Dementia Friends Champions: Ask your DFO

Ask your RSOEach month, one of our DFOs (Dementia Friends Officers) answer your Dementia Friends Champions questions. Becky Haines, DFO for the Midlands, answers this month’s question:

I have contacted my local papers and asked them to promote my Information Sessions but I never get a response. Have you got any tips or hints on how I should approach them ?

Becky’s answer:
Dear Champion,

Thanks for your email and it’s great to hear that you have already contacted your local press. We recently ran a webinar for Champions on how to plan and promote Information Sessions. We were joined by Robbie Lane, Media and Communications Officer here at Alzheimer’s Society and here a few of his tips for you to try:

1. First of all, take a look at our press pack, available on your dashboard under Session Resources > Promoting your Sessions. This pack includes advice on using social media, taking a good press photograph, a pre-event press release template and a post-event press release template along with guidance on how to use them. These templates have been recently updated with our most up-to-date messages, so do have a look through and make sure you use these for future sessions.

2. Remember that if you send a press release too far in advance, a newsroom may lose or forget about it. Ten days before your information session is ideal.

3. Newsrooms get lots of emails so be really clear in your communication that you are running a real, local event. It’s worth following up a press release with a phone call to the newsroom and ask to speak to the person who deals with local events, so you can check it was received by the right person.

4. Send a post-event press release too – this will raise the profile of Dementia Friends locally so it’s still really important.

5. Our press releases include a section on why you signed up to be a Champion. Include 2 or 3 sentences which show your passion and enthusiasm, and why you think it’s important to be involved in Dementia Friends.

6. To get the session promoted on local radio, use the same press release. You can increase your chance by following up with a phone call to the newsroom to check that they received the press release and then politely ask if they are interested in speaking to anyone. They would usually want to do the interview a day or two before the session so it isn’t always ideal for getting people to come along but does help with general awareness of the programme.

7. When talking to local radio, remember they are on your side! Try and have 3 or 4 things in mind to get across in the interview, such as where the session is, why it’s important and how people can get involved. If you’d like a mock radio interview or help on what to cover in an interview, contact your Regional Support Officer.

Interested in becoming a Dementia Friends Champion? Head to our website for more info. 

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