A Press Release (often called a PR in the wider world, which not to be confused with a Progress Report to registered attendees) is a standard communication conveying the information intended to engage news media interest in your event. A press release will generally take the form of a written document. It should be concise, and factual.
As a minimum a press release should state:
- Who the author is, organisation they represent and their relationship to it (publicity secretary, chair, etc.), and the organisation's relationship to the event (promoter, sponsor, etc), and suitable follow-up contact details for interested parties to obtain further information.
- What your event is called, when and where it is to be held, its premise, a synopsis of planned guests and events, and subscription charges.
Care with the content
It is possible that the latter information will be quoted (or quoted from) verbatim, so be sure to get your facts right. However it is also entirely possible that any article derived from it will be entirely newly written, by the journalist, so don't be crushed if you don't see your own words in any resulting publication.
Remember, also, that you are trying to attract favourable media attention. Be careful how you pitch your release, otherwise you may find yourself facing attention you didn't want. The media aren't out to get you - without news to gather they have no product - but unless you are paying for space they will use anything to their best advantage, not yours. If that means raising a laugh at your expense, they will. Fan and costume conventions in particular are at risk from the "sniggers behind the hand" style of article or news segment, and although not at risk from fan publications particular care needs to be exercised in publicising such events in the wider media.
Take care to check your spelling and grammar as best you can, as these will impact on the impression your release leaves. Very often your PR will be your first contact with a news desk, and first impressions count. It will colour their attitude toward you. A well-written, concise, attention-grabbing release is far less likely to end up in the bin. Think of it as a CV for your event.
A standard layout
Incredibly Fakecon Announces New Guests
Convention expects 20,000 new members to sign up based on new guest list
FLATBUSH, Germany, April 31, 2009 - Incredibly Fakecon (IF-CON XXVII) announced today that guests J.R.R. Tolkein (Lord of the Rings video game inspiration), William Shatner (Boston Legal and other stuff) and Chuck Norris (movie star and philanthropist) will be the Guests of Honour at Incredibly Fakecon XXII next April. William Shatner is said to be terrifically honoured and said "I've always wanted to visit Flatbush and meet my fan there".
These three guests join the already announced roster of guests including the Harlem Globetrotters and Cher.
About Incredibly Fakecon:
Incredibly Fakecon is an annual convention, held in the picturesque town of PardonPardon near Bavaria over the UnterGammerau festival the first weekend in July. attracting upwards of four members from across Europe. It has been running since 1927 and won the 1957 Hugo for best overseas convention. Membership rates are 12 euros rising to 2x10^27 euros on the door. www.IncrediblyFakeCon.de
Billy Joe McAllister