Press releases are short and informative statements that are sent to a media outlet to alert them about an upcoming event, new product release, or general news of significance.

Event press releases are often drafted by a member of the event’s public relations team and can determine whether an event gets covered by the media, so it’s essential to ensure that it encompasses all of the most important information pertaining to your event—omitting no detail.

Here’s a short (and sweet) guide to crafting an effective press release ahead of your next event.

Why you need a press release for an upcoming event

In essence, press releases are a form of promotion. And when they’re made for an event, they help an event organizer generate buzz, gain a media presence, and promote the event to a wider audience ahead of showtime. When written well—with all the right information—a press release can help attract not just media attention, but the attention of readers and listeners who may convert into future event attendees.

Although social media has in many ways become the fountainhead of the press in today’s society, traditional media coverage still holds tremendous value for corporate events. By writing a short press release and issuing it to a media outlet, it can help increase brand awareness and spread your message beyond social media audiences.

But what constitutes a well-written press release, and should you write another one after the event concludes?

Woman wearing overalls sitting at desk typing press release on laptop computer

How to write a standard press release for an event

When writing a press release for an event, it should answer the 5 W’s (and 1 H):

  • Who is hosting the event?
  • What is the event about, and what can attendees expect?
  • When is the event scheduled to take place?
  • Where is the event happening? Which city or venue?
  • Why are you hosting the event? What do you hope attendees will take away from their experience?
  • How is the event happening? Is it in-person, virtual, or hybrid?

These are the most important details to include in a good press release, as they make up a bulk of the important information that a potential attendee will want to know.

Once you’ve outlined the key details, you need to convey them in an attention-grabbing way while remaining informative and succinct.

Here are six key components to keep in mind when writing an effective event press release.

  1. Find a newsworthy angle: Will your event help people make or save money? Or, will it have a positive impact on the community or society at large? Try to find a hook that will resonate with your audience that’s reminiscent of a news story.
  2. Write a catchy headline: A catchy press release headline will grab the attention of your audience and make them want to read the press release in full.
  3. Summarize the event: In a nutshell, the lead paragraph of your press release should summarize the key themes of the event. This is where you want to think about the 5 W’s we discussed earlier.
  4. Include important information: Location, time, ticket cost, travel requirements, and registration deadlines—these are all things that should be included in your event press release.
  5. Include a call to action or critical next steps: Your event press release should always include a call to action that sends attendees to a webpage to learn more or a registration page to purchase tickets.
  6. End with a boilerplate outlining company information: This is where you can speak more about the hosting organization and/or major sponsors. Briefly mention your company’s mission, goals, or any relevant background and contact information.

Ultimately, you always want to tailor an event press release to the event’s target audience, so you have the best chance at converting new attendees.

Best practices and FAQ

Now, let’s talk about a few specifics, including the types of events that warrant a press release, the optimal length, and the best time to send one out.

Can you write a press release for any type of event?

Yes. Any notable, special event will benefit from a press release.

How long should a press release be?

A good press release should be no longer than 500 words—but ideally shorter, around 300 to 400 words. Make sure to keep it to one page at the maximum.

When is the best time to distribute a press release?

For events that require attendees to purchase tickets or register in advance, more lead time is always better. For large corporate events, 8 to 10 months of lead time on the initial press release is ideal, with intermittent follow-up releases closer to the date of the event.

The best time to send a press release to a media outlet is Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday between the start of the workday and the early afternoon in the recipient’s local time.

Should you write a post-event press release?

While not as necessary as pre-event press release distribution, sending another out after an event concludes is never a bad idea. A post-event press release can communicate an event’s success, key takeaways, and calls to action, and even promote your next event.

Perfecting event announcements

To write an effective event press release, event planners need to effectively communicate important details to their target audience—and make it exciting.