I’ve been creating a lot of press releases lately, so it seems fitting to use this topic as a springboard for post #3 of the UBC.
One of the most inexpensive ways to publicize an event, achievement, or other important news is to distribute a press release—a.k.a. news release—to the media. Newspapers, magazines, and radio and television stations are always on the lookout for information about community events, professional achievements, and business developments.
If your release receives attention, you’ll enjoy a huge benefit: free promotion. And as you already know, it doesn’t get any better than free! To get that much-desired coverage, however, you need a basic understanding about how press releases work.
A press release is really just a short article. Essentially, you are telling a story—and like any article, you’ll need to conduct some research before pounding out your prose. If you want to spread the news about a grand opening event, make sure to provide specifics: When will the opening occur? Where will it take place? What kinds of activities—giveaways, games, networking opportunities—will available?
Adding quotes from a reliable source is a great way to add interest to your story. Even just a sentence or two from the event organizer, notable sponsor, or CEO about the event (Why is it important? Who should attend?) is helpful.
Also, try to write an interesting headline. The editors who read your release may never get past the headline if it’s boring, so spend some time creating a great preface to your story. (Get specific tips for writing great headlines here.
Your release may appear in print exactly as you wrote it or in bits and pieces, or a journalist may use it as a springboard for an interview. If you are contacted for more information, be as friendly and helpful as possible. If you notice your release ran in the paper shortly after you submitted it, drop a short note to the editor and thank him for his attention to your release. Ditto if your event received coverage on television or radio.
Where should I send it?
It doesn’t cost anything to request media attention, so look at it this way: you can’t afford not to.