A good press release can get you coverage on your movie, TV show, or web series far and wide.
Ever want to tell all your family, friends, and distant relations to watch, read, or share something you've made or news stories you are about? It can feel impossible to email and text everyone you know and look for connections that can help take this event far and wide.
It kind of sucks to toot your own horn, but in this industry, you have to if you want a return on your investment. You need a news release.
When you have a new project coming out, it is imperative to get as many eyes on it as possible. As filmmakers, we strive to reach the widest audience possible, and that's where the press release comes in.
But what is a press release? And how can you write a good one? (Maybe use some ethos, pathos, and logos if need be.)
Today, we're going to look at some great examples of press releases, build a free press release template for you, and go over just what should be in the document you send to newspapers and websites, hoping they'll cover your work.
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How to Write a Press Release for Your Film, TV Show, Web Series, etc.
Learning to write a press release is one of the most important skills out there. For one, if you are looking for an entry-level job in film and TV, having press release skills can help your resume get noticed.
News outlets want effective press releases to help fill in stories of the day for their target audience.
Another reason is that many freelance or independent filmmakers have lovely ideas but are not great at selling them to a new audience.
Getting these skills down will help take your project and carry your voice further.
For the uninitiated, let's dig into a definition of event press releases.
Press Release Definition
A press release is an authorized report delivered to the media whose purpose is to provide news, give a statement, or make an announcement for an event or premiere.
They are a primary source of information for reporters to base a story or broadcast on. Releases include important facts, dates, products or services, and messaging.
The Benefits of a Press Release
Going off what we stated above, a press release serves as an information dump for the media. It tells them why what you're doing is important and why they should tell other people about it.
A great press release should not only get people to report on things, but it should also get the public's interest in the event.
Aside from that, it is also a cost-effective way to spread your message. You can attach it to an email and send it to every major newspaper and website fairly easily.
So why are you going to send out press releases?
Types of Press Releases
There are lots of reasons you would issue a wide release. Here are just a few I think are worth mentioning individually.
This is the most popular reason people send press releases. Breaking news can be anything from a movie release to a casting notice or another sort of funding. In fact, every other category in this section could be considered breaking news.
But if you're the one breaking it, make sure your headline has a sense of urgency and directness.
If you have a product you're launching like screenwriting software or a camera dolly, you may want to tell the world about it.
In these kinds of releases, lead with why your product is important and how it can change the marketplace.
Mergers or Acquisitions
We've seen many companies like CAA/ICM and even places like Fox/Disney merge or acquire one another. When you want to control the narrative around the story and give a new point of view, a press release is crucial to making sure people are talking about the points you want them to focus on.
When awards season rolls around, you'll see news releases by the dozens. Everyone wants their clients to shine, and when awards come around, they also want everyone to be aware of who won them, even when shows are airing.
Plus, maybe you have a product that's won an award and want to share that too.
There are many times a company wants to change the way it's viewed by the public. Under that umbrella, they will draft a press release that enlightens people about what they do now and how their new brand will flourish.
How to Write a Good Press Release
The best press releases summarize why the information provided is newsworthy and provide urgency in the need to publish. Whether that's a date where something expires, a premiere, or a passing event, they challenge the reporter to stop what they're doing and write about this thing.
But what are some other key items to include in your release?
Key Items a Good Press Release Includes:
- A short, bold title that emphasizes why we should care.
- A subheading that summarizes the news that will follow. (usually italicized)
- The location where the news comes from (what part of the country)
- Two to three paragraphs of important details
- A list of bulleted facts or statistics useful to the article.
- Several "pull quotes" to be used in the article.
- Contact details (phone number, email address) if the reporter wants to follow-up
Free Press Release Format Template
Want to write your own press release? Well, if you copy and paste what we have below, this template should help you on your journey.
PRESS RELEASE TEMPLATE:
- SHORT, BOLD PRESS RELEASE HEADLINE
- Subtitle which summarizes the news and its importance
- [CITY, Month, Day, Year] — opening line that tells the reporter why this is newsworthy and who is bringing the story to them.
- Important detail paragraphs that tell us the information we might want to hear.
- Bulleted facts or stats, which can be used for the report.
- Quotes that help emphasize what makes this special.
- End with another brief summary and your contact info if they want to learn more (this is called the boilerplate).
- End the press release with "###" centered so the reader knows the release is concluded.
Summing Up "How to Write a Press Release"
Now that you have the tools to write a press release yourself, go out and apply them. Write the release that gets national coverage and tells people about your project and the creators involved.
Workshop your headlines and always try to find an angle that feels newsworthy and important to cover.
Use the template and bend it to your own.
If you have suggestions, put them in the comments. Let's all work together to build the best press releases possible.