The first step in getting your
information in the media is a press release.
release can help spread your message to the media.
with the media through news releases doesn't have to be
difficult. Just make sure the information is newsworthy and
a standard format for writing your news release.
the news release in a timely fashion.
up with a phone call to create a relationship with the media.
standing on your course's highest tee box and yelling your most
newsworthy message at the top of your lungs hasn't gained you much
success in getting your message out, you might consider writing
and distributing a news release. A news release can help you
create a relationship with the media, as well as get your news in
the news, by providing pertinent information on your course's
events, employee changes and topics of interest.
Just the facts
Begin with your topic. This
may be an event or announcement that you would like the media and
the public to know about. A release should be short and to the
point -- not more than 250 words -- easy to understand, factual,
direct and accurate.
The first paragraph consists of
the lead. It should grab the readers' attention so they will want
to continue and read the entire release. The remaining paragraphs
give the basics of your story. By its end, your news release
should be able to answer six questions: who, what, when, where,
why and how.
Your release will contain
supporting quotes, facts and background information to expand your
story and establish credibility. The final paragraph should give a
brief overview of your facility, affiliated chapter or
you have sent a press release, be sure to make a follow-up phone
call to confirm that the release was received and to answer any
questions the media member may have.
down on paper
News releases generally have a
standard appearance. They should be double-spaced and typewritten
on 8 1/2 by 11 white paper (your course or chapter letterhead
works best). One or two pages in length are appropriate, and using
both sides of the page is acceptable. Be sure to include a contact
phone number, release date and a headline. Contact information is
especially important if the reporter or editor has follow-up
questions. Provide as much contact information as possible,
including whom to contact, their phone number and e-mail address.
If the release is more than one
page, center the word "-more-" on the bottom of the
first page. Center the symbol "###" or "-30-"
on the bottom of the last page to show that it is the end of the
release. These are standard news copy symbols and will communicate
professionalism and preparation to the media.
Be sure to proofread your release,
then do it again. Check for spelling, grammar, typing and factual
errors. Always have someone else proofread your work to make
certain the information is understandable. If appropriate, have
your employer approve the release before it is distributed and
provide additional quotes.
Keep in mind that the reporter or
editor is likely to rewrite the release to fit the news
organization's style. The Associated Press Stylebook, available at
most bookstores, is a good reference for most publication styles.
Photos can add detail to your
release. Make certain, however, that the photos convey the
appropriate message. Candid and party atmosphere photos, though
great for scrapbooks, generally aren't suitable for media
purposes. Photos of club activities, award presentations and new
additions to the course are acceptable.
Be sure to include a caption about
what is going on in the photo along with the names and titles of
persons depicted. Attach the information to the photo, but do not
write on the back of the photo. Also, keep in mind that the photo
may not be returned, so make copies of the print or slide if you
If the news release is about
an upcoming event, you should distribute the news release to the
media outlets early enough that a reporter can receive it, review
it and call you for additional information, if needed. If the news
release is about an event that already has happened, distribute
the release as soon as possible after the event. Old news rarely
makes the paper.
Some news releases may be of the "evergreen"
variety. That is, there is no immediate time frame for the release
to be distributed. A release that discusses irrigation tips, for
example, might be used by a reporter anytime over a period of
months. However, a news release on the first frost would need to
be sent out in early fall.
Once you have finished the
release, send it to all appropriate local and/or regional media.
Sports editors and business editors are most likely to be
interested in your news. If you don't have a media list, a good
place to get one is from your chapter media/public relations
contact or your state golf association.
press release will give TV reporters and newspaper writers the
basics of your story, although they may contact you for additional
The emphasis of "news"
in the term news release implies that the release can be
distributed to several communications outlets. For example, your
member or facility newsletter, state or regional GCSAA-affiliated
chapter newsletter, and state and regional golf association
publications will appreciate the information and assist in
spreading your message.
The standard method for
distributing news releases is by mail, but sending the information
by fax or e-mail is also acceptable. Be sure to address the
release directly to the appropriate editor's attention. Call
beforehand to verify proper spelling, names and titles.
Follow it up
Once you've sent out your news
release, make follow-up calls to see if you can answer any
additional questions. Follow-up calls are most effective if you
speak directly to a reporter and offer your assistance in
Don't be discouraged if your news
release doesn't produce instant results, but taking the time to
speak directly with the media will help establish you as a
resource for future stories the reporter or editor would like to
Robyn Horton is GCSAA's