Writing an article for a PR magazine about such a simple topic as creating press releases for events initially seemed a bit silly. When you type “event press release example” into Google, it spits out 730,000,000 results, including endless templates, examples, and samples. What else is there to add? This is the most elementary knowledge, and here I’m addressing professionals in their field of expertise.
Wanting to write something new, I decided to enlist some friendly journalists in the process. What have I learned? First of all, if you’re reading this because you don’t know how to write press releases, don’t feel special. According to them, at least 60 percent of PR professionals feel your pain.
Event press release format
Writing a press release for an event is just like any other press release. Whether you’re using a press release template or creating your own, make sure it has the following:
- Title – telling what the news will be about.
- Lead – a summary of the entire communique, including the answers to the 5 Ws
- Body – elaborating on and specifying the info provided in the lead to explain the background of the story, starting with the most relevant
- Date of publishing – ensuring the release is on time
- Boilerplate – a short description that allows to convey the essence of the business and hence makes it easier to write about
- Contact information – contact info to the author, company and/or the agency.
If we would like to host a journalist at our event, besides the press release, we should also send them an invitation clearly stating the date, time, venue and the reason for the event.
4 types of event press releases you should remember about:
- Information about upcoming closed events where we invite journalists or to simply announce they will take place
- Information about closed events that have already taken place
- Information about upcoming open events with the intention of using the media to invite their audience
- Information about open events that have already taken place
Find journalists and media influencers interested in your specific event
A key factor in getting your press release picked up by the media is pitching to relevant journalists and bloggers—people that are interested in writing about your event.
An easy way to find relevant media contacts interested in your event is by using a media contacts database.
You can refine your search by filtering where a journalist is located, or what topics/industries he or she is interested in. This is a much better approach than the “spray and pray” method, hoping that someone will be interested in your story.
Media databases often have an extensive list of topics that journalists are focused on, ranging from beer or cosmetics to cloud computing.
How to write a press release for an event – tips from 4 journalists
Before we write a press release about an event and then send it to anyone, we should first answer a couple of questions:
1. Does the newsroom that I’m addressing cover similar events?
2. Does the journalist that I’m addressing deal with my subject matter?
3. Will the newsroom/journalist find all the info necessary to write a useful article for their audience?
4. What is the most important thing in my press release and will the newsroom find a reason to publish my news?
These few points do not exhaust the press release writing issue, but as I mentioned before, the internet is full of supplementary materials. The most important message in this article comes from the journalists I spoke to – each a recipient of dozens of press releases daily.
1. Journalist A: Investments, construction, architecture, and real estate
2. Journalist B: Local news, city life and local government
3. Journalist C: Lifestyle, fashion, cosmetics, and design
4. Journalist D: Art and culture
Below are some of the things pointed out by the people to whom we send our event press releases and invitations. Let’s check how they define writing a good press release about an event:
1. Flowery style of writing press releases, adjectives, praises and exaggerations
Journalist A: I like figures, facts and sensible quotes instead of a bunch of adjectives and silly references.
Journalist B: You’re doing it wrong if you’re using a million descriptions like “an amazing, one of a kind event that will forever be remembered.” The journalist then, not only has a difficult time grasping the most important info about the when and where but also may be discouraged from looking hard to find it
Journalist D: When it comes to the language used, I strongly advise against using the so-called cool-words as well as overusing capital letters. Even if the headline is interesting, the journalists will most likely not want to spend the time adapting your language to their standards.
2. Presenting solid facts that interest the press about your event
Journalist A: When I get a press release from an event where there were substantial talks on some issues, I would like to also get quotes on investments, trends, forecasts, etc. When I read that “the market is growing” or “the future is bright” I begin to lose my will to live. When organizing a conference to which you invite journalists, I would also stay away from “We are happy to announce,” “It is our honor to…” or “With joy we…” When I plan to attend a conference I’m only interested in what will be talked about and who will do the talking.
Journalist B: When you send a press release to a city paper about a concert of a lesser known band of a niche genre, other than just naming the music category (for example eco-hip-gothic rock), please list something known that the audience can compare it to. After all, this will be read by everyone.
Journalist C: If the event is really a new thing, something non-standard, it makes sense to cover everything from A to Z, starting with the things your reader will find the most interesting.
3. Sending your press release to a newsroom that doesn’t deal with your subject or an invitation to a journalist not in your field
Journalist B: It is common practice that the capital city paper gets flooded by spam from a concert agency organizing events all around the country.
