A few of you have asked for some guidance on "Press Releases" arising from my recent mails - and specifically with respect to Contests. Very briefly here are some tips which may be useful to you in putting one together and getting it published.
1) Identify the target audience.
In this instance - potential Members, through Regional, Local and Parish publication. As such these Publications serve their communities and are looking to report on the happenings within those communities -and quite often they are just looking for something to fill space.
2) If you are looking for PR before a Competition......
You want to attract people to the Competion. The emphasis should be on the entertainment value of the night ie They may not necessarily come to join but will hopefully enjoy the meeting enough to come back so in a sense it's a different "sales pitch" to what you might use to simply publicise Toastmasters benefits.
3) If you are looking for PR after a Competition......
Here you are reporting on the event after it happened. A human interest story is always good. So "Local Woman excels in Speech Contest" or something such like may be a good theme. Perhaps a report on the Winner (with their permission) and what TM means to them. If you wish you could accompany it with it a good (high resolution) digital photo fo the winner being presented with his/her trophy.
4) What should it contain ?......
A suggestion would be - the opening attention grabber - ie "Entertainment" or "Human Interest" followed by a general piece on the benefits of Toastmasters and finally a mention of your Club, where it meets, GUESTS ALWAYS WELCOME, and most importantly a contact Tel No.
Ideally three to four paragraphs. That way the reporter/editor can and most likely will chop it about a little if they need to. Dont be offended by this!
It's also a good idea to give both the D71 Website Address, the TI Website address and e:mail and phone detail of your own to accompany the piece so the publication can get back to you or do a little more research themselves should they choose to. Note this doesnt necessarily need to be in the actual article.
5) How do I get it published ?
It'd be great if you know someone in the local Paper ! If you dont then dont despair there are other ways of getting it in.
Parish Newsletter's can be surprisingly effective and should be an easy target. Most will have contact details on them somewhere for inclusions of Parish Notices.
These days Regional and Local Papers usually have an e:mail address on them soemwhere for submission of material. If not try searching for their website and see if there are contact details there. Usually they are happy to accept unsolicited articles for inclusion in future editions.
National Publications and Magazines require a level of professionalism which make it much more difficult to get coverage and at District level we are trying to get a couple of articles published this year.
This can be well worth the effort but dont be disappointed if it's not published straight away. Some publications will hold it for a few weeks until they have a suitable slot.
Finally remember that many publications have "What's on" slot - true it'll be just a "Toastmaster's Meets every Tuesday etc" but it too is part of your PR armoury !!
These are just my thoughts and experiences of getting a number of small articles published at a local level. I hope they are of some use to you. There are others in the District who have PR experience at a professional level and can certainly add more to the above.......