October 22, 2013

Toolkit Roundup: Getting Press for Preservation Projects

Save Prentice rally. Credit: National Trust for Historic Preservation

Getting the word out on TV and in newspapers can be critical to the success of a preservation project -- but it can be no small task to get the media to notice your work, especially if you're an individual or small group, rather than an organization with a trained public relations staff. Fortunately, we can help, with three toolkits designed to get you on the fast track to outreach success.

Craft an Effective Communications Strategy for Your Preservation Project

Like with most things preservation-related, the first step is planning. You, of course, want to use the media to rally your community behind your project, but how? This toolkit provides 10 critical planning steps, from planning messaging to setting goals to measuring, along with a heavy dose of media relations savvy. (Don't forget ... you're always on the record!)

How to Pitch a Preservation Story to the News Media

Pitching the media -- aka, selling them on your story -- can be one of the most daunting aspects of getting your preservation project in front of the right audiences. This toolkit covers the ins and outs of pitching, from the importance of knowing your story backwards and forwards to remembering to saying "thank you," with many stops in between. (Including one about sharing on social media, which we recapped just a few weeks ago.)

How to Write an Op-Ed/Letter to the Editor

Sometimes, there isn't enough time to cultivate a relationship with someone in the press like the previous toolkit suggests. The place you want to save needs attention, and it needs it now. In this case, an op-ed or letter to the editor might be the best way to get your message out to a lot of people quickly. But what's the difference? And how do you get your local paper to run one? Our toolkit covers these questions about op-eds, letters to the editor, and more.

Sarah Heffern is the National Trust's director of social media. While she embraces all things online and pixel-centric, she’s also a hard-core building hugger, having first fallen for historic places in a fifth grade “Built Environment” class.


This Preservation Month, let's celebrate and explore historic places, starting with one action a day through the month of May. We can’t wait to see what you accomplish!

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