Journalist C: Every day, I get hundreds of emails from all kinds of sources and in my work, time is of the essence. I have just a few seconds to look through each, and the ones that irritate me the most are the ones that should not be there at all. Working in the event department of a fashion magazine, I am not very likely to use your press release about a chicken beauty pageant or the grand opening of new ceramic tile production line. It’s really crucial to check your contact database and only send out useful info.
4. Adding attachments to your event press release
Journalist A: When it comes to grand openings, good pictures are key. We probably wrote about the venue before, so we have some knowledge about it, but a good summary is always welcome.
Journalist B: Putting just the name of the event, the date and the link to a Facebook page description is extremely bad practice. If you didn’t feel like copying the info from your FB page to the email, you can bet that I have no interest in it either. Plus, I am not obligated to have an account on every social media site.
Journalist C: Attachments are incredibly important. They must be of appropriate size and format so that looking through them will not require time and effort.
5. The frequency of calls, emails, and follow-ups
Journalist C: Calling in your press releases is typically frowned upon and is generally treated like telemarketing. Journalists try to distance themselves from such PR pros. On top of that, it’s usually an intern without a clue that does the calling. It’s a little easier when you personally know the journalist.
Journalist D: There is one thing that we really don’t take kindly to. That is sending the same press release to all the email addresses at our office and repeating the process every couple of days. That will undoubtedly land you in the spam folder.
6. Overconfidence and not telling the truth
Journalist B: A certain music store wanted to promote their event so much that finally, their rep said that the reader “would like to know about this kind of an event.” That effectively ended our conversation. If that’s how you feel then you should go with paid advertising. Here’s another true story from my time in the city pages: Some PR department announced an event, the paper wrote about it, after which the PR dept. called and asked to add that the event is a closed event. But nothing beats the fact that every so often I get calls asking to print some info about an event in a newspaper that has not been put out in years. Once a lady called me, wanting to publish something in our sports section. I asked her when last she had seen our paper. She said “Yesterday.” The only problem was the paper hadn’t been published for six months then, and when it had been, it had never had a sports section.
Journalist D: It is very unprofessional, yet common, to call and ask, “Has anything been printed yet?” If you really need to know, buy the paper and check. It’s the same story with calls wanting to know if we got the press release.
7. Anything positive to add?
Journalist C: One positive thing is that I get more and more information from online press bureaus. I just get the title, the lead and a link where I can find the whole text with pictures and graphics. It’s really helpful, especially that such emails are not large and I can also go back to them.
Journalist B: There are tour guides in Warsaw that give such great previews of their city walks on their blogs or social media, packed with interesting facts and tidbits of information, that making a story out of it is a breeze. Some PR pros have taken their cue and now successfully imitate this style in their press releases.
Journalist D: Calling may not always be bad. Sometimes we get a poorly written press release, but later the PR dept. or an agency calls and clarifies or fills in on some info that for some reason was omitted. And it turns out that that’s exactly what we’ve been missing for the article.
Journalist B: Yes, but before you call you must know what you want to talk about. Most calls I receive start with: “Hello, we sent you a press release about the premiere of XYZ. I just wanted to know if you got it. Is there a chance it’ll get published? Did you find it interesting?” It always starts like this.
Event press release template
If you’re short on time, we’ve prepared a sample press release template for announcing an event that you can download in doc or pdf format. However, for the best results, we recommending reading this whole guide.
Event press release examples
We’ve included a couple of various press release examples for events below, ranging from music festivals to networking events.
Each press release was created with Prowly’s Press Release Creator – a handy drag & drop tool for creating visual press releases that you can share with a simple link.
- Multiple networking events press release example
- Music festival event press release example
- Non-profit event press release example
Networking event press release example
Music festival event press release example
Non-profit event press release example
Summing up – how to write a press release for an event
The first thought that comes to mind after reading this is that a big part of creating effective press releases is the ability to think critically about your every project. The other, showing any signs of automating your tasks in contacts with the press is a sure recipe for disaster. But to truly sum up this article, I would like to share a piece of advice given to me by my first PR boss when I was starting out – “The key to success is to know and like the media. Getting to know the way they work, their office realities, and listening to their anecdotes about their experiences with PR pros.” Just like the ones shared above. Today, I can honestly say that following this advice has brought much better results than learning from my own mistakes.