Want to get PR for your art? Long gone are the days when people relied solely on the morning paper for the latest news. Today, creators of all kinds have the opportunity to ditch the waiting game and generate their own buzz, starting with writing an art press release.
What’s a press release? According to Entrepreneur, a press release is “a public relations announcement issued to the news media and other targeted publications for the purpose of letting the public know of company developments.” In simpler terms, a well written press release is your ticket to publicity, whether it’s via popular publications, the Internet, TV, or other media.
As an artist, you’re not just a creative. You’re a business person, too. Whether you’re opening a new online store or have just received notice that your art is being placed on TV, a press release can help you create additional interest in your brand.
Andy Warhol says it best:
“Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art.”
While there are no rules or absolutes, here are a few times when it might be a good idea to write a press release:
- Ecommerce store launch
- Major sales
- Receiving an award
- Introducing a new partnership
- Showing your art in a gallery or museum
Like most things in life, writing a press release is half science, half art. However, here are the tried-and-true components of a successful art press release:
- For immediate release: Generally speaking, you’ll want your news to go out as soon as possible. If that’s the case, make sure to put For immediate release at the top of the press release. However, if want to stay out of publication until a certain date, include Embargoed until [date] at the top of the release.
- Headline: This needs to capture the reader’s attention. It should clearly explain what the news is about and why the reader should keep reading. To ensure that it’s easily tweetable, keep it under 110 characters. If you’re looking for some headline inspiration, check out how PRNewswire suggests writing concise and compelling press release headlines.
- Subheadline: The subheadline is a single sentence that follows and builds on the headline. Its purpose is to give the reader a preview of the content to come, plus make the story even more interesting. For subheadline tips, this cheat sheet from BusinessWire has you covered.
- Opening paragraph: The opening paragraph answers the 5 W’s (who, what, where, when, and why) and needs to clearly lay out how the news affects the industry (or why the reader should pay attention). If you mention an event or sale, it’s imperative to explain when and where it will occur. This is your chance to truly hook the reader.
- Middle paragraphs: These paragraphs add weight to the article and should make use of enticing statistics, peer and/or customer testimonials, and other supporting details. Consider offering a tempting quote that journalists can use for context around your news.
- Conclusion: More than a simple summary of the press release, the conclusion must include some sort of call to action and explain where interested readers can find more information about the news angle.
- Boilerplate: The boilerplate is comprised of a few sentences that give a general overview of the artist highlighted in the press release. It also provides the reader with pertinent contact information. When it comes to contact info, it’s always better to list too many options as opposed to not enough.
Remember: Reporters have busy schedules and don’t have a lot of time to sift through fluff, so make sure your press release delivers the facts they need to help share your story. Also, it’s critical to include an appropriate image with every press release. Finally, as long as you incorporate all relevant information, feel free to customize your press release. You’re an artist, after all, so make it your own!
1. Pentatonix (A Cappella Group) 2. Richard Linklater (Filmmaker, Screenwriter, and Actor)
3. Jeff Dunham (Comedian)
Congratulations on writing your press release! However, writing the release is only half the battle. Now it’s time to focus on distributing it.
- Reach out to journalists. Instead of emailing your press release to every journalist out there, try to find a few journalists who have expertise in your art field. Send them personalized messages detailing why it makes sense for them to cover your story.
- Think outside the box. Of course, you’re not the only person with a press release. Journalists have mountains of press releases to read, especially in their inbox. Consider sending your release through another channel to differentiate yourself.
- Give journalists a head start. If you really want to get a journalist’s attention, send him or her the press release the day before it officially goes live. Make sure to clarify that it’s “under embargo,” meaning he or she can’t share the information until the following day.
- Avoid publishing your release on the hour. If you’re publishing your press release via a news agency like PRNewswire, avoid publishing it on the hour (e.g., 2 p.m.). Why? Most companies schedule theirs to go out on the hour, which means more competition. Instead, opt for publishing your press release at a unique time (e.g. 2:02 p.m.).
- Consider hiring a local public relations firm or a PR freelancer. These experts know the ins-and-outs of local and online press outlets. Start by asking your friends and/or peers if they’ve had previous success with any PR agents. Otherwise, a quick Google search will help you find these professionals.
After writing and distributing your art press release, it’s time to wait. Don’t make the mistake of of immediately sending a pushy follow-up message. Instead, wait at least 24 hours, and then ask yourself if the release warrants a follow-up.
“The perfect news release follow-up is really quite simple. Make sure the information is sent to the right person, is timely, and is targeted to the publication’s demographic. An email or telephone follow-up a day or two later that is quick and to the point,” explains Abbie Fink, VP and General Manager of HMA PR. “Be ready with any additional information, and be prepared to answer questions. Once you have the reporter interested, you want to make the most of their time.”
It’s important to note that getting press for your artwork a choice. Regardless of your decision, remember this:
“The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place: from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider’s web.”
Just by being a creator, you’ve already made an unmistakably positive impact on our world. You’ve already contributed to humanity. You’ve already won our attention.