There are some basic guidelines on how to write a media release that will help you write the perfect release for publication.
Likewise, there are basic tips for ensuring your release reaches the correct person at the appropriate media outlets, thus increasing your chances of getting your announcement published.
Media release basics
Your media release should address the who, what, where, when and why of your event. It should be kept short and kept to one page.
- What is the event?
- Name of your organisation
- a brief description of the event
- Should be your opening paragraph
- Provide your full contact details, including website to enable media research
- Provide more about your organisation – who you are and who you help.
- Where is the event?
- Provide the event’s address and any details regarding parking, public transport, wheelchair access and any public facilities available such as BBQ.
- Day of week
- Date, in full
- Start and finish time
- Why is the event being held?
- If fund raising, what will the funds be used for?
- Make your headline attention grabbing, but not too clever
- Make sure you include contact details for a spokesperson
- List any photos available, or offer a photo opportunity
There are dozens upon dozens of various media release templates available on the internet. I’ll let you do a google search to find a suitable one for your groups needs.
What can Apple User Groups write about???
The most obvious topic for a press release from an Apple User Group is your monthly meetings. Even this basic information can get you media coverage.
You can let people know what the topic is going to be, where the meeting will be held etc etc. Yes this information should already be up on your website, but you want to get new people visiting your website and then your meetings and hopefully signing up as a member.
If you have a special event like some of the iMug events we recently highlighted in our article “Don’t Carry the Burden Alone!” or Nicholas Pyers’ Thirty Apple Years and Twenty Mac Years presentations you should definitely be putting out a media release.
Your groups’ own milestones also make great topics a media release — your 1st, 10th, 15th, 20th anniversary. A volunteer or members’ milestone also works well — has your magazine editor been in the job for 10, 20 or even 30 years???
When Apple, or another company, releases a new product perhaps you could provide an opinion on that product. Perhaps you can see an unique use for that product?
Does, or can, your Apple User Group get involved in a community related project — for example could a group of your members collect older laptops or iPads from your members and refurbish them ready for use by a charity group for disadvantaged students or for use by residents at a retirement home???
This sort of project could also help you piggy back off another well established community groups own press coverage — YOUR media release having a headline of say “AU-MUG and Better Student Foundation donated 100 iPads to Local Primary School” might mean YOUR release is picked up because of the well known reputation of the “Better Student Foundation”
Has one of your members recently done something different with an Apple Product that you could use to capture some media attention???
SAMPLE MEDIA RELEASE
OURTOWN – May 1, 2004
90 year uses iPhone to Create Award Winning Photo Blog
Fred Smith, long time member of AU-MUG, recently took 3 month long around the world cruise to celebrate his 90th birthday and using only his trusty iPhone has created a award winning photo blog”
“Everything I know about using the Photos app on my iPhone I learnt from the AU-MUG Photography Group” said Fred. “A year ago I didn’t even know my iPhone had a camera, let alone how to edit photos and publish them on a website but the friendly group at AU-MUG made it seem so easy.”
Fred received the news that his photoblog, Fred90andstillgoing.com.au, won a number of awards at the recent Photo Exhibition held by the State Government whilst still aboard the Sea Queen. His grand-daughter, Jane, had submitted the site to the Exhibition without him knowing.
Fred will be showcasing his blog and demonstrating the methods he used to create it at the AU-MUG meeting from 9:30am on June 1st, 2016. AU-MUG meets at the Southern Community Centre on Main Rd, Ourtown. Entry is free and tea, coffee and light refreshments can be purchased onsite.
For more information contact AU-MUG on 03 9977 2200 or www.aumug.org.au/nextmeeting/
— end —
AU-MUG Publicity Officer
03 9977 2200
Fred Smith will be available for a photo opportunity between 11:00am-11:30am in the main meeting hall.
Does this give your Apple User Group some ideas on what you could promote via a press release and how to write the actual media release?
10 ways to hook the media
Peter Cocks, the National Communications Manager of Volunteering Australia wrote an article for the 2008 National Volunteer Week called “10 ways to hook the media“. Unfortunately the original article is no longer available from their website, but I had previously obtained the associated PDF and have included that in the previous link.
Although the article is nearly a decade old, ALL the points raised are still just as relevant today, as they were the day they were written. And whilst they focus on getting coverage during Volunteer Week, you can easily adapt them for virtually any other situation an Apple User Group is likely to want to publicise, so I’ve included a copy below.
