Press releases 101
When submitting a press release to a newspaper, the first rule of thumb: plan ahead. Most newspapers like to receive material a good 10 days to two weeks in advance of your desired publication date. And keep it simple. It will save you time and be much easier in the long run both for you and those on the receiving end who dont have the time to wade through pages and pages to determine whats important.
It's best to prepare your press release in an outline format. Stick to the basics. Most everyone has heard of the 5 Ws, but not everyone is clear on what is meant by them.
WHO: Who is sponsoring the event? What sort of audience do you hope to attract -- families, senior citizens, adults only? Also, who is the featured speaker or special guest? Be careful to spell proper names correctly. It's very embarrassing when you get a name wrong.
WHAT: What type of event is it...a road race, a wine and cheese party, an arts festival?
WHERE: Where is the event being conducted and be specific...give the name of the park, building or whatever; the street address, the city and directions with landmarks where possible.
WHEN: Give the time, day of week and date, and make sure all three correspond. Often, people naturally write the current month instead of the month in which an event is being conducted.
WHY: Why is the event being conducted? Is it a benefit? Is it to introduce the community to the functions of your group?
In addition to the 5Ws, your press release should answer two other questions:
HOW: How do people go about making reservations or getting tickets? Is there special parking information those attending need to know?
HOW MUCH/HOW MANY: What is the admission cost, if any? How many people can the event accommodate, if there is a limit?
All good press releases include a contact persons name -- first and last, and phone number.