Elgin clock, 2018.
history history relevance practical history pragmatic historian using history

Making Press Releases More Helpful for Media Outlets

Elgin clock, 2018.
Elgin clock, 2018.

A quick post for this week, inspired by Joe Hoover of the Minnesota Historical Society (MNHS) during a break at the 2019 Minnesota State Historic Preservation Conference in St. Cloud. (Yeah, yeah, this is my third post related to the conference, but conferences really suggest a wealth of material for blog posts.)

Joe puts together MNHS’s email newsletter Local History News, which is a compilation of history events, announcements and job postings from history organizations around Minnesota. There’s a lot of news packed into this weekly email in bite-sized pieces. (You can subscribe here: https://www.mnhs.org/preservation/localhistory/enews)

Joe told me that he appreciates getting press releases, however, he rarely ever sees anyone provide a link to the press release on their organization’s website. He would love to have this link so he can easily direct people back to a website for more information.

You do post your press releases to your website, don’t you? Your org’s website should be considered Grand Central Station for your online activity. It’s the one place where you can control what happens in terms of your org’s online presence. Advice I heard regarding websites ages ago was to make that your home base and drive traffic from all social media sites back to the website. Joe may well have been the person who gave me that advice and he lives by it.

Because so much of Local History News is short, featuring just the highlights, I asked Joe whether it might also be helpful to include a brief synopsis of the event in the press release email to him and other media outlets. These brief snippets would cover just the highlights of events, the who, what, when, where, why of what’s going on. Joe thought that was a good idea. It would save him time in compiling Local History News, just as it would save other media outlets time in compiling local events columns.

Tips for Sending Helpful Press Releases to the Media

To sum up, in sending a press release to the media via email, provide the following:

1) The full text of the press release, including a suggested headline (it’ll probably get changed, but you want the recipient to know what the item is about immediately).

2) A link to the press release on your organization’s website. (Hint: Put it on your website before sending your PR to the media.)

3) A synopsis or encapsulation of the event answering the Who, What, When, Where, and Why of what’s happening.

4) Your name and contact info.

5) Attach a photo to illustrate your event or news. Visuals are very important to media outlets and will attract more attention to your press release should a media outlet choose to use it. Make it easy and attractive for a media outlet to share your news.

6) A subject line on the email that starts with “PR:” followed by the headline you have chosen.

One last tip:

When sending your email to multiple media outlets, be kind and plug the email addresses in under “BCC” (short for blind carbon copy) so that all those email addresses don’t show up at the top of the email, where the person on the receiving end has to wade through them.

If you’ve discovered any helpful tips about sending press releases to the media, let me and my readers know in the comments.

2 thoughts on “Making Press Releases More Helpful for Media Outlets”

  1. I’ve been advised by county’s community relations coordinator to send your press release attached in Word (not PDF) in your email as well as in the body of the email for easy copy and pasting.

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