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Follow this simple formula to get media coverage and attention.
Step 1: Sum up with a headline
Write a headline that sums up your event. Use the present tense and a bold, easy-to-read font.
If your event represents a first or the largest of its kind, or ties in to recent news developments, make sure to highlight those facts by mentioning them near the top of your release.
Step 2: Write up the details
Next, write a few paragraphs clearly and concisely explaining the event. Structure your release like a news story, reporting the most important information first. Mention interview possibilities and visual moments — known as “photo-ops” — for cameras.
Exclamation points and too many adjectives and adverbs can detract from your organization’s credibility by making you look overeager.
Step 3: Limit to one page
Keep it to one page: You can convey more details in follow-up conversations. At the end of the release, aligned center, type three number signs, the number “30” with hyphens on either side, or the word “ends.”
Don’t forget to include a catchy quote from an organizer or leader.
Step 4: Lay out the top
At the top of the page on either the left or right side in bold, write the date of the release, a list of contact names and numbers, and basic information like the date, time, and location of the event.
Make sure the contacts you list are available to answer calls and emails, and prepared to respond to questions.
Step 5: Get addresses
Find contact information online for news outlets; local ones are more likely to take an interest in your event. To increase response, target specific newspaper sections, radio and TV shows, and individual reporters that cover topics that pertain to your event.
Step 6: Distribute
Email and fax your press release to the news outlets and other contacts you’re targeting. Send it in advance, depending on your contacts’ lead times, but make sure to distribute it on the day of the event, too.
Step 7: Follow up
Send another press release to the same contacts after the event detailing who showed up, and any results.
Did You Know?
Ivy Lee, often called the first publicist, issued the first press release in 1906 on behalf of a group of American anthracite coal-mine operators.