10 ways to hook the media
Many organisations find it difficult to create media opportunities that result in promoting the organisation in local papers.
No matter what size your organisation is you can create an opportunity for the media to profile your organisation by following these tips.
Often volunteer organisations don’t approach the local media for support and that means they get what they asked for – nothing! You will be surprised how, with a small amount of preparation, you can achieve great results. It is easy!
The main thing you need to do is create the story for the media. We provide 10 different scenarios here that you can use and there will be at least one that can be made to suit your needs.
Ten potential media opportunities
1. Local character
Media love profiling colourful characters – in fact this is often the best chance of having your organisation featured. Choose someone who has an interesting story.
2. Long service recognition
Choose a volunteer who has achieved a landmark length of service, or a group of volunteers and present them with a certificate of appreciation recognising their long service. If you don’t have a certificate there is a downloadable certificate on the NVW web site.
3. Local stats
Media love localised statistics. Can you release stats during NVW? Maybe they could be the number of operations you have attended, how many meals you have prepared and delivered, or how many people you have assisted.
4. Certificate of Appreciation
The certificate is downloadable from the NVW web site. Use it to recognise all your volunteers and have them presented by a local dignitary – that could be an MP or the local Mayor.
5. Recruiting drive
Contact the local paper and ask them to help you recruit new members as part of a NVW promotion and feature story. You can do this one as a stand alone or link it in with another of the Top 10 Tips. For example you can feature a local character but also include the key message that more volunteers are required.
6. Open Day
Is your voluntary headquarters appropriate for running an Open Day? Maybe you can do so during NVW and ask the local media to help you promote the event – show the public what you do or use the open day to demonstrate what you do to prospective volunteers.
7. Training initiative
How much training does your organisation do? Maybe you can present the training certificates during NVW or organise an interesting training scenario for the local media to cover.
Do you do fundraising? NVW is a good time to launch a fundraising appeal or just to put out a call for local support.
9. Donation / sponsorship
Use NVW as a time to recognise a sponsorship or donation from a local company. You can also link this to another Top 10 Tip to maximise the publicity opportunity.
10. New equipment
Have you recently acquired a new piece of equipment that could be a news story? That could be a vehicle or a significant piece of hardware that makes your job easier or helps you do the job better.
How to go about it – 6 easy steps.
- Choose which Top 10 you are going to use as your media hook – you can offer more than one story option to the media if you like.
- Prepare a few notes as background detail – this can just be dot points with the facts about your story. You don’t have to try and write the story but the more information you can give the journalist the more likely you will be to get a great result.
- Contact the local newspaper at least two weeks before NVW (by 26th April is timely). If you don’t know how to contact them find a copy of the paper you are interested in and the contact details are usually inside the front or back page.
- Call and ask for the editor. Ask the editor if they would be interested in featuring your organisation during NVW to help recognise and thank the local volunteers for their efforts over the past year.
- Tell the editor about the story options you have identified. Be ready to send them the dot points you have prepared as background information.
- Talk to the editor about timing and setting up a photo opportunity, and the rest will just happen.
Yes – it sounds simple. It is simple. Most local newspapers will happily run National Volunteer Week stories but you need to be the first in and put your hand up and say – please feature us! You will be surprised at the response you get.
- Refer the local newspaper to the Volunteering Australia website for more general information on National Volunteer Week. www.volunteeringaustralia.org
- Make sure any invitations linked to National Volunteer Week are sent out with plenty of prior notice, especially if you want to secure the services of the Mayor or other dignitary – the more notice you give the better chance you have of a positive result
- If your organisation has a Head Office PR team please let them know what you are doing to make sure you don’t interfere with their plans and that you are working within your organisation’s rules
Good luck – go forth and promote. It is not difficult to be a PR expert.
Prepare a Media Kit for your website
A Media Kit contains useful resources for journalists and media to use like a high resolution image of your logo and a brief blurb about what your group actually does. It is usually found on a dedicated page on your groups’ website.
Corey Ferreira has written an excellent article “How to Create a Press Kit That Gets Publicity for Your Business“.
Other articles we have written here on AppleUsers.org in the past about writing and distributing Press Releases for Apple User Groups can be found here;