How to Write a Press Release for an Event
A fundraising press release for an event can be a powerful marketing tool that can lead to big exposure. The purpose of a press release is to alert media and the public that your fundraising event is upcoming. Often, local newspapers and TV stations will include the information on a community services page on their websites or their “local events” emails.
In addition to advertisement, press releases are meant to intrigue the local media and to gain more coverage for your event. This helps your community learn more about your group, its function and needs, and can also be helpful if you have a continuing event.
The problem with press releases is that media do not always have space or time available to cover every fundraising event that is submitted to them. You can improve your chances for local coverage by writing a good press release for your fundraiser.
Additionally, you can submit a press release through an online service like PRWeb or PR.com. You’ll have to pay a fee and it might not be as targeted as a press release published directly through local media, but a press release submitted through sites like these will be included in online news aggregators and might still find it’s way into local new channels that way.
How to write a press release for an event
Editors might tell you that in order to gain a full-article write-up, you have to leave them a little something to learn. Your fundraising press release needs to give the essential specifics of your event, but also leave questions open for a reporter to ask. Without the need for questions, there is not much reason for a reporter to attend the event or call to ask more, and a bigger opportunity will be lost.
Before writing, call the editorial department of the local target media or check their website to find out where to send your press release to and what their guidelines are. Generally though, there is a fairly standard format for press releases, and if you follow it, your chances of having it published and gaining fundraiser coverage will greatly improve:
- Center the words PRESS RELEASE, in bold caps, at the top of the page
- Include a release date, or the words IMMEDIATE RELEASE in capital letters above the title of the release
- Write the title in bold
- Optional: add a sub header in bold
- Write the body of the press release: Begin with the city/town and date of the event
- Signal the end of the release with three ‘pound’ signs (###) centered below the last line.
- As you’re writing your press release, be sure to sprinkle it with relevant keywords throughout. Examples of keywords could be the name of your group, the name of your city, the word ‘fundraiser’ and the name and date of your event. So when someone searches the web for events for a specific city or date, yours will show up.
- Be sure to write the press release in a professional and objective (third person) tone. Edit and proofread it until it is absolutely to the point and error free. Have others proofread.
- Timing: especially larger publications plan months ahead. Be sure to contact your target publications as far ahead as you can to learn about deadlines for submitting your information.
- First paragraph: grab the readers attention; your headline and first paragraph should clarify your news; create a ‘call to action’ within the release to let supporters know their action is needed. Remember to keep this paragraph short and to the point, and leave some interest factor, but include the essentials (who, what, when, where, why). This paragraph the most important part of the release.
- Following paragraphs: details about the event; add a human interest factor like a story about a person or neighborhood who has been helped; quote from a beneficiary or leader; a bit of background information. Keep the whole release to about one printed page.
- End the release by paragraph three: summarize the release, add information about your group (incl. your mission statement perhaps) and include your contact information here: name, title, group’s name, phone number, email, website URL
Press releases are invaluable fundraising marketing tools. A well written press release creates great potential for outreach. Ensuring that one volunteer will know how to write a press release for an event will gain lasting exposure for your fundraising group.
For more fundraiser marketing tips, browse through our “Marketing Your Fundraiser” category.
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