How to Write a Press Release for an Event that Attracts Attendance

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Knowing how to write a press release for an event provides you with a powerful tool for cost-effective publicity. But to use a press release effectively to generate registrations, you need to follow certain best practices, ideally combined with the right event ticketing technology. To maximize your registrations, follow these five key steps:

  1. Identify where to send your press release
  2. Study your publicity outlet’s guidelines
  3. Format your press release correctly
  4. Make your press release persuasive
  5. Optimize your press release results

Here’s what you need to know to put these steps into practice.

Why Press Releases Should Be Part of Your Event Marketing Strategy

If you’re promoting an event, press releases offer many advantages:

  • Some press release websites are free, as are press releases for many print publications and media outlets
  • Press releases distributed through venues such as Google News can widely increase your promotional outreach
  • Posting an online press release can boost your event and brand’s visibility in search engines
  • Online press releases can build backlinks for your website
  • Press releases can help publicize your event through media outlets
  • Press releases can help you build relationships with website managers, magazine publishers and media reporters
  • A press release can be distributed to multiple outlets to multiply your publicity
  • Press releases can help you reach targeted niches

All these benefits and others make press releases a powerful tool to add to your event marketing arsenal.

How to Write a Press Release for an Event that Gets Results

The primary purpose of a press release is to increase attendance to your events. Press releases can also be used to improve your search engine results. In order to achieve these goals, you need to know how to write a press release for an event that will be accepted by publicity outlets and will motivate readers to register. Follow these steps to maximize the results from your press releases.

1. Identify Where to Send Your Press Release

Effective use of press releases begins with solid research into the outlets you intend to use for distribution. Before writing your press release, you should first identify where you’re going to send it, since different outlets may have different requirements.

In general, press release outlets fall into five major categories:

  • Your own website, blog and social media profiles, which can be linked to from other outlets
  • Online press release websites such as Online PR Media,  which come in both free and premium varieties
  • Online event promotion websites such as Meetup and services such as Facebook Events
  • Print media outlets, including newspapers and magazines
  • Broadcast media outlets, including TV and radio stations

Some outlets are geared towards general audiences, while others can be used to reach specific niche audiences. For instance, you can use Facebook Event Ads to advertise a Facebook Event to audience segments meeting specific demographic criteria. Many magazines address readers who belong to a specific trade. TV and radio stations publish advertiser rate cards identifying their target audiences. If you’re trying to reach a specific niche market, identify which venues are most appropriate to your target audience.

For some outlets, a specific contact person handles press releases. In this case, make sure you address your press release to the right contact person. Failing to do so may delay or prevent publication of your press release.

2. Study Your Publicity Outlet’s Guidelines

Each type of outlet will provide its own guidelines for submitting press releases. Following these guidelines will greatly increase the chances of your press release being published and distributed successfully.

Directions will vary from one outlet to another. Most venues require press releases to follow some widespread industry practices for style, format, content, and length. If you keep these general guidelines in mind, you should be able to easily adapt your press release to the individual guidelines of specific outlets.

3. Format Your Press Release Correctly

A typical press release follows this general template format:

  • Use a short headline that summarizes the highlights of your event
  • Present the key facts about your event in your first paragraph, such as what your event is about and where and when it will take place
  • Use additional body paragraphs to flesh out important details, covering the most important details first
  • End of the body can include a paragraph giving a brief description of the company sponsoring the event
  • Conclude with a summary recapping the highlights
  • At the bottom, provide instructions for how readers can register or learn additional information, including any links or contact information
  • Keep your press release short, ideally up to three paragraphs and under 500 words

Use this press release template structure to create your own event announcement. You can then adapt it to the requirements of specific outlets.

4. Make Your Press Release Persuasive & Newsworthy

Within this general format, you can follow a number of best practices to make your event sound more inviting to readers of your press release. Here are some tips to make your press release more persuasive and newsworthy. 

How to Make Your Press Release Newsworthy

Outlets that publish press releases generally prefer them to provide newsworthy information to their audiences rather than sounding like ads. Providing newsworthy information will have a greater impact on your target audience. Create a newsworthy angle by developing a compelling slant that appeals to the interests of your audience.

You can use a number of techniques to give a press release a newsworthy angle:

  • Tie your event’s topic into a current news item
  • Tie your event into a holiday or season
  • Offer valuable information that meets the needs of your audience
  • Address a controversial or bizarre issue
  • Announce the debut of a new product, service or technology
  • Showcase an important speaker or celebrity who will be featured at your event
  • Offer attendees to your event a free giveaway
  • Use your event to announce awards or contest winners
  • Tie your event into a charitable cause

Use this list to stimulate your own ideas on how to make your event sound newsworthy.

