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How to Write a Press Release for an Event
Posted on February 14th 2014
If you want your event to shine and be well-attended by your target audience, you want to create a buzz by sending out a press release.
But, with so many people on information overload via social media, texts, and emails, how do you generate excitement? What elements should your press release include or exclude? How much information is enough? How much is too little? Should you send out a traditional press release, or would an online-only press release suffice? Including the following elements should give you a good outline of how to write a press release for an event, while generating a buzz that will tell your reader that yours is not an event to be missed! View more press release writing tips and examples in another of our blogs.
The 6 Essential Points of How to Write A Press Release for An Event
1. Headline. Grab the reader’s attention with a strong, catchy headline with keywords that people will most likely use in their search. This is your opener and what will make your reader want to read on. Include the name of the event and either the location or theme of the event. You won’t want to give too many details up front. If you’re writing an online press release for an event, know that Google will index 60 characters and Yahoo, 120 characters. Use Title Case for your headline. See what PRWeb says about press release headlines.
2. Summary. Next, write a summary of one to four sentences. It may be a good idea to write this section last, after you have written the rest of the press release. It will be easier to summarize after you have the rest of your points down.
3. Dateline and lead paragraph. These elements range from 25 to 30 words and answer the “who, what, why, when, where and how” questions of your event. Keep the text simple and stick to the critical elements of the information. The format is: City, State, (name of service or publisher of the press release, e.g. GOOGLE), Month, Day, Year – details.
4. Body. The body of the press release is where you really get to tell the story of the event. This portion of the release will usually have two or three paragraphs. Use the first paragraph to elaborate on the details of the event. Talk about the target audience, any guests who will be featured and their background, and the benefits of attending. If the venue is historic or ties in with your event in some way or the date coincides with history or a special anniversary with your company, mention this. This part of the press release can be a bit more descriptive than previous sections.
5. The boilerplate statement follows the body. The boilerplate is a chunk of text that can be used repeatedly, just as an “About” page is used on a website. This is where the details about your company are listed including; the services you provide, and perhaps names the key executives as well. It can contain your mission and vision for your company. This is the public persona you wish to project for your company.
6. Finally, the press release should include contact information. This is the company name, telephone number, address (if you wish, it is not necessary in a press release), the company’s website address, the name of the key person to contact about the release, and an email address.
Those are the nuts and bolts of writing a press release for an event.
Now, let’s look at the basic dos and don’ts of writing a press release for an event. Make your PR a cut above the rest. Hubspot also has a good blog on the matter and even offers a recommended press release template.
- Start out strong and succinct. You need to grab your reader within the first few words.
- Use active voice. Vibrant verbs create interesting and fresh copy and draw the reader in.
- Identify a point person where readers can direct their inquiries.
- Use a professional tone without jargon in your writing. Using slang, hype, and too many exclamation points may come across as more of a sales pitch, turning people off your event.
- Tell an interesting story with your press release. Remember you want people to be drawn to your event. People are busy. They need to know how they will benefit by attending.
- Send the press release out in a timely fashion. Sent too early, people won’t remember it; sent too late, they may already be committed to something else. Two to three weeks in advance is a good timeline.
- Use a “hook.” Tying your event into trends, news, and social issues can add excitement and urgency to a press release for an event. The reader feels they are getting more value by attending than staying away.
- Keep your press release within 300-800 words.
- Spell check!
- Use clichés and common phrases that sound like a sales pitch. Fresh copy keeps your reader reading to the end.
- Give away everything. If you want the reader to go to your website for more information, give them the desire to do so. Leave them with questions about the company, and they’ll go to the website.
- Address your readers directly by “you.”
- Refer to your company as “we” or “I.”
- Create emphasis by using multiple exclamation points or ALL CAPS. These techniques lessen the credibility of your event.
- Use bullet points or long lists. Search engines may reject your press release identifying it as an attempt to overload your document with SEO, and bulleted lists belong in an article, not a press release.
- Include an email address if you’re writing an online-only release. The email could be picked up by spam bots and flood your email.
- Use more than one hyperlink per every 100 words; otherwise, a search engine may view it as spam.
- Use dashes, asterisks, and other odd symbols to create breaks between paragraphs. Just a simple line space will suffice.
- Use HTML. You want your press release for an event to be distributed over a wide range of networks, some of which may not support HTML.
Follow these guidelines and your press release will shine just as much as your event!