October 26, 2013
Press releases have become a staple of public relations. They date all the way back to the 1900’s when the Pennsylvania Railroad needed to reach journalists ahead of unfavorable reports about a train wreck. Today, they can be used to avoid unfavorable press. Since then, businesses have started using press releases as a way to submit information to a media source about something noteworthy or of interest that’s taking place.
Writing a press release is an excellent way to guarantee exposure for your video contest. There isn’t one specific formula for writing a press release, but there are several elements that should be included. We’ve come up with a sample template, broken down into sections so we can go over what you’ll want to cover.
The headline is where you grab attention and provide contact information, which will be referenced again, later. All contact information should be up-to-date and provide entrants, or anyone who’s looking to get in contact with you, several means to get in touch.
Notice where it says: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, at the top of the headline. If you plan on providing the press release before you want the information issued, keep in mind that journalists are under no obligation to hold the release until the time you specified. The only way they will is if a non-disclosure agreement is signed. Otherwise they have every right to issue it ahead of when the specified date.
Here’s an example headline:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Public Relations Coordinator
555 S. Randall Road
St. Charles, IL 60174
Beneath the headline, you will have a summary, where you summarize what you’ll explain in more detail later in the press release. This is the time to outline the video contest, including what the theme/idea behind the contest is. You can also mention where videos will be displayed, and the video length that entrants are aiming for.
Here’s an example summary:
St. Charles, IL – Bravo Video is looking for video submissions for their Halloween themed video contest. Bravo is looking for fun, creative videos that showcase the most original Halloween costume. The winning video will be displayed on Bravo’s home page and Facebook page. Videos must adhere to the established criteria in order to be eligible for the contest.
The purpose of this video contest is to display your creativity, so don’t miss the chance to dress up and qualify for some really great prizes! We would like you to come up with your most creative costume idea, and show off your costume by recording a short video (30 seconds or less).
3. High-level contest detail
After the initial heading and body paragraph, mention where the criteria is posted so it does’t seem like you’re throwing arbitrary guidelines at them. The criteria guidelines need to touch on issues such as number of entries allotted per entrant and whether or not entrants will have to prove their age. Don’t make entrants guess because the guidelines aren’t clear. Better to provide too much information in your guidelines than too little!
Here’s an example of high-level contest details:
One (1) cash prize will be awarded in the amount of $500 for the most creative costume, as voted on by viewers.
Video entries will be judged on the following criteria:
- Originality of costume
- How well entrants display being “in character”
A description for each of the criterion and the given point value are listed in the Bravo Video Halloween 2013 Guidelines section of our website.
4. Contest specifics
You’ll notice in this section that we discuss the dates that we’re running the contest, when the winner(s) will be notified, and which forms need to be completed upon entry. Be very specific about what entrants need to complete in order to be eligible. It’s a good idea to have someone from your team read over the guidelines after you’ve written them to make sure they make sense to the average reader. That way, you can cut down on confusion and eliminate potential confusion during the contest.
Here’s some example contest specifics:
Employees, immediate family members or other affiliates of Bravo Video are not eligible for prize awards. Videos must be under 30 seconds in length, and submitted through the Bravo Video website. Entries will be accepted beginning Friday, October 25, 2013 through Wednesday, October 30, 2013.
The winner will be notified via email on October 31, 2013.
5. Submission info
The remainder of the press release should finish with details about what each submission needs to include. You should end by reiterating, once again, that submissions will not be accepted or entered without the proper signatures and forms. You can conclude by reminding them of who they can contact and how they can reach them should any questions arise.
Here’s some example submission info:
All submissions must include:
- Entrants name
- Entrants email address
Press releases are a quick, easy way to get the word out about your contest through a new medium!