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How to Write a Press Release
So they get read and released
by Demian

© 2016, Demian
The clearer your releases, the less an editor will need to guess at what you may have meant.

Address your release specifically to the editor who is in charge of the entertainment department.

Before you send it, have your released checked by someone who knows how to spell, as well as write, a grammatically correct sentence.
Do not trust a computer program’s grammar and spell check.

Send a letter, fax (if they want that format), or e-mail in Plain Text.
Use imbedded or attached images. Do NOT use formatted HTML. Do NOT place linked images in your e-mails - it is more likely to be tagged at spam.

Critical Data
Press releases should contain the most important information:
  • Who
  • What
  • Why
  • When
  • Where


Sample Release
Text Sample Explanation
Press Release
March 22, 2004 - for May 25th release
Header, release and embargo date
“Michelangelo’s Boy Toy Models”
by Rubert Patrick
What & Who #1
Title of production and author
A romantic comedy set in 1506 Rome. Michelangelo at 33 is the most noted artist in Europe, and must decide what to do with his talent, power, and life. Three older artists (DaVinci, Botticelli, and Bramante), and three beautiful young men (a hustler, a prince, and a peasant) offer possible “models” for Michelangelo’s future life and loves. Pope Julius II, the painter Raphael, and beautiful Simonetta Vespucci (the model for “The Birth of Venus”), become entangled in the romances and ruses of this Renaissance romp. In the end, Michelangelo has one more "trick" up his robe. Why #1
This is your pitch, the play’s content. Titles often reveal little. For instance, one would never know that “Vengeance of the Deviant Hell-Breathing Riders” was a musical comedy.
Briefly mention:
       - genre
       - time period
       - location
       - main characters
       - main dramatic conflict - Do not go into plot-point details.
Cast includes: C. Rice, C. Powell, H. Kissinger, and special guest A. Greenspan. Who #2
Cast List
“Patrick has given us the essence of the Renaissance, both its loftiest aspirations and its basest motives, thus making it human and easily integrated.” - Michael’s Thang, New York Why #2
Reviews, Praise from Others, Awards - These are optional.
Written by The Ultimates
Book by Bernie Busch
Lyrics by M Muffet
Composed by Candor and Ebbes
Directed by J. Ashcroft and Italian Renaissance scholar M. Buonaroti
Produced by D. H. Rumsfeld,
Presented by Theatre for Indifference
Who #3
Top production personnel only.
Play dates: June 4-July 10, 2004
Times: All shows 8pm
Kind Gentle Theater, 1 Bush Blvd., Bagdad, Virginia
Wheelchair accessible
$15; $12 students, seniors, teachers
Contains nudity: adults only
Reservations: 757-xxx-xxxx
When & Where
Important Data:
Date, Time, Place (full address includes street, city and state), Wheelchair Access, Cost, Adult Content Warning, Box Office Contacts.
Photo attached: C. Rice (Simonetta), C. Powell (Botticelli)
Photo by George Eastman
More photos at http://sample.web.site.url.com/photos.html
Who #4
People in photos are always listed left-to-right.
Always credit the Photographer or Poster Maker.
Contact Ms. Publicity Maven at Kinder Gentler Publicists:
206-xxx-xxxx; pub@kind+gentle.com; http://web.site.url.com
Who #5
Contacts for more information.
You know the drill: Always Leave Them Wanting More.


Common Writing Errors
  • Self-generated praises about the author/director/actor/producer is easily seen as amateurish and, hence, to be ignored. Especially if the press release author is the play’s author/director/actor/producer.

  • Keep it Very Brief — One printed page is enough.
    Most events, culture, and news desks get 200+ releases a day. They usually do not have time to read more than the first two paragraphs.

  • Run your spell checker and your grammar checker in your word program, before copying the text to e-mail.
    Do not trust your grammar and spell checkers. Ask a literate friends to read, offer advice. Then correct your release.

  • Send in a Plain Text E-mail. Do not send HTML-formatted E-mails, which can easily be misinterpreted by all the different E-mail readers.

  • Era dates should be “90s” not “90’s” - Dates are not capable of being possessive.

  • Always use lower case for position titles. Should be “André d’Artiste, artistic director” not “André d’Artiste, Artistic Director.”

  • Theater locations should have full addresses, including the city and state.
    Many releases are foolishly sent with only a street address. As releases are sent all over the world — especially by E-mail — it is rude (maybe even dumb) to expect everyone to know where your own personal little theater is located.


How to Capitalize a Title
Nothing should be all caps - especially titles. Some words are more equal than others.
  1. Always capitalize the first and last words.
  2. Capitalize all nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, and subordinate conjunctions (“as,” “because,” “although”).
  3. Lowercase all articles, coordinate conjunctions (“and,” “or,” “nor”), and prepositions, when not the first or last word.
  4. Lowercase “to” in an infinitive.
Examples:
     “Angels in America” || “As Is” || “The Boys in the Band”


Common E-mail Mistakes
Item Problem Solution
HTML formatting Many e-mail readers cannot translate HTML.
Viruses get passed via Web page formatting.
Turn off the HTML.
Send message as PLAIN TEXT.
ALL CAPS Rude.
Irritating. Visually like shouting.
Nothing should be all caps - especially not a play’s title.
Use capitol letters only for:
       - First letter of a sentence
       - Play and book titles
       - Proper names (not staff titles)
Large image file attachments This makes for long upload times.
Huge attachments may be blocked by Internet Service Providers as a virus prevention measure.
Provide typed out Links to your Web site for large image files.
Do not make a image only appear in your e-mail via pulling the image from your Web site. Only embed or attach.
Web address unlinked in e-mail Requires copying or retyping. If you put “http://” before your Web URL, most e-mail readers allow a simple click to launch the browser. Example:
    http://buddybuddy.com/pc.html

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