Plunkett Foundation was recently featured on BBC TV’s Look North as part of a report on rural isolation, and what our fantastic community co-operatives are doing to tackle it. The report was aired several times throughout the day and included an interview with our very own head of engagement Harriet English and the wonderful Bess at community co-operative, Tealby Village Shop. 

Being featured on TV was great exposure for our work, enabling us to share with a wide audience the message that the Plunkett Foundation is here to help anyone, from anywhere in the UK, who would like to explore the community co-operative model. 

Over the years we’ve helped many rural areas up set up hundreds of community co-operatives across Britain, and the success stories are truly inspiring. 

From the thriving village shop to the community pub that’s a lifeline for the volunteers helping run it – there are any number of fantastic stories going on out there about the good that can be done when people club together and make things happen.

The media can really help spread these positive messages, but how do you get your story out there?

Here are our top tips: 

Make contact 

Whatever the media outlet – TV, radio, print, web – there will be a news desk where the decisions are made as to what stories are going to be run. Send them a “press release” – this normally includes a headline, a summary of the information, and your contact details. If you’re holding an event and you want the media to come to it, make sure this info is clearly written at the top of the release together with words such as “press are invited to attend”.  If you don’t hear back, don’t be afraid to phone up to ask whether it’s been received. Journalists are deadline-driven and pretty frantic, but they are still always interested in a good story. 

Social media 

It’s a good idea to have a presence on social media when you’re running something like a community co-operative. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter – they’re all free and a great platform to tell people what you’re up to. It also means you can easily direct any journalists to your social media pages and they can check out your story in their own time.

You can check out our recent webinar on Social media for Community Businesses here: https://vimeo.com/257693943 

TV interviews 

If you manage to get your story picked up by a TV company, first of all … well done! But the silver screen has its pitfalls and sometimes you can end up not coming across as you intended. Here’s how to put your community co-operative across in the best way: 

  • Your mic is always on – forget that at your peril. There is no such thing as off-the-record; anything you say can be used in the final report.
  • Think about your key messages in advance so you can say them clearly. Practise in front of a mirror or friend. When the time comes listen carefully to any question you’re asked and answer it.
  • Always look the interviewer in the face – it comes across so much better on TV.
  • No sunglasses or tinted glasses, and avoid wearing anything you might regret – eg. T-shirts with questionable slogans!