When deciding to carry out a press / media campaign there are
5 basic questions to be answered; who, what, why, where and when? These can be applied to press in general as well as to your specific
press release. This guide will explore: Who are you going to send it to? What are you going to put in the press release? Why are you doing press, why are you writing a press release? Where are you going to send it? 1/14
When should you send it?
Who Find out exactly who you are targeting within the specific press and (online) media. Include the arts editors as well as section editors, journalists, reviewers, researchers and bloggers. Check through the press and online to get the appropriate names or phone them to find out who the best person to contact. Be targeted in your approach and find out their exact email address and telephone numbers. If it goes to the wrong email or a generic email it may get lost. Use social media to follow as many relevant people as possible and engage with relevant posts. This way you are bringing your information to their attention rather than waiting for them to find and start following 2/14
What â€Śare you going to put in the press release? Again you have to ask: who, what, why, where, when. You want to tell them who you are, what you are promoting, why are you doing it, where it is happening and when it is happening.
Keep it creative and interesting yet simple and informative. Write it in the third person. Keep the first paragraph to a short snappy summary to catch their attention as this may be all they read. Donâ€™t put in too much detail, you want to spark their interest and make them keen to find out more, not overload them with detail. But whatever you do, do not lie. This may lead to you being avoided in the future.
Keep it to one A4 page if possible. Only go onto two pages if you have extra information such as editors notes that you think are really important. Date the release and make the heading in bold, add an image if appropriate followed by the text and relevant details such as: event, date, time, venue, price and box office. Most importantly donâ€™t forget to include your own contact details. Remember to include the link to your website or online press kit. Make things as accessible and easy as possible.
Why Press and (online) media are important sources of free publicity that will raise awareness and bring your organisation to the attention of potential customers / audience. You have something new and of interest to them and their readers, listeners and viewers; a new business, product, service, design, theatre production, exhibition.
Remember, you are contacting a variety of media who are interested in your art form or industry, as well as what is happening in and around Scotland and beyond. They have pages to fill and their own audiences to keep and update. 5/14
Where Know the press and the audience you want to target. Is it newspapers (locals, dailies, broadsheets, weeklies, weekend), specialist magazines, business press, websites, TV and radio? Know exactly what you are wanting from them - is it a preview, review, news story, feature, arts news or blog?
When Send it out in plenty of time but not too early as it could easily get lost. A recommended guide is:
Dailies – 2-3 weeks
Weeklies/Sundays – 3-4 weeks
Fortnightly – 4-6 weeks
Monthlies – 3 months
Listings – 3 weeks 7/14
Leave it 4-5 days then follow up by phone. Don’t be afraid to contact them, start with the least scary option. Stick a smile on your face and start chatting. Find out if they received the press release and use this as chance to tell them a bit more about what you’re doing. Ask if it’s of interest, would they like to review/preview it and let them know you’ve got good images. If they didn’t receive it tell them you’ll send it again and hopefully they will look out for it. If they did and they are not sure what can be done with the information, ask when would be a good time to call back. Just because they can’t use it this time doesn’t mean they won’t be interested in the future. 8/14
You are giving them information that is of interest and relevance to their section and their readers so donâ€™t feel embarrassed about what you are doing. Have faith in what you are promoting. And most importantly of all ď€ donâ€™t pester them.
Images Having a high resolution, striking image can also help decide whether or not you get featured. The press love good photos so make sure and let them know you have some available.
Press kits Online press kits / electronic press kits allow you to tell the press about your company or product without having to send them attachments and large files. If you have high resolution images, videos/trailers and information that you feel they need to see in one go then this is the best way to do it without clogging up their inbox. It can include biographies, music/performance clips, promotional trailers, high resolution images, reviews or interviews, tour dates and contact information. These can be done online, be sent by email or using an online file sharing service such as Dropbox or U Send It or on disc. 11/14
Another way of making your information and images more accessible to the press and avoiding sending large files and is by creating a press section on your website. Some companies use a password for this section that they forward on to the press so they have full access. It should contain a full press release as well as any promo clips/trailers and high resolution images that can be downloaded.
Listings These will be sent to specific contacts at the various press resources; newspapers, magazines, websites. They are essential for an event and donâ€™t cost anything. If you get no other press coverage at least youâ€™ll have the event listed and reaching your target audience. Every little helps!
Next steps Please refer to the following relevant Cultural Enterprise Office resources: Defining Your Work The Artist Statement
Disclaimer: Cultural Enterprise Office is not responsible for any advice or information provided by any external organisation referenced in this document.
A Cultural Enterprise Office guide introducing the who, what, why, where and when of writing and distributing a press release.