Graphic: Icon of a megaphone

Getting on the News: Writing a Press Release

I recently made a statement that if I was in charge of anything, I’d issue a press release for everything.  I am a firm believer (and I’m sure there’s a study somewhere that backs me up) that getting the media’s attention or paying for advertising is the key to success when it comes to getting clients, customers, donors, and supporters.

Yes, even in today’s modern world where the local news are reporting on stories that happened in Tallahassee and airing stupid cat videos off of YouTube that have no value whatsoever to us, you should still write a press release.

Here are my suggestions for creating press releases:

  1. Keep it concise – Don’t write a novel.  It should be just a few paragraphs.  The most important information should be first.
  2. Catch their attention – Use action verbs and descriptive language.  If you have a lot of “is”es and “was”es and that means you are using linking verbs. Make it interesting to read and think about.  One of my friends said, “Write it like a news story to get a news story.”
  3. Make it mean something – Why should the person who picks up the press release care? Don’t think about the end user.. the person who will see/hear/read the story. Yes, they are important, but if you convince the writers/assignment editors/tv folks on why it’s worth doing a story, you have one.
  4. Follow the format – If you use the template, you can’t fail.

It’s not as daunting as you think.  Reporters are always looking for stories to report on.

If you can build personal relationships with reporters, that’s even better.  Nurture those relationships.  I had started one with a very prominent local reporter and let it go because I got too busy with my job.

Also, I feel it is important to add that an invitation to attend is not a press release.  If you want people to come to an event, make it sound like a news story.  (Rookie mistake)

I don’t believe in giving advice/information without tools so with that, here are the emails of the local newsdesks to which you will submit your press releases.  (A side note: attach it to the email but also paste it in the body of the email.  You should do this for lots of things.  But that’s for another day)  I also included an example press release we submitted for a fundraiser we hosted for one of my friends.

Template

PDF (Strictly for informational purposes) acrobat

press-release

Word (The actual template) word

press-release

 

Local media outlets

Fox4KC WDAF: news@wdaftv4.com
KCTV5: newsdesk@kctv5.com
KMBC 9: news@KMBC.com
KSHB 41 Action News: Try filling out their web form at http://www.kshb.com/contact-us

KPRS Hot 103 Jamz: community@kprs.com
(I don’t listen to any other stations so sorry… Google it)

KC Star: The Star is tricky.  You have to sign up for an account on Press Release Central and then copy and paste the text of your release.  But you can add a photo!

The Pitch Weekly: Good luck. Try filling out their web form at http://posting.pitch.com/kansascity/ContactUs/Page