Create an Attention-grabbing Headline

After you’ve decided on an angle for your press release, you need to work it into an attention-grabbing headline. Headlines for press releases need to be short. Google search results only display up to the first 50 to 60 characters of title tags, so keeping the heart of your headlines at sixty characters or less is advisable. If you use more characters, bear in mind that they may not display to search engine users, although they may be visible in other formats such as Twitter, which currently allows up to 280 characters.

With these space limitations in mind, select a phrase that sums up the most important features of your event. To make your event attractive to your audience, think about what needs they have and what benefits they might get from attending your event. Use vocabulary that draws their attention to these benefits. If possible to do so without sounding artificial, include keywords that will reach your target audience.

Include an Eye-catching Graphic or Video

If your press release format allows you to use an image or video, this can greatly enhance the visual appeal of your announcement. Whenever possible, use a graphic that fits the headline of your release. If you use a video, use a script that follows the general format of your press release, with appropriate adjustments for the medium.

Lead with Your Highlights

Your opening paragraph may be the only paragraph many members of your audience read, and the editor may cut other paragraphs out, so make your opening count. Use it to hit the highlights of your release, such as:

  • What is your event about?
  • Why would your audience get out of attending it?
  • Who is it for?
  • Where will it be held?
  • When will it be held?
  • How much does it cost?

If you need to expand on details, you can do this in your other paragraphs.

Flesh out Your Event Description

After your leading paragraph, you can use the body of your press release to flesh out your description of your event. Use this section to include details about items such as:

  • Activity descriptions
  • Event timetables
  • Featured speakers or performers and their backgrounds
  • Quotes from event organizers or participants
  • Food and beverage provisions

Include any items you feel are important for attendees to know, but keep it short. To decide whether something should be included, ask yourself whether it’s something you would want to know if you were considering attending. You can also use the body of your press release to work in keywords for SEO purposes.

Include a Call to Action

Since the primary purpose of your press release is to generate attendance for an event, you should include a call to action that tells readers what action they should take if they want to attend. Let them know if they should:

  • Visit a website to sign up 
  • Call a phone number
  • Mail in their registration
  • Simply show up

If payment is required, include pricing details and instructions on how to pay.

Identify a Contact Person

People reading your press release may have questions about items not covered in your announcement. The editor of your release may also have questions. For these reasons, be sure to include a contact person for those who need more information.

5. Optimize Your Press Release Results

After you create your press release, its success depends on how well you put it to use. To generate registrations from your press release, here are some important steps to take.

Make It Easy to Register for Your Event

The easier it is for readers of your press release to register for your event, the more sign-ups you’ll get. You can make it easier for attendees to register by using automated event management software tools. For instance, if you want to make it easy for website visitors to register right from your site, you can install event management plug-ins right on your WordPress blog. Advanced event management tools like Event Espresso include features to help you maximize your attendance, such as confirmation fields to avoid email address typos.

Distribute Your Press Release Efficiently

Distributing your press release forms another important component of a successful strategy. While you can customize a single press release template for multiple sites, this can take considerable time if you want to use many outlets. Press release distribution software can help you save time submitting your announcement to multiple sites at once. It can also automate the process of locating which sites to submit your release to. If you do use automated software, you may still wish to craft unique releases for specific outlets, such as local media stations.

When distributing your press releases, you should also strive to make maximum use of your own digital properties. You can post your press releases on your blog and then share them with your email list and social media following. You can also use social media event features to promote your event to your following or expand your outreach with event advertising.

Follow up Your Press Release

To make sure your press release generates results, it’s important to take some follow-up steps. In some cases, there may be a glitch or delay in the submission process. This makes it important to verify that your press release did get submitted and distributed correctly. Some press release distribution software allows you to track this automatically. You can also manually search to see if your press release appears where it should.

It’s also critical to follow up with registrants who sign up for your event after viewing your releases. You can set up your event registration software to send out confirmation emails to registrants. You should also schedule automated event reminders to go out prior to your event in order to maximize attendance.

Start Using the Power of Press Releases to Promote Your Events

Press releases provide you with a powerful, cost-efficient way to promote your events to your target audiences. For best results, use event automation software to increase the efficiency of your press release strategy. The Event Espresso plug-in integrates with your WordPress site to let you manage events, register attendees, and even register multiple attendees as a group. Start a conversation with us today by filling out our online form and letting us know what challenges you are having with attracting attendees and promoting your events.

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