As I mentioned in my previous blog, newspapers, radio stations and websites are often looking for news about events and organizations. Media outlets want to include information of interest to their local readers and generally welcome press releases. They can edit the information if necessary, but the better you have prepared your submission, the more likely it is to be used.
It is important to reach people who may be interested in joining your organization, participating in an event or helping with a fundraiser. Ads are wonderful and offer another way to get your message out to the public. We can discuss them more in a future blog, but press releases can provide detailed information at no cost to you.
I edited with press releases as a reporter and sometimes turned the most interesting ones into larger articles or features. Having worked with them from both sides, writing them for organizations and editing them for the newspaper, I can assure you, it is not difficult. I’ll primarily talk about newspapers, but the same principles apply also to other media.
One easy way to remember what newspapers need is to think of poet and author Rudyard Kipling, (who wrote The Jungle Book, Kim, Just So Stories, and The Man who Would be King). A journalist also, he wrote:
"I keep six honest serving men (they taught me all I knew)
Their names are what & why & when and how and where and who."
All journalists use the 5 W's and H to make sure they cover the necessary details in an article. Remember to use them when writing a press release. Also important is contact information, whether it is you or an officer in your organization in case more information is needed. That information, as well as the date of your activity (or reservation date) should appear near the top of your press release.
Whether you are a writer and want more experience and to see more of your writing in print or a member of a group who just wants to help more.
Almost all groups can use someone to help with publicity. It is amazing how many organizations, with well-educated members do not receive much publicity because no one is willing or has time to compose and send something to the newspapers.
For those who want to write, composing press releases for different organizations gives you experience, clips and recognition, as well as the opportunity to help organizations or individuals. I’ll give you more hints in future blogs.