As county leaders, our residents are looking to us more than ever during these uncertain times for information that directly affects their lives. Local leaders like you across the country are taking to the airwaves and print to let residents know the latest information on COVID-19 pandemic’s devastating effects, testing information, details on vaccine distribution and information on local economic recovery efforts.
How do you get this important information out the masses? One of the most effective ways is through media relations. And media relations is not just a luxury of large counties with a dedicated communications staff. All counties, regardless of size, can hold virtual press conferences, media tours of county facilities and programs, and effectively pitch reporters, editors and producers.
Here are a few ideas:
- Hold a virtual press conference with your county’s public health director, county commissioners and small business owners to discuss the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and what your county is doing to mitigate the public health and economic crisis
- Offer a virtual tour for reporters of your public health department and the coronavirus vaccine rollout
- Hold a virtual tour of non-COVID related county programs and work to show county business goes on and we will serve our residents in these unprecedented times
- Issue a press release on how your county is investing federal coronavirus relief funding
- America needs frontline heroes and services at the county level to win the war against COVID-19.
- This is investment in frontline heroes, not county governments.
(Find more talking points on our frontline heros in NACo's We Are Counties campaign.)
- Investing in counties means investing in people and places – saving lives and restoring livelihoods.
- Direct federal aid to counties of all sizes affirms a strong federal-state-local partnership and is an investment in counties on the front lines and a commitment to defeating this pandemic together
- We can’t get back to normal without winning the public health fight.
Resources to Get Started
NACo is here to help with tools and resources for you to effectively amplify your message through local media coverage. Below you will find sample media advisories and press releases from NACo coronavirus media calls with county leaders, virtual press conferences and press releases as well as NACo’s Media Relations Guide for Counties, which was developed to assist county officials in strengthening their communications skills to improve local media coverage.
Media Relations Guide
The NACo Media Relations Guide assists county officials in strengthening their communications skills to improve local media coverage, and includes resources on traditional tools, social media, crisis communication and more.
Press Release and Op-Ed Templates
Hosting a Virtual Press Conference
Web-based press conferences on platforms like Zoom are a great way to help place a good sound bite on the air. To refine your virtual meeting, some tips to remember include:
Using Social Media
Media relations are an effective way of getting your message to your residents, but it is only part of the solution. Social media is a quick and easy way to reach your residents as well as a great way to amplify news coverage you get through your media relations efforts. Here are a few tips and resources to get started: