How to Write a Press Release

Each writer gets their own rock, because that’s all the ego a single asteroid can accommodate.
Each writer gets their own rock, because that’s all the ego a single asteroid can accommodate.

We get calls from people all the time wanting to know how to flag the attention of one of our hungover ADD nebula-head writers. Though serenading us from the alley behind our offices with a one-man band rig while wearing accessories from your new clothing line and a big sign that says, “Hey, spaceface! Story HERE” is definitely one good option, there are others. Say, a phone call. An e-mail. Or I don’t know, a press release.

As a person with her head in the asteroid belt, I can personally attest to the effectiveness of a good press release. Wikihow put out this really handy how-to on the subject.

I mostly agree with it, but here’s my condensed Do’s and Don’t’s anyway:

DO come up with a snappy headline. Whatever is unique or quirky about your event is probably the hook.

DO print the date of the event in big bold font.

DO print the contact info somewhere obvious.

DO make sure you actually answer the phone number you’ve used in your contact info.

DO get creative if you can involve all of these elements clearly. I like odd press releases. Others may not. But the Alibi’s always up for something unusual.

DO look on our web site for e-mails and phone numbers of staff members before calling to ask for e-mails and phone numbers of staff members.

DO send your release to the appropriate section (i.e. News, Arts, Film, Music, Food).

DO spell check.

DON’T send eleventy billion copies.

DON’T follow me to my car waving your press release and calling me an asshole.

DON’T send your release the day of the event, especially to a weekly. Two to three weeks beforehand is probably good.

DO keep trying if you’ve got a series of events and the first one doesn’t capture the attention of the writer, who was quite possibly having a particularly fierce bout of self-loathing/importance when you sent your first release.

DO imagine writers as surly children, who need things to be fairly interesting and simultaneously simple, but who don’t want to feel like you’re babying them. Just kidding. Kinda.

DO know that sometimes your event is just not very interesting.