Think about what makes your event special (i.e., why would someone want to go?). This should be reflected in everything you write, including titles, headlines, and first sentences. Your first goal is to attract readers’ interest. If they’re not interested, then there’s no need for them to read the rest of your press release.
Get the Media’s Attention
Once you have their attention, you must keep it to get the media’s attention. This means that quality is essential. Ensure everything you write is clear and easily understandable, so even the layman will be able to grasp what’s going on.
You should also ensure that everything is written in correct English. Careless mistakes immediately insult the reader’s intelligence because they show that you don’t care enough about your product/event/message/etc.
If the reader thinks your event isn’t worth spending time on, they won’t spend any time reading about it. If they do eventually write something up, chances are it will be negative.
Show Your Event Deserves Coverage
Once you have their interest and are willing to read more, the next step is to convince them that your event deserves coverage. This means you need to provide all relevant information in a way that’s easy for them to understand so they can quickly decide whether or not it’s worth reporting on.
You should also give enough details about what happens at the event but don’t go overboard with information; otherwise, there won’t be room for anything else. Providing too much irrelevant detail also signals that you don’t care about your event because if you did, this extra piece of information would somehow make it more special?
Prove Your Event is Well Organised
Once you’ve given enough information, your next goal is to prove that you are a reliable source of information. Your event will be well organised so the media can confidently cover it when the time comes.
If they think there’s even a tiny chance it might not go smoothly, then they won’t cover it because if something goes wrong, people will blame them for making it happen in the first place.
You should also make sure you understand what journalists need from their sources because chances are this information came from experience – i.e., one of them did something wrong, or something went wrong with an event they were covering, and they learned the hard way by experiencing the repercussions of their actions/inactions.
This means that whatever problems the journalist encountered, they will want to ensure it doesn’t happen again with future events. In other words, you need to work as a team and not against each other.
If the media is interested in your event, they will cover it, but if they don’t consider it newsworthy enough for their readers/viewers, then your efforts have been wasted because nobody knows about what you’ve done or achieved except those who were there.
You can always hope that somebody else is covering the same story from another angle, but this is usually difficult to achieve unless you can pay for advertising space. I.e. Buying an advertisement is more likely to guarantee that people will see your message than sending a press release via the traditional route.
People Should Be Interested in Your Event
It’s essential to understand why people are interested in your event because this will help you write your press release. For example, if it’s a charity run/walk, the newsworthiness lies with the cause, i.e., supporting children with cancer or an orphanage.
If you’re promoting a new product, that’ll be interesting, but only if something new (maybe it can do more than similar products). If you’re hosting an egg & spoon race (for primary school children), then chances are nobody will be very excited unless there’s something unique about it.
For instance, maybe each child has their personalised egg painted with their name and chosen design – which would be considered original and therefore newsworthy.
Now let’s take an event you’ve hosted and consider the possibilities. If it’s a new educational course for children, you can’t expect people to be interested unless they work with young children (e.g., teachers).
But what makes them want to cover this story is that your courses are offered at below market value prices which means they can get more for less.
For example, not only will their students/pupils benefit, but schools themselves will save money on their budgets because these classes would typically cost around £200 per child/pupil per class (50% discount reduces this price to £100).
So the school could potentially make an annual saving of up to £2000+ if they had enough children enrolled in these classes, which would help offset school budget cuts.
Change the Way You Think About Writing Press Releases
However, improving your chances of getting media coverage might be as simple as changing how you think about writing press releases. What may seem unimportant to you is very important to the media and vice versa.
If it’s possible for you to do something for them (i.e., provide an exclusive service or interview), then journalists will always try to accommodate your needs in return. Let’s look at this in more detail.
If you want to influence someone’s actions/opinions, the most effective way is by using one-to-one human contact (e.g., face-to-face) because it’s likely to be more effective than communicating with them over the phone or writing an email/letter, etc. (if they can’t see you then they don’t know that you are talking to them).
Email helps arrange specific times, dates, and locations, but events like these should always be confirmed by phone. This ensures no confusion about what was agreed upon.
For example, the best time to call is during working hours, so you might need to wait until Monday morning – once business hours have finished for the weekend.
But if it’s someone particularly senior in a company, you might need to send emails first before phoning them directly because this demonstrates your willingness to compromise, giving them time to read and consider your message before you call them.
If you get voicemail, then leave a concise yet detailed message including what you want to discuss, where they can reach you and when would be the best time to call.
You might consider emailing your phone number to the person in advance so they’ll have it when they receive your message because if their inbox is complete, they won’t be able to see this until after the weekend when their inbox has been cleared.
Send out several press releases to increase your chances of media coverage but make sure that each release focuses on one main subject (i.e., ‘title’). For example, “Schools save money by hosting charity events” or “New course in psychology helps students gain better grades.”
If you can get your releases printed in national newspapers, you stand a perfect chance of getting good media coverage from local radio stations, etc. Still, if you’re not sure about this, it’s best to target local papers first because this is where most businesses get their business started.
Next, choose between three types of press release format: ‘inverted pyramid,’ ‘chronological,’ or ‘narrative.’
The inverted pyramid structure relies on using the most critical information first, so it should be used for situations where time is limited (e.g., short news reports, TV news bulletins). In contrast, the chronological style allows more depth and background detail, so writing more extended features for print media/websites might be helpful.
Finally, consider whether you should send the press release in advance or deliver it personally to the newsdesk/switchboard, so it’s fresh in their minds when your story breaks.
If you write about an event with a lot of interest attached (e.g., celebrity/politician), then this might not matter so much because they’ll probably be inundated by phone calls from journalists trying to get more information.
But if you’re promoting something that interests local people (e.g., new shop opening), then don’t waste time ringing them on Monday morning after all the excitement has died down. Give them enough notice in advance instead!
Also, if someone in authority is speaking at an event, it’s worth checking who else will be attending in advance to target your releases accordingly.
Finally, once the press release has been sent out, don’t forget to follow up a few days later to make sure that it reached the right person/people and that they had an opportunity to read it.
If it didn’t get printed, this is probably because there wasn’t enough interest, but phone them instead if you’re still unsure. Be friendly and ask directly whether your story was considered or not because you never know. They might have missed it due to being busy or forgotten about it!
Also, don’t forget to keep track of the publications where your releases were printed/broadcast because you could use these as future case studies when writing more media releases in the future.
I hope this article has made the process of writing press releases for an event seem less daunting because, trust me, it’s not as hard as you might think! You could even create your template to save time if you do this regularly or print it out so that each release is consistent and professional.
Just be sure to replace any example information with your relevant details. Either way, good luck with your media coverage!