Do you want to write a press release for an event?
Great, this article is for you.
But the structure alone will NOT get you the media coverage you want for your event.
How do I know this?
Because I’ve been getting national and international news coverage for clients for 20 years.
Before that, I was a journalist myself so I know what works. This is how to help a reporter out.
Here’s the thing: Event press releases need a strong news angle.
Most press releases about events fail because they simply say ‘an event is happening’.
No offence, but who cares? An event on its own is not news. It’s essential to understand the difference between a news story and feature story examples.
I’m going to show you 12 proven ways to find a strong news article for your press release.
This will guarantee your event is newsworthy so you can get the free PR you’re after in advance of your event.
Getting this media coverage for your event will mean:
- More people attend your event
- You sell more products and services
- You raise more money for your cause
- Exponentially increase your impact
- Your event will deliver on its objectives
- Your next events will build off of the success of this event
Whatever type of coverage you want for your event – from trying to figure out how to get a story on the local news to national press or niche podcasts, blogs, or news sites, there IS a way to make journalists care.
And if you get some media training you can really thrive.
There are 12 proven ways to make YOUR next event attractive to the media and part of an effective PR plan.
If this is one of your public relations jobs let’s make start.
1. Use Powerful Messaging
Give a speech and say something hard hitting at your event – give the media advance warning of what you will be saying in a quality press release.
Most suited for: Major charities, businesses, politicians and campaigning organisations
For example, Public Health England held an event to improve the sexual health of under-25s.
To ensure they got coverage for this important topic they engaged reality TV star Dr Alex George to share a hard-hitting message on safe sex. This would have led their event press release.
2. Get Celebrity or Influencer Endorsement
Invite a high profile, but RELEVANT, celebrity or influencer to your event and lead your press release with the fact that this VIP will be there.
Include quotes from the celebrity explaining why they are there and why they love your business. This is influencer marketing and it is extremely powerful in 2020. You can read more about it in some of the best marketing books.
Most suited for: All sizes of business and charities, but choose wisely, select an individual who fits with the values of your organisation. They must be a natural fit. And be warned, some VIPS will charge A LOT of money to endorse you.
That’s not to say you should outright avoid them, but you do need to do your due diligence when using influencer marketing for your business.
When the new Winter Funland had its launch event in Manchester in the UK they invited local celebrities, including Premier League footballers.
The footballers brought their star status, and their families, which guaranteed great picture opportunities and heaps of media coverage. Without this VIP endorsement it’s unlikely Winter Funland would have got this coverage.
3. Launching a Report or Study
If your business, charity or organisation has a new report or study to launch, turn it into an event.
Then create a press release in advance with the most newsworthy aspect of the report.
This will probably be the most powerful statistic in your report, the problem you are highlighting, a compelling human case study or the strongest recommendation from the report.
Most suited for: Charities and campaigning organisations that want to impact public opinion or behaviour or influence and lobby politicians.
In this example business mentoring network SCORE was holding an event to launch their new Women Entrepreneurship Report.
To get attention for their event they highlighted the report’s most newsworthy finding in their event press release, that women were more likely to launch healthcare or education businesses than men.
This got them the media attention they were after in an important target publication.
4. Hold Your Event in an Unusual Venue
Think hard about WHERE you are holding your event, this can definitely make the media sit up and take notice of your event press release.
Choose a venue that is relevant to your business in a fun way. Don’t go for a dry, corporate meeting room and think the media will flock there. Most likely they won’t.
For example, if you run an organic yoghurt business, launch your new range in the field where the cows graze that produce your milk – great photo opportunities there!
Or if you’re launching a new fitness app host your event in a major sports venue. The more creative you get with your venue choice the more likely you are to get media coverage.
Most suited for: Dynamic businesses with a real niche product looking to carve out a new space in a crowded marketplace.
Samsung hosted a series of events to launch the new S8 phone and its impressive camera feature.
They could have gone for the traditional ‘Steve Jobs’ style launch event in a theatre but instead, they revealed the phone at a series of famous landmarks, including Stonehenge.
This clever stunt meant they could signal that the camera took pictures that were so realistic they looked real. This GIANT phone stunt won huge amounts of media coverage globally.
5. Host a Community Event
If you’re running a local community event, say a village fair, the opening of a local care home, a school fundraiser or the opening of a local park make sure you invite a dignitary along.
This will usually be the town Mayor, Member of Parliament/Congress or a community leader.
Having a dignitary open your event gives it relevance and a photo opportunity. This will mean you are much more likely to get local and regional media coverage.
Lead your press release with the fact the dignitary will be opening your event.
Most suited for: Community organisations, youth groups, small charities, schools and volunteer organizations.
When London’s Angel Canal Festival was planning its 30th anniversary celebration they invited the local Mayor along to open the proceedings. They led their event press release with this crucial fact and it won them the advance media coverage they were after.
6. Think of the Kids in a Press Release for an Event
If children are involved in your event focus on them in your press release –they tend to be more newsworthy than adults.
For example, your event is an open day at a holiday park focus on what the children can do at the top of your press release.
So rather than simply saying ‘we are having an open day at FunTimes Holiday park’ try something like ‘More than 500 children are expected to descend on TOWN next weekend for a free day of play’.
