Press Releases

Social Networking

In the age of do it yourself marketing and online advertisement, press releases may, at first glance, seem like an outdated mode for spreading the word about your group. We live in an interesting, transitional time, though, when print media is losing its grip, and professional media is, in many senses becoming less formal. Just the same, mainstream media remains a force when it comes to communicating with an older demographic, and still has a longer reach than many of us want to give it credit for.

Press releases remain the way in which standard media expects to hear about major news. Whether it’s your college news service, the local paper or TV news station, or a larger entity, professional news outfits still expect to see press releases regarding news worth covering—in your case, a big show, a fundraising effort, a new recording, a TV appearance, and so on. In a grown up world, there is still a need to play by old-fashioned rules, and a press release is much more likely to get your group a foot in the door than an informal email or phone call.

When crafting a press release, groups need to think about being professional, clear, and concise. Anyone can, in theory, put out a press release, so the first step is to look more professional than Joe off the street. Stick to a basic, professional font, like Times New Roman, and keep the page design formal and simple, as opposed to getting carried away with colorful design and cutesy music note graphics.

To the points of being clear and concise, think about what message you’re trying to get across and boil it down as simply as possible. Newsrooms still get inundated with information, and they don’t want to read more than they have to. State what you have going on, why the media should care, and--when applicable--where, when, and how people can get involved. Clarity will avoid the sort of confusion and snafus that waste time and deter media coverage; concision will, again, help you get a foot in the door.

Press releases may seem old-fashioned but they remain a powerful tool for an a cappella group to network with an outside audience via the media.