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Press Release Guidelines

September 15, 2011

Writing a press release is neither an art or a science, for the most part it is a fairly simple process with some basic rules. Until a band or artist can afford their own publicist it is likely that they will be writing these themselves. While a DIY ethic is commendable without at least a basic grasp of the key elements, style and necessary parts of a press release the end result is often well below industry standards.

The most frequently accepted rule that is often broken appears to be that a press release should never be written in first person. A press release is a professional announcement meant for business and press, much a resume everything done should be written in the third person, with the exception of a quote. This is not a message directly to fans and should have things like “hello everyone, we, everyone in the band, just a quick update”.

A press release should also generally consist of at least 3-4 paragraphs. The first paragraph as an introductory one, the second and third giving more detailed information as well as a quote and the final a recap with contact information or a link to where further information can be found.

A press release should also always start with either “For immediate release” and end on either “-30-” or “###”. Often press and websites that will repost simply copy exactly what is written so anything personal or that is not intended for general public availability should either be after the “-30-/###” or sent along separately. Grammar and information mistakes are also a key problem, use a spell checker and have a band mate or friend double check all the details. Sending out a press release telling people that a show starts at 9 when it in fact begins at 8 costs money and is easily avoided with a second proofing from someone else.

There is much more to a press release and a quick online search or good reference book will list many more of the key rules but these are the major ones to keep in mind. Only constant writing and practice of creating press releases will make this seem easy, but a solid grasp of the fundamental rules will make your press releases seem much more appealing to press and industry professionals.

-Hassan

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