There are many ways to do this, but one of the best is by getting published in a local newspaper or other form of print media. The beauty of having your story told in a newspaper is that, not only do you reach a wide audience, but editorial content is considered far more believable and powerful than any paid advertising. And, as a bonus, it’s free!
To get your article published you need to provide them with a press release. A paper will be interested if you have a newsworthy story which will make an impression on its readers? So, write a fabulous press release and let them know…
Doing the groundwork
Before you start to write your press release you need to gather information.
Find the right contact. Find out the email address of the best contact person to send your press release to. You can often find this on a website or in the publication itself. If you are still unsure, then email your release to the editor and a few other key personnel.
Submission deadline. Find out the submission deadlines for your chosen publications. Magazines typically have very long lead times, often months, before they go to press. Newspapers work on very tight deadlines and ultra fast turnarounds.
Increase your chances of success. It’s far better to email your press release to a newspaper a few weeks before your exhibition, than a few days before. You will have more chances of being published in one of the many editions before your exhibition date. Leaving it to the last minute will provide you with only one opportunity to possibly get printed.
Be prepared. There are other advantages to not leaving it to the last minute to send off your press release. By giving the journalist plenty of time you will provide them with an opportunity to interview you and to request further information, if they wish to. This may result in a more comprehensive article and possibly a larger spread in the publication. In addition, you give the journalist the chance to choose to run other stories on topics related to the exhibition.
Milk it. With plenty of lead time you can send a series of press releases right up to the opening date of art exhibition. If they all have a slightly different angle, you improve your chances of getting at least one published.
Avoid last minute panic. If you leave it to the last minute, you run the risk of not being considered at all because of time constraints and lack of space.
Supply an image
Include you and something else. Supply an image which includes you along with a representative piece of work which is to be exhibited at the show. Sending a picture of one of your artworks by itself is not really newsworthy and it’s likely your image won’t be included. An article with a picture is far more noticeable to the reader than one without. Make your image appealing. It’s important to supply an image which isn’t ordinary.
In focus. Make sure your image is in focus.
Specifications. Check the specifications required by individual publications and if none are available make your image about 15 – 20cm wide and 300dpi.
Crop it. Crop it how you would like it to be seen because it may be printed exactly as you supply it, with strange unnecessary material in the background.
Lighten. If you know how, adjust the image so that it is not too dark and the colours are not dull. Images in newspapers tend to print much darker.
Save and name. Save it with a filename which makes sense and will be easy for the journalist to find. Such as your name and a shortened version of the event title. If you choose to send more than one image, number them.
Information. Provide details of who is in the photograph and any further relevant information. Make sure names are spelt correctly.
Now you’re ready to write the press release
The first thing to consider is the news angle. Try to find an angle which is newsworthy. Think laterally. An art exhibition is not necessarily all about art. Below is a range of commonly used angles which are worth considering. Pick one which is likely to generate the greatest interest for your readers.
10 Useful Angles
1 New. For example, is this your first exhibition? Is this a new direction for you?
2 Human Interest. If you affiliate your exhibition with say, a charity, then you could include this as your human interest angle.
3 Local Angle. Will your story affect the local community?
4 Consequence. This builds on an existing news event.
5 Prominence. Try to get a celebrity to provide you with a quote.
6 Innovation. Offer something that is original.
7 Unusual. Is your story out of the ordinary? Perhaps find an alternative way to report the information.
8 Disaster. Can you tie your story in with a negative event? Talk about, what, how and discuss resolutions.
9 Seasons. Tie in with events such as yearly or seasonal festivals. e.g. a pumpkin festival might be a good way to introduce your vegetable paintings.
10 Piggyback. Plan your exhibition date to coincide with a big local event. Make use of the existing or planned media coverage.
- Write in the 3rd person.
- Double space the text.
- Use generous margins.
- Fit everything on to one page, but if you require two, then number them.
- Use short punchy sentences. No more than 25 words each.
- Place the most important points at the top of the release.
The Actual Press Release…
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(or RELEASE DATE) and include the date dd/mm/yyyy
Title or Headline
- Restrict the headline to 120 characters.
- Use either Initial Capitals or CAPITAL LETTERS – there are two schools of thought on this.
- Create a title which will grab the attention of the newspaper editors.
- Use keywords. Some newspapers use programs to sift through press releases and you will have more chance of getting past if your keywords are on topic.
Paragraph 1 – Summary
- Include all of the vital information in Paragraph 1. Ensure that the story will make sense if this ends up being the only paragraph to be published?
- Write succinctly and clearly.
- Describe the essence of your story in 50 words, two sentences or less.
Paragraph 2 – Introduction
Expand on the material provided in the 1st paragraph with the use of who, what, when, where, why and how, providing details.
Who. Who is the event about? Who does it affect or benefit?
What. What the event is.
When. Include a date and a time (if relevant).
Where. Name of venue and location, be specific (don’t assume everyone knows where it is)
Why. Why is it important.
How. How did it arise.
Paragraph 3 – Details or Body
- This segment should be at least two paragraphs, with approximately 5 to 10 lines of text.
- Expand on the topics raised in the Introduction section.
- Include the most important information in the top paragraphs.
Paragraph 4 – Include a quote
Quote yourself, and also obtain a third party quote from someone of merit too. Human interest quotes present a heartfelt touch.
This includes information such as websites, other artworks, exhibitions and future events of interest.
End the press release with three centred hash symbols ###.
After this write…
For further information, please contact and include the following information:
- Name of the individual
- Mobile phone number
- Email address
- Postal mailing address
- Your website
- Additional information can be provided if requested.
List any additional information under the heading Notes to Editors such as:
- Artist biography
- Further photographs are available
Number these points to make everything clear
Check your grammar and spelling and make sure it is perfect.
Tip – You can also produce different versions of your release for the distinct audiences you are targeting.
That’s it! You’re done.
Never forget that if you don’t hit a newspaper reader between the eyes with your first sentence, there is no need of writing a second one.