If you are going to make contact with a media organisation to inform or update them with a current event, you should always use a press release. These are in a standard format which makes them nice and easy for editors to read and see if they want to cover the story. They won’t waste time wading through a long meandering letter. Show that you respect their time.
Speaking of time…..if you are writing to a monthly publication, much of it may be prepared 6 months or more in advance. Send your press release early. Weeklies may still be largely prepared a month or more ahead. Dailies obviously work on much shorter time scales. If the date of publication is critical, plan ahead and submit in good time.
A press release must be about some newsworthy event. Just saying “Hi, we’re a local band” is not news. A CD release, a gig, a milestone (your hundredth gig, your 12th new drummer in 12 months, your millionth Face Book friend) or an entertaining anecdote can qualify.
If it’s not interesting, you’re wasting editors’ time and they won’t thank you.
- Use double spacing
- Keep it to one page
- Minimum 1 inch margins (2.54 cms) all round
- Make it simple and clear
- Stick to the facts
- Put contact details clearly at the top of the page
- Put a “Release Date” next to indicate when you want the story to go to print – if it is not time critical say “now”
- Keep headline straightforward – don’t try to get clever
- Use paragraphs in inverted pyramid format i.e.
- Main news fact
- Important details
- Less important details
- More details
- End with four centred, evenly spaced # signs – # # # #
If you are having trouble keeping to a single page, remember, if they like the story, they will contact you for more details and for your press pack. For now you just need to get their interest.
Proof read. Remember you are sending this to professional writers and if you don’t care enough to get it right, they will not take you seriously.
Oh and make sure you’re sending it to somewhere suitable. Hip-hop publications are really not interested in your folk duo.