ArtId Art Blog
A press release is the most common source of communication with a magazine or newspaper editor. Publicity you receive from a press release is free. It will get your name out to the public, where eventually your reputation will broaden and you will become known. Whenever there is a special event in your artistic career, notify the local art critics and newspapers about it. What is a special event? An in-person signing, an exhibition, winning a prize, the receipt of a public or private commission, a tie-in with a local charity, a donation of artwork to a nonprofit organization, teaching a course at a college, giving a class/workshop/seminar, a new method of painting you__™ve discovered, a book you__™ve written, a sale to a famous person, a grant award.
This type of press release might lead to a review of your work by a critic, an article about the topic, or a brief blurb excerpted directly from your wordage. If you do receive a review from an editor or critic, more likely than not it will be a favorable one, one which you can add to your portfolio, one that a gallery owner will notice.
The ___pitch__™ to the press (i.e., the press release) needs to be innovative and imaginative. Editors are bombarded by hundreds of press releases every week. Most editors complain about how incredibly b-o-r-i-n-g press releases are. You want to make your press release stand out in someone__™s memory.
It__™s okay to use gimmicks, but don__™t be too original. You might defeat your purpose. Instead of putting a dab of glitter on a letter, one artist filled her folded sheet of paper with glitter. Editors did not appreciate glitter falling in their laps when they opened the envelope.
Formatting a press release
You want to look professional when you send a press release to an editor, so you__™re going to imitate the big pros. Follow the outline below.
For Immediate Release - These words are placed in the upper left or right corner of a press release. Do you want this piece to run March 29? Then note FOR RELEASE ON MARCH 29 at the top. Don__™t pick a very popular date, however, as there might be too much competition. Most releases say ___FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE___ without a specific date. Contact Person - Underneath ___FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE,___ put your name (or your publicity agent__™s name), phone number (even though it__™s on your letterhead), and if necessary the time of day to call. Make it as easy for the editor as you can. Headline - You must think of a good, catchy title for your release. Make it clear and enticing. All caps and centered. Body Copy - The 5 W__™s: Who - State your business name and/or personal name. What - Is it an opening, an exhibition, an open studio, etc.? Can you quote someone here, or give a testimonial with a celebrity? People love to read testimonials. Where - State the exact address, city, state, zip code, telephone number and directions to an event, if necessary. When - State the exact hours, day of week, month, year. Why - The main topic of your press release.
Place the symbol ___# # #___ at the end of your release to indicate that there is no more copy. If there is a second page, type ___MORE___ and continue on second page. If you do use a second page, type ___22222___ (five repetitions of the number 2) at the top (just another idiosyncrasy of a news release!). You may add a note to the editor after # # # such as ___Free photo upon request.___
* Double-space with wide margins so the editors can make notes easily. * Make it concise__"no more than one page. You are more likely to get coverage with a one-page press release than a two-page release. A small amount of information will more likely be easier to fit somewhere. * Send B&W photos. Newspapers know their readership love to see pictures. Including a B&W photo will up your chances of getting printed about 50%. Making it an intriguing photo will get you publicity for sure! * Have color photos available for magazine publicity. * Start with local media. Cultivate the same media contacts consistently by sending updates on your career. * Read what your target media reads. Study the publications to see what is publicized. Then write your own story. * Try to get publicity if you get involved with or make a donation to a charity or professional organization. * Get on the publicity committee of an art organization. This will help you meet the press. * Follow up with phone calls, persistently but not harassingly. * Know the names of art editors and reporters. * Know the requirements of any given publication. * Include correct telephone number and address in the body of the press release copy. Proofread all!
Mistakes Often Made
* Using graphics in your press release. * Expecting immediate results. * Being a pest. * Sending out poorly-edited materials. * Exaggerating and using superlatives or too many fancy words. * Being intimidated. The editors need your help!
The author, Constance Smith, has devoted the last eighteen years to publishing art marketing information-researching and networking with art world professionals nationwide. Previous to that she represented fine artists in the San Francisco area. Art Marketing 101, distributed by F & W Publishing, is available at bookstores nationwide or you can order directly from the publisher, ArtNetwork at 800/393-0677 or 530/470-0862; by fax at 530/470- 0256; PO Box 1360, Nevada City, 95959. Latest printing: 2003; 8×10" format, 336 pages, $24.95 + $4 shipping, ISBN: 0-940899-32-9.