Press Release Guidance
Press Release Advice
Advice given by various ringers on the ‘Change Ringers’ chatlist:
• Produce a headline, eg. 'Tie up at St Timothy's' (target the audience), then a punchy, short sharp description of what you are up to - not too many words, and make sure they are effective. Absolutely no jargon - or Joe Public will think we are a bunch of anoraks and switch off. Finish with a cheery 'see you there' or something friendly. Include a quote. Don't clutter it - keep it simple and stir the imagination so they want to come and discover more.
• Think what aspects of the event are most likely to interest the readers. Add (brief) background information about anything special. Think whether the event is likely to offer a photo opportunity, and if so mention it. Make yourself available for any follow up questions (phone, mobile, e-mail). Mention the tower website if there is one (with relevant information on it). Also get to know your local paper. See when it comes out, find out when it is 'put to bed' and send your material in a day or two afterwards, when things will be less hectic. Does it have a 'what's on' section? The format is likely to be basic, but it should be easy to get included (if you stick to the format). Find out who the local reporter is, and address material to him/her. If possible make personal contact and try to develop a relationship. Give advance warning if you have something big coming up.
• Think of a triangle ie. Heading: Town Bells Ring Out. Date: on Thursday June 31st the bells will ring/tower will be open. Reason: to celebrate/show people. More information: it's the bells’ anniversary.
• The 'inverted pyramid' is the style used by many newspapers. The basic scheme is to give a catching headline followed by a one sentence summary in the first paragraph. The second paragraph gives a brief account, and the third paragraph on give the details. The idea is that readers can stop when they have read as much detail as they want, but still get the whole story. It makes a paper much more readable.
• Some local papers have freelance local correspondents in villages who can be very keen to have things to write about.
• Always include quotable, attributable elements. Make sure your style fits the media to which it is being sent, so do some research. Provide contact details for arranging interview or photography. Do not use complex grammar. Ensure factual accuracy. Make clear what is for publication, and what is not.
• Why do we want publicity? I assume it's not because we want to see our names and faces in the papers, but because we want to let the wider public now about our activities; to see us in a favourable light so that we will win noise nuisance arguments and attract recruits, funds and other sorts of support for change ringing. Avoid saying things like: Bellringing has being going on for XXX years in this tower and now it's dying out. Fred has been tower captain for XX years. The band is all old people and is looking for some young recruits. Likewise, most ringing photos appearing in the press make us look profoundly unattractive and weird, and OLD!