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.

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Comedy Outliers: Would You Like Be On My Show?

CO24finalToday we feature another guest post from Comedy Outliers. They offer great advice to comedians, or performers in general, on how to survive and thrive in today’s competitive artistic climate.

The Comedy Outliers have their annual holiday show coming up this Saturday, January 18th at Lilly O’Brien‘s in New York City. Their shows are free but we highly recommend you pick up tickets so you don’t show up to a full house.

If you’re in New York or headed that way, be sure to check out their show. It’s rare to see comedy of this calibre without a cover charge or drink minimum. That said, if you want them to continue bringing these great shows to the Big Apple, we highly encourage you to support their efforts by hitting the “Donate” button on their website.

“Yes, I’m available! Let’s do it!”

Those are words that a producer loves to hear when they are trying to book acts for their shows. Reaching out to talent to perform on your show can be quite intimidating and it is often accompanied with rejection or delayed responses that may not come until a week AFTER your event happened. Nonetheless, when you get the act that you feel will be a great fit for your show it is extremely rewarding.

There have been times when we reached out to a comedian about performing on our show only to have them respond that they were unavailable. Did we leave it at that? Of course not! We politely follow-up every month or so with the next date and to inquire about their availability to perform on our show. Sometimes this back and forth goes on for months and in some cases it has taken almost a year to book specific comics (cough) Hannibal Burress (cough)!

Remember when you are trying to book talent that you need to be professional, polite and understanding of their schedules. Creative people, especially comics are impulsive and at times unpredictable which causes challenges when booking them. There have been times when despite our efforts a comic will bail last minute because of a random paying gig that came up…not going to knock that because everyone’s gotta eat! Other times they double-booked themselves (step your Google calendar game up!) However, we never take these cancellations personally but we do try to build line-ups where the comics compliment each other so it may be quite some time before we reach out to that particular comic again if we find that they aren’t the best fit for next month’s show.

Booking a show that will have numerous acts can be stressful and overwhelming at times but this is what we deal with to create the best show possible right? When you get the talent you’re looking for, don’t forget to make sure they enjoy themselves and have a memorable experience so that they can pass the word and hopefully make it easier for you to book other talent through positive word of mouth!

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