local councillor, business owners or schools.

What quote should I use?

Make sure you get a quote from a young person. The quote should reflect their excitement at being a Scouts and having the MP come and visit and the positive experience they have gained. This could be about a new activity they have tried, building friendships or talking to the MP.

Also include the quote of an adult volunteer. What have they gained from the experience? It could be organisation skills, confidence, bringing the community closer together or just the reward of helping young people have a positive experience.

When taking a picture to go with your press release try to be as creative as possible. Static or posed shots aren’t nearly as effective as action shots.
Try to get a picture of some group members talking to the MP and including them in their activities. Capture them having fun and looking like they are enjoying themselves.

Action shots tell more of a story, try to spend some time prior to the event thinking about what activities will offer a good photo opportunity, and if there is anything you might need to bring along to help get the right shot.
Also consider your surroundings, backdrop and lighting. It is hard to get a great shot in a dimly lit Scout HQ.

Stay firm

Write the story you want to write. Don’t let the reporters sway your decision making.

This goes along for the picture as well. Once you make up your mind for a picture you want to use, set it up and tell them what you will be using for the picture.

 

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