Saturday, October 26, 2013

School Counseling Advocacy 101: Writing Press Releases

I have been so busy implementing programming, preparing for upcoming testing and seeing students that I have not had much time to blog, but I have been writing press releases to let the local community know what types of services and celebrations are being implemented in the school through the school counseling program.

At the beginning of the year I did a parent survey to get feedback about the school counseling program and one thing that stood out to me was that many parents did not know about all of the programs and services that I provided to the students throughout the year. As a result, I set a goal to do a better job at not only communicating with parents to let them know what we're doing, but also getting word out to the community and surveying parents more for feedback.

An easy and free way to get the word out about your school counseling program is through a press release. In the last couple of months I have coordinated programming for National Suicide Awareness Month, National Bully Prevention Month and Red Ribbon Week. You can find a manual to help shape your events and many times craft your press releases for most monthly celebrations.

What does a Press Release Look Like?

Word also has a nice Press Release template that I like to use. The most important thing about a press release is making sure you have all of the appropriate parts, the red arrows above identify those parts.

This webpage also has great tips for writing press releases.

Top 5 ways to Advocate for the School Counseling Profession in your Press Release
  1. Write a catchy title to draw in readers
  2. Identify yourself as a "School Counselor"
  3. Include information about your webpage, blog or email to create opportunities for the public to learn more about what you do
  4. Let the public know how they can get involved with what you are doing-connect with the community
  5. Mention the American School Counseling Association or your state association website if applicable 
Where to Publish your Press Release

Not sure what papers are in your area? Click here to do a general search, or just Google, "[your city, state] newspapers" and you will be able to identify many resources.

Click here to see an example of one of my press releases from this month.

Have you written a Press Release for your program events? Please comment below with tips that have helped you successfully use this tool to advocate for your program and the school counseling profession.