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How-To Guide: Event Press Release

Published on February 5th, 2014

The internet has dramatically increased the opportunities for sailing events to reach sporting enthusiasts. However, the problem for event organizers is either finding the manpower to fulfill this communication role, or in the knowledge of how to execute the job.

While there are professionals fulfilling this role for prominent events, most race organizers cannot afford this additional expense, and are either left to do it themselves, or not at all.

For events taking on the role, Scuttlebutt has compiled two media lists that can be used for the distribution of email press releases. See additional notes below on this topic.

Click here if you would like to be considered for this list.

Click here to reach the following NORTH AMERICAN media sources:

Scuttlebutt Sailing News

The Capital/Annapolis
San Diego Union-Tribune

Chicago Yacht Club
Lake Michigan Sail Racing Federation
Sail Canada

48° North Sailing Magazine (Northwest region)
Great Lakes Boating
Latitude 38 (Western region)
Northern Breezes (Northern Midwest region)
Northwest Yachting Magazine
Points East (Maine)
SAIL Magazine
SAILING Magazine
Sailing World
Southwinds Magazine (SE & Gulf Coast region)
Spinsheet Magazine (Mid Atlantic region)
WindCheck Magazine (Long Island Sound region)

Click here to reach the following INTERNATIONAL media sources:

BYM News
Scuttlebutt Europe
The Daily Sail

World Sailing
Yachting New Zealand

Yachting World
Yachts and Yachting

The scoop on press releases…
The email press release is the proactive means to bring attention to your event. The goal of the email press release is to provide information, and create traffic back to the event website. This heightens your search status, benefits your sponsors, and increases awareness of your event, host, location, etc. All press releases should be hosted at the event site, and be easy to find.

A press release schedule, both by date and time, should be developed.

Before the event: Press releases should be about getting the attention of the media, which in turn is to increase the awareness of the event. You are trying to increase attendance, and get exposure for event sponsors. Try to seek out human interest stories, unique event features… anything that might set your event apart.

During the event: An important part of providing news is that it be prompt. A daily report should be distributed as quickly as possible. You should be able to include a couple images without slowing down the schedule, but don’t delay the press release to include daily video. Either include a link to direct the reader to video content, or provide a separate distribution with the video information. Also, by hosting all the press releases at the event website, it creates a handy archive for print writers to gather facts.

Content: Get the message across quickly, and repeat the basic event information in each one. Don’t assume that everyone has read each release; make it easy for someone to jump in the middle of the event and quickly get up to speed. Here are some more tips:

• Content can be included in the body of an email and/or attached in a Word document. Don’t use PDFs as they hard to copy from. When you make things hard, the media might not bite at all.

• If you include contact phone information, make sure that person is actually available, particularly once the event starts.

• Don’t distribute a race report without results. While it’s fine to include the results in the report, they must also be posted online in their entirety.

• Get the ‘news’ up front: who, where, what, why & how. It’s nice to know it was a beautiful day in Lake Koochiwawa, but don’t make the media dig for the basic facts. “Tell the story in the first paragraph, and then expand on it, so that the editor can cut from the bottom and what is left will still make sense,” counsels John ‘Robo’ Roberson, yachting journalist. “If you haven’t got the reader’s attention in the first paragraph, you won’t get it.”

• When providing a race update, focus on the facts. You are not writing Shakespeare, you don’t work for the Tourism industry, and event marketing belongs elsewhere. Once you trigger the reader’s B.S. alarm, you’ve lost them.

• If you want to take a race report one step further, try to find the interesting story angles that make for compelling reading. Often these can be lined up beforehand and included in each day’s highlight report.

• Include a couple images with the press release, or have a link to where images can be easily accessed online.

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