Getting the Word Out

Want to get the word out about your arts or cultural event or exhibit? Here are some tips on sending out information to the public and local media.

Step 1. Gather all the details: who, what, where, when and why.

Step 2. Gather graphics for publicity. Gather photos, create a logo if necessary, work with a designer on the look and any printed materials.

Step 3. Write a press release and/or prepare a press kit and send to the media.


The Press Release

Press releases inform the media about your event and can inspire the media to publish a calendar listing or even cover the event. Click here for a description and example of the anatomy of a press release.

  • Try to let the media know what makes your event unique or relevant.
  • Be genuine. Exaggeration or inaccuracy will only hurt your chances of being a reliable media source. The more a press release reads like an actual news article, the better. Many smaller publications love releases they can print verbatim.
  • Press releases should look professional and be easy to read. Type double-spaced.
  • Make sure the organization's name, address, website and contact information is visible.
  • Include the media contact's name, direct phone line and e-mail address near the top of the first page.
  • Include a "pull date" (the last date of the event) near the top of the first page.
  • Include a headline that summarizes the event and invites people to read the details.
  • All the most pertinent information should be included in the first paragraph - the five W's. Who is presenting what, where and when? Why should people attend? Include information on how people can attend or buy tickets, locations of ticket venues or website, e-mail and/or box office phone-line information.
  • Additional paragraphs can provide more descriptive information about the event, artists involved and quotes.
  • Use your mission statement or general description of the organization at the end of the press release.
  • If the press release is longer than one page, write "-More-" at the bottom of each page. At the end of the last page, include "# # #" to indicate the end of the release.

The Press Kit

Press kits provide useful background information for members of the press writing previews or reviews of your arts or cultural event. A press kit should be organized in a folder and generally includes:

1) Organization Information (front to back on the left side of the folder)

  • Mission statement
  • Brief organizational history
  • Organizational brochure
  • Feature articles on the organization or lead staff
  • Board list
  • Business card for media contact

2) Specific Event Information (front to back on the right side of the folder)

  • Press release for the event
  • Photos or artwork related to the event
  • Event postcard or flyer
  • Event program
  • Artists' bios, if not in the program
  • Preview articles about the event

Note: Do not include reviews of the event or previous events in the press packet. Most reviewers do not want to be influenced by the opinions of others.


Online calendars

There are numerous websites with online events calendars to use to publicize your event. Here are few:


Daily and weekly papers

Send your press releases to local newspapers. Here are some of the dailies and weekly papers to begin with.


Neighborhood newspapers

  • International Examiner - Contact
  • Northwest Asian Weekly - Contact
  • Pacific Publishing's papers serve the University District, Ravenna, Roosevelt, Laurelhurst, Sand Point, Wedgewood, Wallingford, Fremont, Phinney Ridge, Green Lake, Greenwood, Queen Anne, Magnolia, Madison Park, Broadmoor, Washington Park, Madrona, Madison Valley, Leschi, Capitol Hill, First Hill, Beacon Hill, Mt. Baker, South Hill, International District and Kirkland. Contact
  • Robinson News publishes Ballard News Tribune, West Seattle Herald, White Center News, The Highline Times

Radio

Most radio stations accept a written public service announcement (PSA). Some will take a pre-recorded PSA. Check the website of the radio station you think best matches your audience. Many stations belong to the Puget Sound Broadcasters Association or Washington State Association of Broadcasters. Both organizations list links to their members.


Television

Seattle Channel, the city's municipal television channel, is committed to covering local arts and culture. Art Zone with Nancy Guppy on Seattle channel specifically covers the local art scene.

Local television stations are: