Writing a press release for your event probably isn’t your favorite part of your job, but as an event maker, a well written press release can garner attention from well respected publications in the area where your event will take place. Your press release will be a success if you can get the critical information to your readers. Press releases aren’t fancy, you don’t get to put a lot of voice into them, but they get the information across and they do so effectively. Here are 5 hacks for getting the most out of your event press release:
You want your writing simple enough that a sixth grader could understand everything you are saying.
1. Keep it simple.
When you write your press release for your event, the most important thing you can do is to keep it simple. There is a misconception when it comes to writing press releases for events where people believe that sophistication equals professionalism, but the truth is, you can still sound professional while writing for understanding. You want your writing simple enough that a sixth grader could understand everything you are saying. The easier your press release reads, the more people will remember the key information from it, such as the time and place of your event. This rule applies to any audience you are talking to, whether you are planning a conference for doctors or hosting an arts festival for the general public. Keeping your event press release simple will improve the chances a paper will pick it up and that your audience will read it.
Keeping it simple doesn’t mean that your press release has to be boring. Keeping a press release simple implies that you are using commonly used vocabulary so that everybody understands. If you use words that a 12 year old wouldn’t know, you will turn away potential attendees. If you are targeting a niche audience, use the commonly understood language within that niche to better reach them. But the key remains the same; the language you use needs to be understood by the majority of your audience. Simple is always better when writing press releases.
2. Pick the right headline.
Headlines by definition are meant to be exciting, to capture attention, and provoke readers into action. When somebody reads your headline for your press release, they should want to know more about your event. You should include the name of your event and something tantalizing about it that makes them want to know more. If you are doing an online press release, remember that Google will only display the first 60 characters of your title in the search results page, so choose the right keywords that your audience would search for and include them in your 60 character title.
3. Don’t bury the lead.
In reporting terms, sometimes journalists get caught “burying the lead” meaning that they leave the most important information for last and try to build up to that final grand statement. When you bury the lead, you risk having your readers stop reading your release before they get to the main story. When you start your press release for your event with your lead, the most important information will be the first thing readers see. After your lead, you should say your second most important piece of information followed by your third and so on. You can risk trying to keep your readers entertained through your whole press release, or you can make sure they get the critical information first.
Your lead paragraph will be full of information, answering the who, what, where, when, why, and how of your press release. The format for writing the lead paragraph is as follows: City, State - (Month, Day Year) - Details. If you follow that formula, you will start off on the right foot, but the right formatting is the least important part of your lead paragraph. The lead paragraph needs to be captivating and compel the reader to keep reading to the end of the paragraph. You want to start your lead with the most important information first. Get it out of the way and then start sharing the details. Every other sentence in your press release should be connected to this first line, which should be connected to your headline.
4. Details in the body.
The details of your event can fit into the remaining portion of your press release. Many PR distributors will charge you a flat rate for the first 400 words of your press release and then charge a steep price for anything above that. If you can, try to limit your press release to 400 words to stay within your budget.
The body paragraphs should include a quote from somebody in charge of the event, more details about what will happen, when, where, and how, and you can even make reference to past events as well if it is an annual event. The body can also include a quote from an event attendee mentioning their experience from past years and their excitement looking forward to this years event, or whatever angle you want to play. Make sure the quote you get from an attendee is real and that you have their approval before adding it in your press release.
5. Boilerplate and contact info.
Once you finish getting out the information and telling the story you want to share for your event, you need to end the press release for your event with a boilerplate and contact information. A boilerplate is essentially the about us section of the press release, giving some basic information about your event such as when the event was first organized, who manages it, key sponsors, etc. If you take a look at any major press release, you will see they always include a boiler plate that gives some information about the event as a whole. If you are a non profit, you can use the space to write a little bit about your nonprofit, or if you are a business you can use it to talk about your company.
Contact information should include your name, work title, email, a working phone number, and if you use it, your twitter handle. Remember that both the boilerplate and the contact information counts towards the 400 words in your press release, so make sure you remember to include them as you are doing your word count.
Writing press releases for your event should be simple and painless with this formula. Know your audience, know their language, and get the key information out first. Let us know how this works for you in the comments below, or share what other tips you have for writing a good press release.
Feature Image via http://nesfinancial.com/nr/