If you're looking for a highly strategic way to market your station to a local audience, creating a press release is one of the best things you can do. A press release is an official statement delivered to members of the media for the purpose of providing information, creating an official statement, or making an announcement directed for public release.
In other words, a press release is kind of like a story and advertisement combined into one news article. But how on earth do you craft a press release? What does it need, and how should it be formatted?
Writing a press release for a radio station specifically may feel like a daunting task. Fortunately, Live365 has you covered with some advice on how to craft a solid press release that will make those media moguls say "wow." Here's how to do it!
Know Your Audience
Before you even start writing, you need to know the target audience for your story. Find a creative angle that will interest readers - whether they already know about your station or not.
It's not a bad idea to write different versions of your release for the different audiences you are targeting. For example: if you're planning to submit a press release to your town's local newspaper and a distinguished magazine which specializes in internet radio, you should make your local newspaper press easier for radio newbies to understand. Your magazine press can be more radio-savvy and contain language radio junkies would know.
Also, keep in mind that you’re not only targeting potential readers: you're also targeting journalists. If there's no comprehensive story to submit or if you don’t do your research and target the wrong journalists, writing press releases won’t help at all.
Have an Engaging Title
It's all about the hook. You know when you're looking at a newspaper and you stop to read a story because the title sounded interesting? That's the exact thing you want to create for readers of your press release.
A headline can't be eye-catching if there's no good story behind it, so make sure you have a creative angle to build upon before you work on titling it. Maybe your radio station is celebrating an anniversary or has an exciting event coming up? Even telling local readers your radio station is specific to the area in a headline can help pique interest.
The shorter the headline, the better. Shorter headlines are easier to digest and look appealing to the average reader. Keep things simple, but remember: you only have a second or two to capture the attention of your audience before their eyes shift to another headline on the page. So make it flashy, straightforward, and intriguing!
Introduce Your Story
Start your story off with a "logline" of sorts: briefly summarize what it's about without getting into too many details. Your readers - and the journalist you are submitting to - will know more as they continue on with the story.
In the first couple lines, you will need to answer what's known as the five W's. Those w's are: who, what, when, where, and why. Writing down answers to those five questions before drafting your story is a good idea if you're unsure where to start.
Describe Your Station
Somewhere within your story (and within the five w's), you will need to describe your radio station and what it does. This is where the "advertising" part of a press release comes in, and it's your radio station's time to potentially grab some future listeners.
What kind of music does your station play? Are there any entertaining talk shows, and what are they about? This is where your radio station's mission statement might come in handy. If you're submitting your press release to a local newspaper, you'll want to note the relationship of your station to the area.
Ultimately, you want to convey what unique value your radio station brings to listeners. While you should try to keep your promotion subtle (remember: a press release is about story first), the more specific you can get, the better.
Pepper your press release with quotes to make it feel more official and diverse! Quotes are always welcome because they bring another perspective into your story. They can also feel relatable to readers, so use them as embellishments within your engaging story.
Call to Action
The purpose of your radio station press release is to draw in future listeners. So if interested readers don't know how to find your radio station after reading your full story, well...your press release will be kind of pointless.
If your radio station is on Live365, include the link to your station at the end of the press release! Additionally, if your radio station has any kind of social media, you can include usernames and handles so readers can get connected in more ways. Use commanding statements like "Check out [insert radio station name] at [insert link here]." so your audience will be more inclined to do so.
Make Sure It's Error-Free
Journalists will be wary to take your press release if it's full of spelling and grammatical errors. Double check your copy before emailing it over to the media.
If you're not linguistically inclined, we recommend using tools like Grammarly, ProWritingAid, or even a simple spell check on most writing software to make sure your press release is perfect. If you have to, hiring a professional editor may be a good option as well.
Last but not least, spice up your press release with some cool images related to your station! Not only can a good headline and story attract readers, but so can a visually-pleasing photo. As they say: a picture's worth a thousand words.
We recommend including your station's logo, photos of the people who run your station, or some behind-the-scenes shots of your radio station in action. Including one landscape option is particularly helpful as many publications utilize landscape photos for article images. Attach a good amount of photos to your emails: not too many, but enough to offer publishers variety. They may not use all your pictures, but giving them options will help them make your eventual publication look nice on the page.
After you've crafted your top-notch press release, you'll want to find some local outlet contacts to email your story to. You can usually find these on a publication's website or on sites like LinkedIn.
Once you've found an address you'd like to email your press release to, craft a brief (but informative) message about your story. Introduce yourself, your press, and maybe explain why you decided to send your work to this particular media outlet.
Also, decide what format to send your press release in. Will you be emailing your press in a PDF format, in an interactive way, or through plain text? Asking (or researching) the media outlet you're targeting for their preferred format may be helpful.
Once that's all taken care of, hit send and wait! Follow-up once or twice if you have to, but don't clog up a journalist's email inbox with messages if things aren't progressing as fast as you'd like. It might take some time. And if you don't get any response, find a new local outlet and try again!
That's about it for our press release guide. Happy writing and broadcasting!
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Article Image: A man reads a newspaper on a bench. The paper covers his face. (Roman Kraft via Unsplash.)