Local press love local stories, like a school, business or charity running a firewalk and raising money. And it’s an easy opportunity for you to raise more awareness AND money for your cause.
What is a Press Release?
To get the most from this, you will need a simple press release. A one page document that covers the what, where, when, who, why etc. It’s usually accompanied by a handful of photos too.
The good news is it’s a highly structured document and pretty easy to do.
It will be used by editors at local newspapers, and often directly lifted to put on their website, or even the newspaper. Other traditional media like local TV or Radio may also use this one pager as a starting point for an interview or even a firewalk visit.
Who needs to write it? If you are reading this, probably that means you. Again, don’t worry, it’s pretty simple.
OK, so by means of example, you can read an article about a Firewalk Experience we ran for a local school – it’s on the Stroud News and Journal website HERE…
Now, below is the text that was, as I recall, rather hurriedly written and sent to them. You can see they copied and pasted the whole press release. They just added their own title and sub header and sub heading.
Why do they like this? They get an article they didn’t have to write, and we got coverage on the local website. Everyone benefits.
OK Here is what was sent to them…
Teachers, Parents and Governors Raise Over Five Thousand Pounds By Walking on Fire for Local School
The 38 pupils gratefully accepted the cheque for £5,721.85 after their parents, teachers and governors walked over fifteen feet of 1,600 degree hot coals during a firewalk at the end of last year. The crowdfund closed recently and the money is being put to good use to upgrade the learning resources inside and outside the classroom.
In an unconventional move by head teacher Mrs Lucie Mitchell, she brought the school and local community together to experience a full day of training that culminated in the firewalk. Twenty eight people walked, some more than once, and all of them committed to raising money via the crowdfund.
Lucie commented… ‘When I discovered that the parents of one of our pupils ran firewalk events, I knew it would make an exciting and unusual way to raise money for the school and I had to make it happen.’
Chris Jones, father of Jack from the school, adds ‘As soon as Lucy asked if we could do it, we were all in. I knew it would create an unforgettable experience as well as raise much needed funds for the school. Firewalking is an ancient tradition, but no matter how much you think you know about it, the moment you step up to those hot coals barefoot, and you feel the intensity of the heat, it takes everything you have to take that first step. That’s why we train in advance. And that’s why, as a metaphor, the firewalk is so powerful. If you can take that first step into the unknown and face up to fear, what else can you do in your life also?’
The event, held at Miserden Village Hall, attracted a large and excited crowd who cheered on each of the walkers, many of whom clearly faced up to their own fears before they walked.
‘To see the parents, teachers and governors, as well as our local community, all come together to walk fire, and have the children witness this commitment, was very powerful and uplifting, the energy was electrifying’ adds head teacher Mrs Lucie Mitchell.
In all £5,721.85 was raised from 286 people.
• There is a video here that can be used… https://vimeo.com/362369006
• Photos here that can be used…(Dropbox link was here)
• And the cheque photo is attached.
One page, no more. Simple. Clear. One story. With quotes. Photos and links. Some drama. Clear information.
A Simple Press Release, Step By Step…
- Headline… A short and punchy oneliner about what it is, including the outcome (the success story).
- First Para… The guts of the story, with the outcome. Also the ‘who’, the ‘where’, the ‘when’.
- Second Para… Meet the people in the story and expand on the ‘why’ it’s happening.
- Third and Fourth Para… Quotes from key people. You don’t need
to get them to write these, more on that below. You can have more
para’s and quotes but ensure they are not repeating, but are deepening
- Final Para… Recap on the outcome and success.
Lastly add any relevant links. For instance…
- Dropbox for hi-res images.
- An embeddable video.
- The website of the organisation.
And add your name, email and phone number. And of course social media links and any hashtags you are using.
OK so back to quotes from people in the press release. I would always write them myself so the story has a single author.
By all means you should pass the copy past the person who you have written quotes for, and most likely they will be delighted. If you ask them to do it they may well take ages, or worse, they send back the wrong kind of quotes and you end up going back and forth. Momentum will be lost. And momentum is key with this kind of event, led by and a single reliable person in charge. Yes that may be you.
Bottom line, you need to control the narrative so it remains simple, clear and gets done in a timely manner.
Get it written, checked and then save it as a word doc, NOT A PDF.
Then start submitting it to the Newsdesk at all the local news outlets.
Well done! And let’s be clear, this is not about great journalism, so don’t get hung up on it. Just get it done. Get it sent. And ask to be notified if it is used.
More Useful Articles To Help You Get Press and PR
The Firewalk Experience