How to generate local PR for your event.
There are three main steps to gain positive local coverage for your event:
1. Get interest from the media by writing a press release.
2. Contact the media by phone to invite them to the event.
3. Consider offering some free tickets as a competition prize to raise awareness of the event.
Getting the press interested
To make sure your local newspapers and radio stations know what’s going on you can send a press release detailing when and where the activities are taking place and invite them to attend. This is basically a standard written document which captures your news and presents it to journalists in an easy-to-understand format.
How to write a press release
A press release is the best way to get your message across to the media – whether you are telling the media about something new e.g. your event, or inviting them to come along to photograph a youth group activity.
There are some basic rules which you should follow when writing a press release to ensure that it gets noticed by the editor/journalist. Always remember that the more newsworthy, interesting and readable the story, the easier you make the journalist’s job, and the greater the chance of your story appearing in the press.
Style and content
Your press release must be short and simple. A journalist will have very little time and must be able to identify the main message straight away. Therefore, the headline and first paragraph of the release are very important. The headline should be short and punchy. The first paragraph should capture their attention and include the main points of the release – ideally keep it between 15 to 30 words.
The body of the release should expand upon the first paragraph and must be factual. Resist the temptation to exaggerate. Try to keep the release to no more than one page in length.
Avoid using any jargon – or explain it very clearly if you must.
A quotation is often useful. It adds credibility and gives the story a human touch e.g. event manager, John Smith, said: "The xxxx Youth Committee is delighted to support…". Always remember to agree the quote first with the person concerned.
Sometimes a press release will include details of an event or an invitation to take a photo. In this case, keep the release even shorter than usual and include the details of ‘when,’ ‘where’ and ‘what’, at the very start of the release.
Additional material relating to a story is often helpful and should be included within ‘Notes to editors’ at the end of the release.
Where to send your release
Find the addresses and contact numbers for your local newspapers and radio stations in your local Yellow Pages. Unless you know a specific journalist you wish to reach, address the release to the ‘News Desk’ or to the ‘News Editor’. Keep a note of these numbers and the name of any journalists you talk to - you never know when you will want to contact them again.
Handling subsequent press enquiries
Always make sure that journalists can reach you (or the contact name of the press release) easily on the day that the release reaches them.
Although it is necessary to respond quickly to requests from journalists, always allow yourself some time for consideration of the response if you are not sure of your facts.
Remember that you may well want to build up a good relationship with the journalists on your local newspapers, radio and TV stations. So it is best to be helpful and friendly. This will stand you in good stead, if you need to contact them again.
After the event
It’s a good idea to keep a file of press cuttings when your event is featured in the local media as well as being a good record for future publicity activities.
If you have any questions or are not sure whether you have a good story to tell contact Kylie at the Office for Youth on 8415 4327.