The purpose of a press release is to interest the news media in covering a client's business or event. It is a key component for any publicity campaign since news coverage is free publicity. Over the past 25 years, I have written many press releases for business, churches, ministries, political candidates, and community events. I have also been both reporter and news editor for newspapers, so I know what editors look for in press releases.
Below is a press release I sent to a newspaper in El Paso, Texas last fall for my client illusionist Bruce Chadwick. It resulted in an interview and feature story in the newspaper. This release is a little longer than what I usually write for press releases, but Chadwick is a client with a unique ministry, so the release needed to be thorough. Most editors prefer short to the point releases with just enough information to let them know if there is a story worth assigning to a reporter. Many times they will not even look at releases that are more than one page. However, some newspapers do print the press releases without further follow-up, so I always try to include all key information and a couple quotes.
Sample press release from Dedicated Publication Services
Tammy Hensel, publicist (phone)
Bruce Chadwick's Illusion Ministry
Magic by Bruce Chadwick
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Illusionist Takes Sleight-Of-Hand Into Churches
The glass is suspended in mid-air . . . a lady is made to disappear and reappear . . . he performs feats that seem to defy the laws of physics. People are intrigued and mystified. "How does he do that?" they wonder.
People of all ages love illusion and Christian Illusionist Bruce Chadwick is an expert at weaving the fun, mystery, and excitement of illusion effects with hilarious comedy, whimsical volunteer situations, and a clear-cut presentation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Chadwick will be performing his "Theatre of Illusion" October 31 beginning at 7:45 p. m. at Word of Life, 11675 Pratt Ave. There will be a Hallelujah Party for kids before the show at 6:30. Both events are free and open to the public.
Chadwick's "Theatre of the Illusion" is a full-scale theatrical production filled with incredible stage illusions. This spectacular program features a lively combination of fast-paced legerdemain, comedy talk routines, volunteer participation, and elegant illusion effects!
"Illusions generate within people a sense of mystery, excitement, and anticipation," Chadwick explained. "I have been an intense student of the art of illusion since I was a child. Most of my training has come from reading books, challenging myself to think and create, innovate, design, and build most of the illusion apparatus we use in our programs."
Other programs offered by Chadwick's Illusion Ministry are his one-man comedy show and his Illusion Ministry Sunday Outreach. The Sunday outreach provides three events in one day including Chadwick's lecture "Christianity and the New Age Movement," which presents powerful information on the differences between illusions, mentalism and so-called psychic phenomenon. That is followed by his sermon "The Illusions of Life" during the church worship service. The third event is an evening presentation of Chadwick's one-man comedy show.
Chadwick is owner of the Illusion Warehouse magic shop, which along with his family -friendly performing company Magic by Bruce Chadwick, is located in Fort Worth. He has performed illusions and sleight-of-hand worldwide for more than thirty years at such venues as conventions, trade shows, fundraisers, galas and other special events.
Chadwick is known among his peers not just as a master illusionist, but also as a master craftsman of illusion. He does a substantial amount of work in the area of special effects and has designed and fabricated illusions for the television and movie industries, theme parks, the Broadway stage, and for many magicians worldwide. He has published several works on the psychology of illusion and is highly regarded among his peers as a creative consultant and expert in the field of illusion mechanics.
Chadwick's formal education includes a Bachelor of Arts in religion and a Master of Arts in theatre arts from Baylor University in Waco, as well as a Master of Divinity from Southwestern Theological Seminary in Fort Worth.
"I am one of the most educated illusionists around," Chadwick quipped. "As my relatives say, all that schooling and you make a living doing sleight-of-hand? Kidding aside, the call to integrate illusions and ministry came early in my life and has never wavered."
In Fort Worth the Bruce Chadwick Society of American Magicians (S.A.M.) Assembly 138 is named to honor Chadwick and he has been recognized by the national organization with a Presidential Citation for his service. Along with the S.A.M., Chadwick is active in the Fellowship of Christian Magicians and the Texas Association Of Magicians. He is also a member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians and England's prestigious The Magic Circle.
He has performed illusions and sleight-of-hand worldwide for almost thirty years and is listed in "WHO'S WHO IN MAGIC."
For more information about Bruce Chadwick and his programs go to these websites: http://www.illusionministry.com/. http://www.magicbybrucechadwick and http://www.illusionwarehouse.com.
For more information about the October 31 performance www.tbm.org/upcoming_events.htm or call (915) 855-9655.
Photo caption: Christian Illusionist Bruce Chadwick
ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS FOR A GOOD PRESS RELEASE
The most important element in a good press release is the lead paragraph. In any article you want to grab the readers attention right away, but this is especially true with busy editors who receive hundreds of press releases. Who, what when, why, and how should be touched on in the first three paragraphs. Everything after that is just extra information.
Complete contact information is also key. The name and contact information of the person sending the release should appear in the upper left hand corner so that it is the first thing the editor sees. Under that should be a subject line and a listing of any attachments or additional enclosures, such as photos. The release date or the words "FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE" should divide the contact info from the body of the release.
Quotes pep up any article, so include one to three, but don't overdo it if you are hoping for an interview. If your release does extend to more than one page put -more- or -15- at the end of the page. Put a subject line and "page 2" or "add 1" in the top left hand corner of the next page. Follow this format for each subsequent page. At the end of the article use the -end- or -30-. These are newspaper codes for helping the editor keep the pages in order and know where the article ends. Photo captions may be added after the end note.
Write a short cover letter if mailing the release by post or a brief note to the editor if emailing it. When sending it electronically, put it in the body of the email, not as an attachment.
Feel free to leave questions you may have about writing press releases in a comment. And if you need a press release for your business, organization or event please contact me at the email address given under my bio portion of this blog site.