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3 Tips to Effective Press Releases

A well-crafted press release can be a great way to get exposure for your church, ministry, or event. Unfortunately, most press releases get pushed to the side, or don’t make enough of an impact for the reader to take action. The problem is not that these press releases were not Pulitzer-quality, but they probably just failed to execute on some basic guidelines to get noticed. Here are three quick tips to help get your press releases noticed and hopefully reported on!
Make sure you have a newsworthy story or event. Reporters, writers, and bloggers are looking for new content, but that doesn’t mean they want to hear about every little thing that is going on at your church. One sure way to get your future requests shoved to the side is to constantly send out information about ordinary, everyday events or happenings in your ministry. Think about the writer’s audience and ask yourself if your event or news story is relevant and compelling to that audience. Know your media outlets so you can determine where your story fits the best and whenever possible, direct your press release to a specific reporter or editor. Build the reputation as the reliable news source by not wasting anyone’s time with fluff.
Write it like a reporter. Don’t misunderstand me, I am not saying that your press releases have to be the same quality as a professional newsperson, but you need to make sure you provide enough of the right information to make it useful for the recipient. The “Five W’s” – who, what, where, when, and why – are always a great place to start. It is always helpful to include real quotes from leaders, volunteers, or participants in your ministry or event that are relevant to the story. Try to avoid church-speak and clichés, make sure your quotes are authentic and genuine. Finally, don’t write a novelette about your event, include enough information to clearly define the story but leave some room for the reporter to do their job too. Also, make sure to include contact information with emails and phone numbers so the reporter can easily get more details about covering your story.
Use it as a sales and marketing tool. Remember, the goal of your press release is to garner the attention of an audience so that they will attend your event or engage with your ministry. Write your press release as if you are talking to that audience, not trying to sell the reporter on covering your story. If your story gets picked up, hopefully the authority of the publication will give your event or ministry credibility with that audience.
Following these simple tips won’t guarantee that all your events will be covered or your stories told, but they will increase the chances that you will at least get noticed by the media. And remember, the most perfectly crafted press releases sometimes get bumped by breaking news. Treat your local media as part of your communication team and build relationships with them. People want to help their friends that they know and trust. Stop the presses…

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