As you're learning how to market your business events, press releases can be valuable tools — but only when they're written effectively. A powerful, attention-grabbing press release can convince journalists that your event is worth reporting on, which can lead to media exposure, access to a wider audience and free publicity. With these press release tips, you can write exciting copy that intrigues publications and convinces them that your event is relevant to their readers.
Use a Catchy Headline
Creating a great headline is a part of writing a press release. In a single line, your headline should be able to state what the event is and tell journalists why they should care. Instead of "Local Business Plans Halloween Party," you might say, "Suzy's Boutique Hosts City's First-Ever Halloween Murder Mystery Ball." Specific details can grab the reader's attention and can compel journalists to keep reading. If you're stuck for ideas, you can write a list of the most exciting, different or unusual aspects of your event — a huge giveaway, an unexpected venue or a fun theme are all good places to start. When appropriate, you can also include a sub-headline to offer a few more details.
Provide a Succinct Overview
Once journalists get past your headline, you can keep their attention by providing a quick overview. In three to five sentences, you can give the basics about your event and can provide a few interesting details. After reading the paragraph, the reader should know what your event is, when it's happening and why it's worth covering. Consider expanding on the information in your headline; if you mentioned the chance to win exciting prizes at your software company's grand opening, you can mention that one lucky guest is going to win a laptop or a tablet. If you're hosting a murder mystery event, consider mentioning that guests can wear costumes and dance to a live band. This paragraph can often be the difference between a press release that gets picked up and one that's tossed aside.
Provide Newsworthy Details and Quotes
The remainder of your press release should give journalists all the information they need to write about your event. Your goal is to remove barriers for writers. After all, the more details you offer, the easier it can be to put together a story. Consider including everything a publication needs to know when covering an event: the cost, venue address, start times, dress code and where to get tickets. Then, you can offer interesting quotes from important people who are involved in the event. If a reporter is pressed for time, or if a newspaper needs to fill a last-minute empty space, this information can increase your chances of publication — all the writer has to do is make a quick call to fact-check or ask a couple of questions.
Follow a Standard Format for a News Release
While there's plenty of room for creativity in the actual text of a press release, you can use a standard format; this can ensures that journalists know where to look to find specific information. At the top right, consider placing the name, phone number and email address for your event's press contact person. Then, you can add the line "For immediate release" in all caps; if you want publications to wait until a specific date, you can write, "Embargoed for release until" and include the date. You might embargo a press release until ticket sales are live, for example. You can start the first paragraph with the date and your city and state in bold text, followed by a dash. Consider writing the content in paragraphs. At the end of the content, you can include a short paragraph about your company, as well as your website URL. There are no hard and fast rules for how long a press release should be, but it usually is a good idea to keep it to two pages or less.
Send Personalized Versions to Specific Journalists
Magazines, newspapers and bloggers get numerous press releases every day; you can help yours stand out by making it more personal. Consider identifying three or four writers who cover topics related to your event. Then, you can tailor your press release to the needs and style of the particular publication. If you're holding a launch party for a clothing line, for example, you might target a local style blogger and edit the press release to focus on your collection's on-trend elements or eco-friendly materials. You can paste the text into an email and add a personal note that explains briefly how your event would benefit the blog's readers. For extra impact, you can double your efforts by sending a printed copy with a handwritten note card.
Writing a good event press release takes time, but the effort can pay off. The more interesting your text, the more likely you are to get coverage from multiple publications, and free exposure can take your business event to the next level.
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