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The Step-by-Step Guide to Writing Press Releases for Events

WritingPressReleasesPress releases (often called media releases) are a great way to disseminate information to the media for them to use in a variety of different ways, including for interviews or in-depth articles. Writing a press release sounds daunting, so we’ve got you covered with a few tips. If you have any additional questions, you can always reach out to our promo team for support.

1. Target your audience

Focus on the audience you want to read your press release. It helps to target certain media outlets and adjust your writing to fit them. For example, you wouldn’t want to write the same press release for Seventeen Magazine and The Wall Street Journal.

If you are struggling to find media outlets, think back to your target audience: where do they find their information? How do they get their news? Seek out these publications or media outlets.

2. Before you write your press release

Define your unique value proposition, the golden nugget of your event. Additionally, pick out a few flashy facts about your event. Is it the first of its kind? Do you have any well-known performers? Have you won any awards in the past? Do attendees get free swag? What exactly is notable about your event? List all the details you can think of, and keep your unique value in mind when writing.

If you are having trouble targeting these superlatives, read our in-depth piece on attracting press coverage.

3. Writing your release

To start, set up your formatting correctly. Create a letterhead, with your phone, email and full name. To indicate that your release’s information is ready to be distributed, add “For Immediate Release” below your contact information. If you don’t want anyone publishing the information in your release until a future date, write “For Release on (date).”

Next, you’ll write the title of the release, which should be short and to the point, followed by a one-sentence-long, italicized subtitle. Once you’re finished with the title and subhead, begin the body of your press release. Check out our example to see the best way to format your release.

Write in a journalistic voice—not like advertising copy, but more like a newspaper. Rely heavily on provable facts. Most media sources will want to be able to pull quotes or descriptions directly from your press release. Some may even publish it directly – so check it for general grammar as well as professional tone.

The first paragraph – known as the “lead” paragraph – should include a hook. This is what brings the reader in and excites them about your event. Try to show, rather than tell them about the event as it will be – what can attendees expect to see when they arrive? What is going to surprise them about your event?

Highlight the “golden nugget” early to keep interest. Additionally, try to address as many of the “five W’s” (who, what, when, where, why) as possible.

The second or third paragraph usually includes a quote from the spokesperson of your event or brand. This quote highlights why you are doing your event, or why it is special.

Feel free to use bullets within the release as well to break up the paragraphs and highlight important information, such as performers, caterers, the program’s schedule, and so on.

When you write your final paragraph of your release, circle back to your value proposition and include where to find more details about your event. Include a link to your Brown Paper Tickets’ event page, as well as your contact information. Press releases always end with three, centered italicized hashtags (###) to signify the end of the release. If you have a mission statement for your event or company, put it under the hashtags.

4. Proofreading

Making sure your release is written well is very important. Most journalists use AP Style  and editing your release in accordance with this styleguide will get you far. Have a co-worker or friend read over the release and spot errors or typos. Also, our promo team can help edit and revise and boost your press release and make sure it is up to journalistic standards. Additionally, once you get your release polished, the promo team can curate a media list specifically for you and your event.

5. Distribute

The next step is to send out your press release to media sources, curated by our promo team or your personal contacts. You will want to make sure you customize each email to each media outlet, specific to them, the language they use and the editors you’re writing to.

Got any press release writing tips? Share them below in our comments section.

Event Tips >

6 Easy Steps to Attract Press Coverage

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”


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.

Event Tips >

Save the Date: National Radio Day Celebration in Seattle

BPT_NRD_Square_Graphic-01Seattle-area radio lovers, listeners, indie producers and stations, save the date for National Radio Day, August 20. Coordinated by our Doer, Sabrina Roach, the flagship event for the first coast-to-coast celebration will happen right downtown.

Radio enthusiasts are welcome to stop by, view an interactive 6-foot-tall radio tower installation and see a youth-run pop-up radio station in action. Plus, find out about the seven new neighborhood low-power fm stations in Seattle.

Where: Central Library at the Atsuhiko and Ina Goodwin Tateuchi Plaza facing 4th Ave
When: 11:00AM – 12:30PM
Discuss Nationally/Show Radio Some Love: #NationalRadioDay

Register now and join us at the party on the plaza.

