This Article Originally Published September 2000

By Kenny Kerner

Although it might be difficult to get one of your self-written press releases into a major newspaper, local papers and magazines can almost always use them. After all, their job is to promote local activities!

Let's start at the beginning: A Press Release is simply, information released to the press for them to print. When dealing with the press, there are two important rules to remember:

Rule Number One: Never send out anything you don't want to see in print.

Rule Number Two: There is no such thing as "Off The Record." Anything you say, can and will be printed for all to read.

Well, now that we've discussed what not to do, let's go about the job of finding out how to create one of these press releases. Press Releases should tell the readers who, what, where, when & how about a certain artist or activity. You should try to have your release answer as many of these questions as possible for it to be complete. Here's a short example—see if you get it, ok?

Doud Sets New CD & Tour

NEW YORK—Indie recording artist, Steven Doud, has released his second full-length CD entitled Come & Get It on the Rangerover label.

Doud, who hails from Pasadena, California, is playing locally (Troubadour, November 15th; Key Club, November 17th), in support of the release and will announce national tour dates shortly. The artist will be opening the winter tour with three dates in Tempe, Arizona, in early December.

As the above press release takes the form of an announcement (it can announce your record release or your live tour dates), it answers the questions of "who" (Steven Doud), "what" (CD release and tour dates) "when" (CD out now, local dates listed),"where" (Troubadour, Key Club, Tempe). "How" does not apply in this case.

You must learn to give the magazine and newspaper editors as much vital information as possible in the fewest amount of word. The more verbose you are, the more they will edit from your release.

Oh, and here's another tip—do not fill your release with hype. Editors can smell that a mile away. Again, once you get known to them as an artist who exaggerates greatly, your releases will make their way into trash cans across the country.

Remember this: If you have nothing to write about, send them nothing. Nobody wants to be bothered trying to find some value or worth to your release when there really is none. Take time to put a headline in bold above your release so editors can determine, in a single glance, the gist of your story.

And last but certainly not least, make a quick call to the paper or magazine and get the correct spelling of the person to whom you are mailing the release. There's nothing more insulting to an editor than asking him for a favor and spelling his name wrong.

Tips is excerpted from the book "Going Pro" written by Kenny Kerner and published by Hal Leonard.


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