6 Easy Steps to Attract Press Coverage

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Media TruckWithout promotion, something terrible happens…nothing!
– P.T. Barnum

A write-up in the newspaper or a television spot featuring your event can attract throngs of fans, boost ticket sales and make you appear like a “big name” even when you’re just starting out. It’s worth the effort.

But everyone else is clamoring from press attention, so how do you get it? Follow these 6 steps:

1. Laser-Focus Your Media Outreach

These days, reporters have tighter deadlines than ever before, along with stuffed email inboxes and constant content to produce. They are not only responsible for making short deadlines and editing their own work; they may be required to maintain blogs, video or social accounts.

In short, they’re busy. That’s why laser-focusing your media outreach is so important. Send your pitches and press releases off to the right publications. Check your publication’s editorial calendar online if it’s public, so you don’t make the mistake of sending a pitch on a story they just covered. An editorial calendar can also clue you in to what topics they’re going to cover in the future.

Ask your fans what they read or watch—it could include anything from newsletters to blogs and social media. Tally responses and remove media outlets that do not influence your local market. From there, create a “top 5” list.

Never hound journalists. Think of media outreach like dating—the slightest air of desperation is an immediate turn off. If an editor or journalist “ghosts” you (doesn’t respond to your pitch), assume he or she is not into it and move on. Follow-up only once, if that.

Did you know Brown Paper Tickets offers free promo advice and support to event organizers? Just call us at (800) 838-3006 or email promo [at] brownpapertickets [dot] com.

2. Identify Your Unique Value Proposition 

 Identify what makes you unique before you pitch. Ask yourself two questions:

  • What is it about your show that makes new ticket buyers want to spend their hard-earned money?
  • What makes your event worth the price?

You Had Us at “All-Cat Rock Band”

Acrocats-CatPiano

See the Amazing Acro-Cats, a cat circus that recently appeared on the Colbert Report and tours nationally, in a big, feline-festooned bus.

The “unique value” of the cat circus seems obvious. Who wouldn’t want to see a cat circus? But suppose I am a reporter. I get invited to lots of things and maybe I pass on the amazing cat circus because I just wrote about a circus act last month.

How about an all-cat rock band, the “only in existence” with a lead performer named Tuna who plays a mean kitty cowbell? Bingo, that’s a unique value, the “silver tuna,” if you want to get pun-y. Acro-Cats’ show also teaches clicker training, encourages adoption and gives money to cat rescue. All of those things make the show unique and valuable to ticket buyers.

Add your unique value proposition to the title, description and headline of your press release or in the opening paragraph of your pitch email.

If you’re wondering, the Amazing Acro-Cats will be in “Mew” Orleans for a Meowy Catmas December 4 – December 20.

3. Use Objective Superlatives 

Now that you have a unique value proposition, you’ll need to find your superlatives. Remember, reporters need provable facts. They cannot use wildest, most creative, most fun, most unique because those are subjective.

Add measurable facts to your media outreach materials. Maybe your event is the largest or the only event in a specific genre. Or maybe the event had more performers or performances than any other in the state or country.

Back up your claim in one sentence:

The largest metal music festival in Kalamazoo, Michigan

The only all-cat rock band in existence

The longest-running food and wine tour in Napa

4. Go Local

Localize your event to create an attractive angle for the press to cover—add a location name to the title and choose the largest community possible to reach a greater amount of people.

But if the smaller place has more oompf and cache for your specific event, use that. A Hollywood burlesque fest might attract more attention than a LA burlesque festival because Hollywood is all about glam.

Have your performers reach out to his/her local neighborhood blogs to let them know about the “hometown guy or gal makes it good” story with your event as the hook.

5. Offer Visuals

Reporters are strapped for time; publications are strapped for cash. They won’t likely send a photojournalist and a reporter to your event—be prepared to provide g-rated, safe-for-work, high-res photos and videos. Ask your performers for headshots and keep them at the ready, so you don’t lose the story.

When it comes to video, remember that television stations aren’t likely to use promotional videos with music, graphic, credits or logos embedded over them.

Be professional and responsive. If you work well with the reporter the first time, they may run stories on your event in the future.

6. Get Listed

The low-hanging fruit of the PR world, calendar listings are easy to get and almost always generate ticket sales. Newsletter, blogs or The New York Times, most publications have calendar listings. Search for “how to submit an event” and carefully review and follow submission instructions. If you can’t find instructions, ask the publication if they’re willing to write about it or include it in topics shared with the community.

What are your secrets for getting press coverage or working with media? Share your thoughts in the comments.