Updated Oct 12th, 2023 by Nicolas Zenker
A press release is content that announces something noteworthy or of material significance about a company, brand, or individual.
Writing a compelling press release can help you ensure the success of your event. Journalists who have a big following can help you spread the word to the right people. But you need to get them to cover the event specified in your press release in the first place.
In this article, you’ll learn how to write a press release for events that yields results.
The first step to writing a compelling press release for your event is to set realistic goals. Generally, press releases for events are written to draw public attention to an event and increase event attendance. Journalists act as catalysts and multipliers who push the message to a wider audience.
However, determining the specific objectives you aim to achieve through the event press release is also essential. For instance, your overarching goal can be to increase event attendance. Your specific objective could be to get at least 100 marketing professionals of SMEs in New York to attend the event. Another objective could be to promote your new product.
Once you know your goals and objectives, you can determine that PR message that aligns with them. When developing a message, remember that journalists are guided by “news values” to determine whether or not to cover an event. These news values are:
Aim to develop a clear message that meets at least one of these news values. The more the news values your release meets, the more likely your story will get covered.
So, based on what we know now, what’s a good PR message that aligns with our sample goal and objectives above? For example, you could highlight in your release that your new product is a groundbreaking invention.
It can be hard to come up with a good PR message journalists will cover. This is where PR services can help you. They can help you determine how to package your event so it will get the media coverage you’re looking for.
Once you’ve determined your PR message, make sure you highlight it, too, when pitching your final press release to journalists. So, if you’re sending your release as an email attachment, double down on the same PR message in your email carrying the PR content. This strategy will help ensure the journalist clicks on your attachment. Don’t forget to use a tool to find email addresses to ensure your release reaches your intended recipients.
Your headline is one of the most crucial components of your press release. It’s your first impression, so you have to make it count. The headline will determine whether the journalist will read the rest of your press release.
A great headline should have a maximum character length of 110. It should be attention-grabbing. Use action verbs to make it more engaging. Check out this press release headline example:
You can also briefly state the benefits of attending your event in the headline. Let’s say you’re organizing a marketing event. You can, for instance, say attendees can “learn low-cost ways of landing more sales” in your headline. In the PR headline above, for instance, Pepsi states that it will “pay” people if they attend the Iowa State Fair.
When you include the benefits attendees can get from the event, you help ensure they, and that includes the journalist, read the rest of the press release.
Here are other crucial details you can also include in your title:
Including the location of your event in your headline will capture the attention of readers and journalists from around the area. Adding the event’s theme, like an auction or a giveaway, will pique the interest of readers who enjoy such events.
Adding a subheadline to your press release is optional. However, it gives you some extra space to describe your event in more detail, so it’s best to use it to your advantage. Just make sure it’s directly below your main headline and in a different font so it doesn’t get mistaken for the title.
It’s now time to write the body of your press release. The first paragraph of your press release should also get your readers’ attention. A lead, as it’s called, is typically a summary of all the essential event details the reader needs to know.
Here are a few things to include in your lead.
Here’s an example of a press release lead that incorporates the relevant details of the event.
You might also want to specify in the lead an event characteristic that makes it stand out. For instance, is it the “first-ever” technology summit held by the company? Is it the “longest-running CMO summit” in the industry? These are things journalists also look for when deciding whether or not to cover an event.
Your press release body can be as long as you want (don’t get carried away, though), but it should expound on your lead. Add information that your target audience will find useful about the event.
For instance, include details like the celebrities that have attended your event in the past.
This is also the place to show your brand’s accolades and awards. If you’ve been in business for a long time and have a good track record, include that too. These details boost your company’s authority to hold the event. That might just be what persuades the journalist to cover your event.
Your body should also highlight what people should expect when attending. For instance, you could say they will get to speak with the experts and celebrities in attendance.
A call to action is just as essential when writing press releases as it is when writing marketing content. Your CTA here should make it crystal clear what action you want your reader to take. Most likely, that action is to check out or sign up for the event.
A concise call-to-action like “Book your slot” or “Save your seat” can work wonders.
To make your event news release stand out even more, include a note from your company’s senior executives or the celebrities attending. Journalists love quotes. When they see quotes in your press release, you give them the impression a lot of effort was put into crafting the release in the first place.
When using quotes, just make sure they offer something of value to your readers and support the already-existing content. For instance, don’t include a “Good morning” quote even if it’s from the company’s CEO. The phrase doesn’t really say much about the event. It doesn’t add value to the release.
Now, compare that with this quote included in this sample press release on an upcoming exhibition:
Don’t forget to add quotation marks before and after your quote to distinguish it from the rest of the PR text. Make sure to also add the name of the quote’s author afterward. Get the name spelling right, too. Bear in mind that journalists are busy people. When they get an official press release from a company, they will no longer usually check whether it has the correct name spellings. They’ll assume the company that wrote the release already did its due diligence.
Also, add multimedia to your press release. Press releases with multimedia get more engagement than those with text alone. You can leverage images, videos, or infographics. For instance, why not attach a great photo from your past events?
Similar to an “About” page on your website, a boilerplate is a short paragraph that gives the readers details about the company that will hold the event. It’s about 100 words long and typically contains the following elements:
Here’s an example of a boilerplate:
Don’t forget to include the contact information—name, email address, and telephone number—of the company’s contact person at the end of the release. This is important because journalists may have questions about the upcoming event or about your PR. They need someone they can easily reach when they have queries.
An event media release is an official statement written to media outlets announcing an upcoming event. An effective release ensures you get media coverage for your event, and, ultimately, good attendance.
You’ve learned five steps that will help you write an effective press release for your event.
Develop a clear message and goals and objectives. Create an engaging and informative headline to capture the attention of your readers. Then write a concise body that elaborates on the basic event details. It should include relevant quotes and other information from trusted and reputable sources. Finally, add a boilerplate and your contact information for people to reach you easily.
Follow these tips and you’ll have a press release for your future event that yields excellent results.
By Chris Norton, Founder of award-winning B2B specialist PR agency Prohibition, social media podcaster, former University lecturer, author of “Share This Too” and his social media training blog which is listed in the UK’s top 10 PR and social media strategy blogs. For tons of digital PR tips, you can follow Chris here @chris_norton.