Last week, we discussed promoting yourself and presented various options for promoting oneself, including mailing lists, postcards, newsletters, web sites, blogs, and Flickr. This week I’d like to focus on one form of promotion; the press release.
Press releases are great way to inexpensively get your name out in the public arena. Inexpensive because there is typically no cost associated with submitting a press release to your local newspaper or community magazine. And hard copy press releases are not your only option. Press releases are now being posted online as well.
What is a Press Release
A press release is an announcement about you. And what, you ask, could I possibly announce about myself? Consider these possibilities: nomination for an award, winning an award, donating to local causes, anything that ties into the local community or organization (example: a presentation at the library), debuting a new line of work, inspiration for your work and teaching.
Though show announcements are not technically considered press releases (they typically fall under the calendar/event announcement), you can tie the new line of work or inspiration to a show you’re participating in.
Rules of Thumb
According to Joan Stewart of Publicity Hound, the old rule of limiting your press release to one page is no longer the standard. Joan advises that press releases can contain up to 500 words. The content of the press release contains what we all learned in English class: who, what, when, where, and how and maybe why. Other considerations include:
- who your key audience is and do you have more than one audience (which may mean multiple press releases)
- what is your key message
- what do you hope to accomplish with the release
- what do I want to tell readers to do, and
- do you want to obtain the reader’s contact information.
Parts of a Press Release
There are several parts to a press release:
- Contact information-this is where you include your name, phone numbers, email address and web site; also your city/town and state if submitting to outside your local area
- Headline or subject line-that is, the title of your press release.
- Sub-head-a one sentence summary of the press release
- Body-the content of your press release; remember the who, what, where, when, how, and maybe why information
- Links if appropriate
- Note to editors (optional)
- Photos (optional)
Calendar listings follow a very simple format
- Contact information
- Cost (if applicable)
- How (e.g. registration)
Where to Send It
Now that you’ve put together your press release, you might be wondering where to send it. Here are some ideas:
- local newspaper
- regional newspaper
- local art associations
- show promoters
- local galleries (especially those who have supported you)
Don’t be disappointed if your press release does not appear in the local newspaper or magazine straight away. I’ve experienced submitting a press release that did not get published immediately, but then received a request for an interview a month or two later. On the other hand, I’ve submitted calendar event listings that have garnered interviews. What is important is that you continue to promote yourself using all available and appropriate options.
Do you have a press release story you’d like to share?