Thursday, April 9, 2009

Promoting your Art - Part 2 of 2: Writing a Press Release

Writing a Press Release – A Short Story

In the last post I shared a few of my favorite promotional tips and how a series of recent marketing efforts led to my Upcoming Exhibition at the Appleton Museum of Art.

Today, I’m going to continue with that story, talk about writing a Press Release, and list a few resources for technical information.

Here goes…

I knew that the opening of my exhibit at the Ocala Civic Theater was only 2 weeks away, and that it was really considered “too late” to send a Press Release. I could have used this as a legitimate excuse to say “oh well, I’ll write one next time”, “Next time, I’ll be more on top of my promotion and marketing,” “Next time, next time…”

Oh, how many times have I told myself this already!?! For years I’ve been collecting sample press releases, notes on the proper format, websites, etc. But, until a few weeks ago I had never actually written one. Why? Because I'd Rather Be in the Studio!*

But, this time I decided to write one. I figured at the very least it would be good practice. You know, get me over the hump of having never been through the motions of writing one. And maybe, just maybe I’d get a listing in one of the local publication’s Calendar of Events. That’s it. No more. No less.

After it was written and proof read by a couple others, I made a few phone calls. I’ve been told over and over again that writing a great press release can be a waste of time if you send it to the wrong person So, I called the main phone line for the publications and news agencies I was interested in, and simply asked to whom I should email a Press Release regarding and upcoming art exhibition. It was that simple. I had all the contact info within 15 minutes.

I also sent this same Press Release to a woman at the Appleton Museum I had met at several networking events. She called me the following day explaining that the Museum is starting a series of exhibits featuring Florida artists, and asked if I would be interested in participating.

Lesson Learned: Had I taken the easier way, happily working along in the studio instead of spending time promoting my work, I never would have received this call. Instead, I put time into my marketing and will have my first museum show this summer -
Urban Bloom: Ceramic Sculpture by Meagan Chaney
June 5 – July 5, 2009.

  • Resources – look to other well written Press Releases and use them as samples. Create a folder for these samples and other helpful information of formatting, templates, etc. (see the list of links below)
  • Plan Ahead – Schedule in time for writing and sending your Press Release well in advance! (The earlier the better. But better late than never!)
  • Write – use the samples as guides and follow the format!
  • Phone Calls and Contacts – Find out exactly who to email the press release to.
  • Send it and Be Positive! – Even if they don’t publish your story or announcement this time, maybe your name will be more familiar next time it comes to their inbox.
Helpful Websites:

There are a ton of websites out there that can answer questions on content, formatting, and timelines. Here are a few of my favorites for technical information on writing a Press Release and other Art Marketing Strategies and Advice.

Art Biz Blog by Alyson Stanfield
(I also recommend Alyson’s weekly Art Marketing Action Podcast for excellent “tips and tricks for your art career”)

PR Web: Press Release Newswire

The Center for Participatory Change

These should get you started. I’d love to hear your stories of Press Release success and for other tips or websites you’ve found helpful.

Happy Writing!

*I'd Rather Be in the Studio: The Artist's No-Excuse Guide to Self Promotion, by Alyson Stanfield


Anonymous said...

this is excellent advice and makes so much sense. i'm curious about what your press release sounds like.

Meagan Chaney said...

Hi Jim,

I'm happy to email you a copy of the Press Release I wrote. Keep in mind that it's my first one, so there's plenty of room for improvement!

If anyone else would like to check it out, please just let me know.


Constance said...

Great Meagan! Thanks for sharing this. I would love to have a copy of your press release.


Meagan Chaney said...

Constance, I'm happy to send my press release to you, but I cant get Blogger to pull up your email address. If you could, email me at and I'll send it along.


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