Media campaigns, combined with interventions, are an important high-impact strategy. Use this toolkit to plan and execute your media strategy.
Having a solid communications plan—and sticking to it—helps ensure that your messages are reaching their intended targets. A typical plan includes:
- Purpose: What goal(s) do you hope to achieve through your communications and earned media efforts?
- Audience(s): Who do you want to reach through your efforts?
- Messaging: What messages will connect with your audience(s)?
- Tactics: With your messages determined, identify how best to communicate them
- Frequency/Timeline: How often do you plan to outreach to the local media?
- Media Channels: Where will your messages be distributed?
- Spokespeople: Identify who you want media to talk to on tobacco issues
- Calendar: Keep a calendar of key dates for media outreach
- Evaluation: How will you measure your efforts?
Details are available in the Earned Media Plan Guidance document.
Tools to help you create a plan:
- Template Communications Grid – a template grid to help you keep track of your earned media outreach
- CDC Health Communication – includes audience insights, tools and templates
- Social Media Planning Resources
Earned Media Strategies
Make the most of earned media coverage using the strategies below.
Press releases give you a way to frame your issue for the media and show them which points you feel should be stressed. Template press releases are available on the Media Opportunities page.
Sometimes you will want to create your own releases. Maximize their impact with these resources:
Letters to the Editor and Op-Eds
Letters to the editor (LTEs) and op-eds are great tools to use because you control the message. Plus, people like to read them: The only part of the newspaper that has more readers is the front page. Learn how to make them pop with these resources and templates:
- Media Tip - Difference Between an LTE and Op-Ed
- Media Tip - Writing Letters to the Editor
- LTE Templates listed on the Media Opportunities page
Photo Submissions to Newspapers
A picture is worth a 1,000 words. Submitting a photo with a caption to your local newspaper can be effective in getting media coverage - especially from weekly newspapers. They generally have smaller staff and are looking for outside contributions.
Got a story idea? Need to develop your interview skills? We've got tips for pitching the story and nailing the interview in our Interviewing Like a Pro page.
Editorial Board Visits
An editorial board meeting is an informal discussion with a newspaper's opinion page editor or editorial board. These visits are most effective when they take place face-to-face. Here are some tips for making a strong impression:
For More Information
For more information about media advocacy, contact Spencer Straub at the Wisconsin Tobacco Prevention and Control Program.