The Inverted Triangle Approach to a Press Release

You probably think that a press release is something for “big” companies”. Let’s break it down. Let’s look at how you can make this free marketing tool work for you. It’s really a terrific way to reach a totally different market! And it’s really easy once you know a few facts. You can do this! 

And I can help, because it just so happens that I will be creating a few press releases for my business this year. (I have a bunch of interesting “news” that is in development.) As you know, like all marketing channels, there are good, better, and best practices to be fully affective.  Lucky for you, I decided to check out the latest and greatest information. Then, as usual, every time I learn something for my own business, I apply it to your potential needs or at least share my insights here.

Are you newsworthy?

“Are you interesting to our readers?” That’s the first thing an editor wants to know. They have very limited space – even online – and they can’t afford to be putting out boring or irrelevant news. Or in the case of online, they need to minimize people clicking away from a story.

They need readers to stay on the page so they might see the advertising. They need you to be wowed, so you might share the news with someone else. They need news that is interesting – even compelling. They need your story and lots of stories every day. Without lots of stories coming into their inbox continuously, they got “nothin”.

Oh and by the way: You have a story! You may be surprised to know that if you and I talked for just a few moments, I would likely uncover something about you or your business that is newsworthy. I do it all the time.

Who What When Where How (and sometimes why)

I get press release drafts from clients who simply miss this essential rule. The first paragraph is the meat (or tofu) and the potatoes or (barley) and the desert (or fruit plate) and the beverage of your choice. It’s the entire meal description including the ambience of the room, the name of the server, and the music playing in the background. You must set the scene and paint a picture that gives the reader (and the editor) a reason to read more. Don’t leave out the name of the restaurant!

And don’t leave out the location. Don’t leave out any part of the who, what, when, where, and how from that first paragraph.

Roll Camera! Action! Cut – cut – cut!

The famous cutting room floor is a reality. It’s important to note: Editors cut from the bottom.

They will not even try to make anything make sense, so if you put the essential information in that first paragraph, and it’s readable, it might get published. However, if you scatter the who and what into one paragraph and then the when in another and the where in another, you no longer have a press release that is useful. Think of the other sections as supporting roles only. After the first paragraph, you must follow other standards:

  • Second paragraph will build on the first. You will give a bit more detail. You should provide some background and build on the story. This is also the perfect spot to push your name up the funnel – BUT….avoid looking like you are just trying to create specific attention away from the actual “story”. Remember, this is news you are sharing. What is the news? Stick to the “story”.
  • The third paragraph is the perfect place to put a quote. I know this seems awkward, but you are writing this in third person and you can quote yourself. Or if you can find a relevant “voice”, quote them. The quote would naturally add to the story and provide more information that would make the release be more relevant and personalized.
  • Lastly, you would have a wrap up section. What can be expected, what does this mean for the company or business in the future. You might want to put in other relevant information about other upcoming projects or hint at future projects or a bit of background for more context to create more relevance.

And this whole thing might look like this:

For immediate release: Wednesday 23rd March 2016

Upcoming Tele-Summit, Art and the Business of Creativity Announced
Summit for Artists to include speaker Mckenna Hallett of My Golden Words.

Mckenna Hallett of My Golden Words is among the select group of art business experts chosen to be interviewed for a summit starting on Monday, March 28th. The event,  “Alexis Castillo’s Tele-Summit Art and the Business of Creativity” will invite artists from all disciplines to hear experts on a variety of business topics. The tele-summit will bring together nearly two dozen art industry experts with the goal of sharing ideas and techniques that have helped them excel in their art careers. Alexis Castillo, an artist herself, hand-picked each expert to insure all possible areas of running an art business will be addressed. The goal is to help artists who so often find themselves lacking in certain business skill sets. The lure of creating can override the practical need to market the creations or keep track of other business details.

The Interview with Mckenna Hallett will be all about sales training. She will teach and share insights for artists who sell their fine arts and fine crafts in face-to-face engagements at open studios or art festivals. Known as the “E’s of Selling Art System”, it’s a unique approach to selling that avoids the stereotypical jargon and rules of engagement found in standard selling seminars and books. Hallett has been teaching the principles for nearly 30 years and recently released a guidebook and flashcards set for artists traveling the summer art festival circuit.

Hallett, who also manages her own art business, knows it’s essential to have the balance of good business essentials along with strong discipline to maintain a studio schedule. She also knows there is much too much emphasis on the concept of the struggling artist and along with Castillo, she wants to see that diminished. Hallett states, “I have been teaching the E’s of Selling Art System for nearly three decades. I am thrilled to be able to do some coaching and share these easy to use principles in the summit.” She adds, “I am amazed at the depth of the information and the expertise that Alexis has tapped into for this event. I plan on being in the audience, too.” Alexis will listen in, too, “I want the experts to share how they have made money and inspire others to do the same with their creative spirit – including me.”

Hallett has a thriving wholesale fine craft business which started in 1992. Currently she sells to over 30 Fine Art and Crafts business throughout the US. She was in the Contemporary Designer Collection with Neiman Marcus and has mentored artists for most of her adult life. She founded My Golden Words more recently to increase her consulting influence in a variety of business sectors. She is on the faculty of the Arts Business Institute, contributes to several of the top art blogging sites, and lectures extensively teaching cutting edge marketing techniques in seminars, webinars, and her own blog.


For more information, please contact: Mckenna Hallett

phone: 808-283-2108

I did it again!

You got a lesson and some marketing magic, too! Yes, that is a real press release – well, it’s a draft, but it’s a good example for all of you to see.  But I am really going to be in the tele-summit. I will be sending out a special email announcement to my ARTISTS only very soon!

For everyone else, hope this was instructional. Need help with creating a press release (or other writing project)? Email me! 

Got general questions? Put them in comments, please! (No…I don’t have the link for the summit sign-up yet – stay in touch, Artists!)

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