It is super easy, I promise!
Press releases serve two purpose: to inspire reporters to call you up to get more information and to serve AS the article.
Begin the press release with a contact person and include all contact information, including email address, phone numbers, and contact hours (if it doesn't matter, then don't include contact hours at all). If there's a website with pertinent information, include that as well.
For the press release, all you need are two or three complete paragraphs and a quote. Quote yourself if you want! It shouldn't take more than an hour, even if you're an absolute perfectionist. Oftentimes reporters will use your press release and add on their information gathered from calling you. This is great because YOU can decide how your article is written!
Some quick tips:
* Don't underestimate how busy reporters can be! Don't miss the phone call from the reporter, because you may not get them again!
* Email to EVERY media source: TV, radio, newspaper, magazine, etc. Every little bit makes a huge difference!
* Email to EVERY pertinent editor at each source! Since you're writing for an art show, shoot for the sections that include Community/Regional News, Entertainment, Business (if you're selling), and the General Editor.
* Follow up! Sometimes reporters skim over emails. Feel free to call them and chat them up about your story! If they are too busy, ask them when you can call back or ask if they will recommend you to a different reporter who might not be. Reporters are used to this and won't bat an eyelash at it.
* Call newsdesks every day about getting on the nightly news for the couple of weeks leading up to your show. Some nights they might have a slow night and would be grateful to cover an art show! If they've been keeping up with their email, it will take two seconds to know whether or not it's a slow night.
* Send SEVERAL press releases if you can help it. If you can send one out a couple months ahead of time, you're more likely to get featured in TV segments and newspaper articles that are focusing on your career and your work. Send one two weeks before so they can schedule you for a solid spot. Send one three days before so they can pick you up when they're scurrying for something last-minute!
It sounds really complicated and time-consuming, but it isn't. Feel free to post your press release here (or email it to me) and we can all give you whatever reassurance you may need.