Confession: before our very first Rancho Alegre Conjunto Festival, I had never written a press release. I found some pretty good examples online, and I went for it. I got lucky, and it paid off big-time.
To write it, I had to think of myself as someone who knows nothing about the event, the performers, our organization, or the style of music being played. I bolded the names of the artists, dates and times, admission, venue address, I included a paragraph about Conjunto music and one about Rancho Alegre Radio.
My press release got the attention of Nancy Flores at the Austin American-Statesman, and she wrote and published a huge article, complete with photos of the groups performing. In my opinion, that was the single most important factor in getting the crowd that we did for our first festival. They say that the newspaper business is dying, and that may be true when it comes to individual subscriptions, but newspapers are still in every doctor’s office and break room everywhere, and people still read every single page.
So I send the press releases to every media outlet I can find: radio, television, magazine, newspaper, all announcing the details of the event. But I have another strategy with them. Since many of the groups we bring to the festival are from outside of Austin, I also send a press release to the newspaper/media in the bands’ hometowns. I include a special note saying that the band will be representing their hometown at a conjunto festival in Austin.
Here’s my latest press release for the 2014 festival.