The city has so many reasons to celebrate radio. A big one is the creation of seven new low-power FM radio stations during the past year. These new stations will cover 90% of the city and act as important community resources, just like The Seattle Public Library. Come out and show your support, have a blast with us and find out more about local low-power fm. Definitely take a look at the radio tower art installation, built by a local artist in collaboration with our Doer, Maker Tamara Clammer.

News >

12 Creative Ways to Celebrate National Radio Day

BPT_NRD_Square_Graphic_V2-01-1“Radio is the most intimate and socially personal medium in the world.” – Harry von Zell.

National Radio Day is August 20, 2015—a day for communities across the country to celebrate radio. As part of my Doer work for Brown Paper Tickets, I’m organizing the first annual coast-to-coast celebration in partnership with non-commercial radio stations across the U.S.

In 2013, I organized my first National Radio Day event with a regional cohort of low-power FM soon-to-be applicants at Jack Straw, an audio nonprofit in Seattle. The group relayed hopes and dreams for how their proposed radio stations would serve their communities. Take a look at my first National Radio Day event

I’d been searching for ways to support relationship building among the many forms of community and public radio with similar missions. A common project on National Radio Day seemed like a good fit. Staff from roughly 30 stations RSVP’d for a conference call in July, so I knew I was on to something. Several ideas bubbled to the top, and it was suggested that we promote all of them so that folks can choose the ones that work best for them.

Together, let’s fuel some radio appreciation.

There are several ways for listeners, indie producers and stations to get involved with National Radio Day. Listen to shows. Volunteer and donate. Send sonic love notes to radio over airwaves.

Here are 12 creative ideas:


  1. Talk radio on social media and encourage others to do the same. Use hashtag: #NationalRadioDay
  2. Record and submit a Sonic ID to National Radio Day. A Sonic ID is like an audio postcard or photograph. It can be a poem, an anecdote or joke, a slice of overheard conversation–a vignette. Jay Allison of Atlantic Public Media describes them as, “sudden narratives or images.” Read about the creation of Sonic IDs and listen to examples.
  3. Volunteer time or make a monetary donation to your favorite public station.
  4. Join a National Radio Day celebration in your city or town. If you can’t find one, host your own and invite local stations to take part. In Seattle, our seven new neighborhood radio stations will broadcast live online from the central branch of The Seattle Public Library. We’ll also light up an 8-foot-tall tower.

Independent Producers

  1. Share quotes, ask questions, facilitate discussion using  #NationalRadioDay on social media.
  2. Don’t forget—submit your Sonic ID to National Radio Day and on the day, listen for your local station to play it.


  1. Ask thought-provoking questions to facilitate discussion among your listeners and social media followers.
  2. Solicit Sonic IDs from listeners, youth media organizations and indie producers. Offer a prize you already have on hand, like tickets or a mug. Play all the pieces that are a good fit for your station, post them to social media and make a Sonic ID map of your town.
  3. Partner with a few nonprofits and host a radio production workshop at your local public library.
  4. Promo share. If you’re a station, make one-minute-or-less promo spots with a standard hello, mission statement or short description and thank you. Stations will submit them to the national pool and play ones from other stations.
  5. Participate in our Radio Relay. We’ll start out with Station A on the West Coast. Station A calls Station B and they chat live on air for 15 minutes about what’s going on in their communities. Then Station B calls Station C and repeats the live broadcast 15-minute call. Station C calls Station D and it hopscotches around the country.
  6. Organize a local radio celebration and invite press. Mix and match the following components:-Host a Sonic ID listening party
    -Bring cake. Make a large sheet cake that says “Happy National Radio Day” and hand out free pieces of cake in a public place.
    -Gather vox pop. Gather vox pop in a neighborhood spot with a lot of foot traffic. Give out flyers that tell the folks you interview when they will hear their voices on air.
    -Be visual. A strong visual will increase the likelihood that you’ll get press and/or social media attention. Create a radio-themed art installation and unveil it in a public square.
    -Broadcast live or invite your community to tell their stories.
    -Encourage donations.
Good Causes >