You then explain what the venue is further down the press release. Focus on the BENEFIT of your event, not simply that fact that it is happening.
Most suited for: Businesses that need to appeal to children and young families – from visitor locations to toy brands.
This US ‘Coding Camp’ event gave children the opportunity to get tech-savvy. All ages were attending the event but by focusing on the youngest children in their event press release, and providing an image of a child at the camp, they were able to get this great local media coverage.
7. Amplify Your Story with Awareness Days
Try and hold your event on a national awareness day relevant to your business. By doing this you will amplify the news value of your event. Make sure you include this awareness day at the top of your press release.
For example, if you are holding an event to launch a new electric bicycle then launch it on Cycle to Work Day. The media will love this as it gives them an easy way to cover your story.
For this media coverage, a number of UK electric bike companies issued event press releases on Cycle to Work Day to highlight the events they were holding to mark the day. This made for a great feature in the Metro when they were looking to do an article on the future of electric bikes. Without utilising the awareness day the electric bike companies would have never secured this excellent profile-raising coverage in a huge UK media title.
8. Anniversaries Attract Attention
Just like awareness days holding your event on a newsworthy anniversary will make it of much more interest to the media.
Of course, the anniversary needs to be relevant to your event, but if you can find the right one include it at the top of your press release – it will give a journalist a reason to pay attention and care.
Most suited for: Any business type but you need to make sure there is a direct link to the anniversary. Here is a great list of newsworthy anniversaries.
Co-working office provider GoWork held a launch event for their new ‘Premium Floor’. This on its own may not have secured the media coverage they sought. Instead, they created an event press release saying the new launch marked the first anniversary of the company starting up – a very smart move. This indicates to the journalist that this is a company on a rapid growth trajectory and therefore worth writing about.
9. Connect Your Event to a Wider News Event
Your event on its own might not be newsworthy enough for your target audience but if you think about how it fits into a bigger current news story then you could be on to a winner.
For example, say you have an ice cream business, you’re launching a new flavour and we’re in the middle of a heatwave.
Make sure the press release for your launch event mentions the fact that you are holding the event during the hottest week of the year.
It might not sound important, but for a journalist it is – it gives them a way to write more about a current story they care about.
Most suited for: Businesses and startups whose events may not be of interest to the media on their own. There are some great public relations examples right here.
In this example UK ice cream makers Magnum held an event to talk about their record sales in 2018. By linking it to the heatwave they were guaranteed to get far more media coverage than they would have done.
10. Have a Pop-up Event
What: Don’t just hold an event, hold a pop-up event! Here’s a great guide on how to do it well.
Because pop-up events often have a strong theme, some element of theatre and are short-lived they are much more newsworthy than a more formal event.
Remember, the more creative you get the more likely it is that the media will care about it. Host a pop-up event and make that the focus of your press release.
Most suited for: Creative startup businesses that have a real theme of disruption to their business model – this will lend itself most naturally to a pop-up idea.
This pop-up bookshop hit on a massively newsworthy issue, the lack of diversity in children’s books. By opening the bookshop for just a short period of time the media were bound to be interested and this event press release would have written itself.
11. Have a Genuine FIRST in your Press Release for an Event
News is fundamentally about new things happening. If your event features some element of a ‘first’, say a new product that has never existed before, then make sure you make this the focus of your press release.
Focus on the ‘being first’ element of your story, rather than the fact you are holding an event to announce the launch. This is key to effective public relations no matter what you’re doing.
Most suited for: Tech businesses and disruptor businesses. Any company that can genuinely claim to be doing something for the first time – that’s key to an attention grabbing headline.
This media coverage is proof of the power of being first. The launch event for a bar would normally be of very little interest to the media, but these guys focused their event press release on the fact they were the first in Australia to be entirely gluten free – that meant they were a story.
12. Think in Pictures
When planning your event think about what images you’ll be able to generate from it.
Quality and creative images are absolutely vital if you want to win media coverage, even post-event.
Think about including some sort of installation at your event that the media can have a little fun with so they can walk away with newsworthy images. This will also encourage individuals to share pictures from the event on their own personal social media accounts. Make sure you mention this installation at the top of your event press release.
Most suited for: Businesses with a bit of a budget to be honest. You don’t need to go crazy but a decent interactive installation may cost a few thousand dollars.
This event press coverage featured an installation at a Dublin Gallery that showed how visitors were turned into pixels in real time. A launch event for this would have massively appealed to journalists who could try the technology for themselves. Any press release would feature this fact right at the very top!
Taking Action on Writing a Press Release for An Event
There you have it, 12 ways to ensure your event press release (with a boilerplate) will be of interest to the media.
If you really want to maximize the chances of your event getting media coverage then combine more than one of these ideas for your event.
Perhaps try holding your event on a relevant awareness day, in an unusual occasion and with an influencer in tow!
The more news hooks you can generate for your event press release then the more likely you are to get media coverage, especially if you know how to write a media pitch or if you use a press release distribution service.
And use this guide to know how to find someone’s email so you make sure you get your press release to the right journalist.
Finally, if you want to follow a press release format that is specific to YOUR business grab our Ultimate Press Release Template Kit.
You’ll get 10 real-life press release examples for every business and story type – from tech to fashion and professional services to charity.