Publicizing PTA to the Larger Community

Promote PTA

PTA enjoys excellent name recognition with the public. However, it is important to remember that the local community may not be familiar with the actual function of the PTA.

Market your PTA. Publicize special programs or events. Remind your community that PTA connects schools and families, and that PTA speaks for all children with one voice. Report what PTA has done for children and families at your school.

Contact newspapers and radio and television stations to stimulate the media’s interest in covering PTA events and programs. Share information with community websites and online bulletin boards to promote PTA.

Speaking With the Media

If a PTA leader is contacted by the media, prepare for the interview by creating talking points using the following questions:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. What is the solution?
  3. How will the solution impact the school and the children in it?
  4. What is the PTA message?
  5. Who supports PTA’s efforts? Why?
  6. Who opposes PTA’s efforts? Why?

If a PTA leader speaks with the media regarding an event or program, use the following questions to prepare talking points:

  • What is the event or program?
  • What are the facts?
  • How does it relate to what PTA believes?
  • How will it benefit children?
  • What is the message point?
  • Why is PTA organizing or participating in the event?

Media Interview Tips

Always obtain the president’s consent before agreeing to be interviewed by the media.

Prepare talking points.

The PTA representative is an authority by virtue of his or her PTA leadership position. As you speak to the media, focus on the good the PTA hopes to do.

It’s okay to say, “I don’t know.” If the reporter asks questions that are difficult to answer or outside your area of expertise, say, “I don’t know, but I will get back to you in time for your deadline.” Then be sure to consult with officers/chairmen who have the information, and make that deadline!

Speak in a language everyone understands. Jargon, association lingo or abbreviations that may be familiar to PTA members may have no meaning to the general public.

Be positive, not defensive. Do not attack other organizations or make accusations.

Tell the truth. If a statement is made that is not true, politely and immediately refute it in an informative and helpful manner.

Watch your body language. Crossed arms or hands on hips can signal defensiveness.

Be brief. Interviewers capture “sound bites”—short, succinct phrases that capture the essence of a program or position on an issue.

Make the point as often and as logically as possible.  It may feel repetitive, but when the interview is edited, the clearest or most emotional statement is likely to be the one that is repeated in the news.

Letters to the Editor and Opinion Editorials

Through a letter to the editor, one can reinforce a PTA message and concisely state the PTA position on an issue. Present only PTA positions upon which the PTA has agreed.

Opinion editorials (called “op-eds”) provide an opportunity to flesh out an argument for the importance and relevance of an issue and the proposed solution.

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