Decision makers are sensitive to media coverage, so getting a story about your petition can be a great way to influence them. Here are four steps to getting that coverage:

Step 1: Craft your press story

Journalist often talk about ‘news hooks’ - that's something to peg a story on. If your issue isn't new, find something that makes it relevant right now.

Timing is everything
You’ll need to show why your petition is important right now. You can link your story to something that is being covered on the news right now or you can mention an upcoming deadline or decision or link your petition to a calendar event like a holiday. You can also demonstrate momentum, for example by saying “This petition is taking off! It has been signed 250 times in the last 24 hours.”

Location matters
Explain how your petition is relevant to the area the reporter covers by finding local angles and targeting reporters near you.

Explain why the story is important
The more people affected by an issue, the more compelling the story. Say how many people are impacted by the problem you’re trying to solve.

Petition starter Erick won his petition after getting headlines all over the world. Check out this video and hear his advice on how you can tell your story for the media, how to approach journalists and making the most of media coverage:


Tell a compelling story
Petitions that tell the personal stories behind a campaign make the best news stories. Explain why the issue matters to you personally, this will pull people in. Use as much detail as you can to make it interesting, if a celebrity has signed or tweeted your petition - mention it! Or if a Iocal paper has written about the issue and you're now contacting national media, tell them about the local story. Highlight the elements that will make your story appealing to readers.

Highlight photos, videos, and events
Photos or a video, can help make a story engaging - if you’ve got a couple, send them along with your text. Make sure to mention any upcoming photo events that might be opportunities to capture great content like hearings, stunts or speeches.

Make sure you have proof
Some reporters may want to fact check your story. Make sure you have any documents, emails, video or contact information for credible people who can back up your story.

Step 2: Pitch reporters

Once you know what your story for the press is, the next step is to get it in front of reporters.

We asked leading international journalist Peter Meikle what he thinks about petitions. Check out this video to find out how to best approach journalists like him:



Do your homework
Find out which reporters are covering your issue or are most likely to be interested in your petition. Read your local papers, listen to radio, watch the news and use internet searches to help find interested reporters.

Hear Peter Meikle's tips on the best ways to contact journalists about your petition and get a response:


Email first
Send a short email to introduce yourself and bring your petition to their attention.


Subject: With budget cuts looming, the last respite centre in the Wirral is at risk

Hi, my name is Bernard and I’m a parent of a child with Down Syndrome who regularly attends the Wirral respite centre. My son currently receives one-to-one support at the centre but could lose this entirely due to budget cuts.

I’ve started a petition asking the council to continue to provide support to children like my son with special education needs. The petition currently has over 6,000 signatures.

I hope this might make a story for you. You can contact me for more info on 07xxxxxxxxx or by email.

Be persistent
It’s not uncommon to send a pitch to ten or twenty journalists to get a single story. Make sure you listen to the responses from reporters, refine your pitch and try again in a week or two with any updated information on the progress of your petition.

Monitor the media
Sometimes journalists will write a story based on what you send them without contacting you back. Make sure you don’t miss any coverage by watching the news and setting up a Google alert.

Step 3: Ace the interview

Many journalists will want to talk to you for a story. Journalists love to talk to regular people with a sincere passion and connection to a story. Whether it’s for print, radio or television, these tips will help you get your message across.

Have three key points
When you know what you want to say, you can get your message across no matter what questions you are asked. Decide in advance the three key points you want to make and practice answering interview questions by bringing the conversation back to your points.


  1. Wirral Council has cut the budget for disabled care, and that’s not fair for children like my son, who has Down’s Syndrome.
  2. The council needs to give all children the chance to succeed by reinstating the disabled care budget for respite centres.
  3. My petition to reinstate the budget has over 6,000 signatures and there is still time to sign before the council meeting on Thursday.

Mention your petition
Make sure you mention your petition and the number of signatures. It adds credibility and helps you grow support. It also helps people who want to sign your petition to find it on the site.

Step 4: Make the most of media

Media coverage is great on it's own, but these simple actions can help you increase impact.

Say thanks!
Follow up with a brief thank you note to the reporter and include any updated information about your petition. If they feel appreciated and kept in the loop, they’ll be more likely to cover your story again.

Update your supporters
Media coverage is exciting, so make sure you update your supporters. You can also share your media coverage on social media and through a petition update to ask your supporters to do the same to get more attention.

Send stories to your Decision Maker
Forwarding press coverage to your decision maker in a short email can help you get a meeting or convince your decision maker to act.

Use media to get more media
Forwarding a local story on to a regional or national outlet along with your pitch can help you get broader coverage for your petition.