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Basics

Why Bother?
Why it is worth your time to write a press release, and why beginners have a special advantage.

Where To Send It
Some tips on finding appropriate publications to send your press release to.

Timing
The most frequent and fatal error in writing a press release, and how not to make it.

A Few Points of Style
A few stylistic points, for the press release and yourself.

Three Types
of Press Release

1. Coming Event
Let's start easy. Let the community know about special events at your church.

2. Feature Story
What interesting people are there at your church? This could even land you on the front page - maybe.

3. News Story
What newsworthy event will happen at your church? Last not because it is least, but because it is less frequent that you'll be able to use it. But some day...

Etc.

What to Write About
"But nothing's happening at my church." Bet there is. And if there isn't, there's more wrong with your church than a press release can fix.

Media Bias
"But isn't the media biased against Christianity?" Probably, but here's why it usually doesn't make much difference.

 

Get It There on Time!

But not too early.

My recollection of working at a newspaper (though a bit dated), is of piles of paper. Send your press release in too early and it will disappear into one of these piles, not to emerge until six months after the event. Send it in too late and the newspaper will not have time to get it into print.

I think a common assumption is that because yesterday's news is in today's paper, that means the newspaper staff must have put it all together yesterday. Wrong.

The newspaper staff quite reasonably feels that if you've been planning an event for the last month and a half, you can give them a bit of notice.

So, what kind of notice do they want?

Well, if they're on their toes, that information should be in the publication, usually in the same box on page two or three that contains the contact information. But often it isn't, so here are some rules of thumb:

  • Get a press release to local newspapers about two weeks before the event.
  • Get a press release to big metro newspapers about three weeks before the event.
  • Get a press release to a monthly (newspaper or magazine) about four weeks before the publication date. (For example, send it around Febuary 1 to get it in the March edition.) By the way, I'm not talking about national magazines, but rather smaller, local publications.

    Copyright 1999 Brad Haugaard.