Press Release:

How to Write and Send a Press Release?

When To Use A Press Release

You can use a release to notify the media about any sort of happening - such as a new CD release, special gig, or label signing. The key thing to remember is, this is supposed to be "news", so your press release needs to be "newsworthy".

So what is newsworthy? Well, that requires a little research into your media contacts. What types of stories or articles are usually published? Will the readers of the publication care about your music? You need to target your releases to proper sources - that is, someone who actually cares about your news. If you continually send announcements of gigs to a paper that does not print calendar listings, it will be a total waste of time... your time, and the editor's, which is unlikely to make you popular around the paper's offices.

Make sure you do your homework and find out what kind of topics get coverage in each media outlet. Naturally you will send a press release announcing your new CD to the local music paper. But you will also want to explore different "angles" with other outlets. For instance, if your band has a popular website, perhaps internet magazines would be interested. If you offer a percentage of sales on your CD to the Save the Rain Forest organization, perhaps environmental publications would find your news worthy of printing.

Remember that a writer or editor has a duty to the readers - not you - to report interesting news. They do not owe you a story, so you must make it interesting. If you can send news that will appeal to the readers, you are far more likely to get printed.

The free publicity you generate with your press release will be many times more valuable than any advertisements you could buy. Studies have shown that people respond to articles at a much higher rate than ads, because they are perceived to be more credible. After all, anyone can buy an ad, but if there is an article written about you, you must be "important".

How To Write The Release

Most press releases follow a similar format, and it's easy to learn. First, spend some time defining the Main Message you want to get across. You will need to tell the who, what, when, why, and where in your press release.

Start with an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of your letterhead. Many people suggest double-spacing your type, as well as leaving a minimum 1 inch white border on all sides. Use an easy to read font. You can use any simple word processing program to build your release, and print it on any decent computer printer. Lower-priced laser printers have sharper type than ink jet printers, but lack color printing capability.

The first lines you want to include are:


"For more information, contact:"

followed by your contact information. (Make sure the phone number you give will be answered promptly during the period right after the release is sent out. Editor's who are interested in running your story may need to talk to you.)

Then, write your headline, which looks good in all capital letters. The headline is the single most important sentence of your press release - if the headline sounds interesting, it compels people to read further. If not - your release may be passed over quickly. Spend some time and creative thought on the headline. Read other headlines and notice what makes you read an article. This is the same kind of thing you need to accomplish. Don't be afraid to be dramatic, as bold headlines can draw the reader in. Don't make it too boring. "HELPING STOP DEAFNESS: ONE SONG AT A TIME" is a lot more enticing that "LOCAL BAND PLAYS AT DEAF SCHOOL" if you're doing a show at the Deaf School.

After you have crafted the perfect headline, you need to write the body of your release. Here's where you give all the details of your story. Write it in third person (using "He" or "She" instead of "I") and make it read like a news story. Press releases should be, at maximum, two pages long, and one page is better.

Special mention should be given here to the first paragraph. Just like the headline, the first paragraph needs to grab the reader's interest. In fact, many busy editors will only read past the beginning if you have "hooked" them in the first few lines. Make sure you include ALL pertinent details in this paragraph, since often papers will run releases verbatim.

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