A common challenge for boosters is how to build awareness and buzz in the community to support their activities. Flyers, word of mouth, and social media is a good place to start, but one of the best ways to help you build excitement for your functions is by drafting a quality booster club press release to disseminate to your school’s and local media outlets. How to write a press release that gets you coverage isn’t as easy as you might first suspect.
A good press release is positive and highly relevant. The ideal press release structure is quick to scan and easy to read. It’s not too long or short. The reader learns about the club’s past achievements, exciting upcoming events, and other good news stories. Best of all, a news release is immediate and free. It reaches a target audience and raises the club’s profile and reputation.
No news release is better than a bad one, so making sure yours checks all the right boxes is vital. This piece shows you how to draft a press release that works and ways to pitch it to media outlets.
What It Is and How to Write a Press Release?
It is a carefully crafted publicity tool. It provides readers with one or several newsworthy items about your organization, its people, and the causes you support. Think of it as one of several valuable tools to help your booster club organize and thrive.
Here are seven ways a news release can benefit your organization:
- Attract media attention and raise public awareness
- Announce exciting, upcoming public high school events and campaigns
- Increase the visibility of your club’s leaders
- Publicize a change in leadership roles
- Make a funding announcement
- Increase volunteer and supporter engagement
- Make an appeal and reasons to support a cause
The list could go on, and what your content covers will be unique to your club.
What a Booster Club Press Release Is Not
Your nonprofit press release is not a long-winded story, so avoid heavy writing and keep it concise. No one complains that something is too easy to read. Also, it is not merely a marketing tool; it’s more of a facts-based newsletter. Nor should it be considered your only approach to gaining media attention. A key point in writing a press release is how to avoid making it read like an advertisement or sales pitch. Focus on crafting a release that does an effective job to inform rather than sell.
There’s a lot to remember, and that is where the trusty template comes into play.
How to Write a Press Release: Where to Send Your Release
A booster club press release aims to bring lots of attention to your nonprofit organization. You want local journalists to write about your next event and cameras covering your worthy fundraising campaign. One way to do this is by collaborating with local media. Of course, social media coverage also has its place, but most organizations only have small followings. Local media outlets, though, will have much larger audiences to deliver your message.
Furthermore, local media coverage is all about local and regional news and communities. So, it makes sense to try and form a relationship with these channels, which can include:
- Local newspapers and magazines
- Community-based websites
- Local television stations
- Local radio stations
Be specific and enthusiastic when approaching local media outlets. These networks center around current news, themes of public interest, and trending topics. With the right kind of promotion, you can see a significant boost in the number of attendees at your next event.
Protect Your Parent Booster Club Events from Liability
If someone has an accident at one of your events, they may sue your organization for their injury. And if your press release reaches a wide audience, you can anticipate a sudden influx of extra bodies at your fundraiser. Also, the bigger the crowd, the higher the risk. Peace of mind at a reasonable price is why AIM’s affordable liability insurance covers more booster club events than any other carrier.
Why Should a Local Media Audience Care?
Your announcement must be positive and newsworthy for local media sources to run with it. That’s why you should present it in ways that make people want to sit up and listen. You need to discover the hookable story of your release’s topic and lead with that.
Never skip the homework, as preparation is the foundation of any successful news release. You may feel compelled to write, but the target audience is not obliged to read. So, before you put pen to paper, ask yourself this simple question:
“Is this something that people outside our inner circle will genuinely care about and get excited to participate in?
If yes, then it’s time to get your story down.
When to Send Your Announcement
If you have a relationship with local media, they can tell you when to send in your release for consideration. Otherwise, send it at least one week in advance if it’s not time-specific. For events, 2–3 weeks ahead of time is advisable, perhaps with a reminder closer to the day. But remember only to send something that is significant and in the public interest.
For example, upcoming news or events like the following:
- Organizational changes, e.g., gaining 501(c) tax-exempt status
- Announce training and other incentive opportunities for parent volunteers
- A summer fundraiser for all the family, fun competitions, etc.
- Highlight donations to the school, the effect of all your hard work
- Report new recruitment drives for club helpers
- To notify of staff changes, particularly board members
How to Make Your News Release Newsworthy
Think carefully about what you want to write and who the target audience is before you start. Always have a third-party review the content and offer their input. Aside from a compelling story, your news must be straightforward and appealing for the media to cover. It’s not only what you write but also how you present it that matters. So come up with some hard news that will get attention and support.
An effective way to think about drafting your release is with WH questions. For instance, what is happening, when will it occur, why is it taking place, who is involved, etc.
Once you have answered these questions, it’s time to start writing a press release.
What News Is Not Newsworthy
A great story presented badly will check the not newsworthy box. Or, if the announcement isn’t notable to those outside your immediate circle. Beating around the bush and taking ages to get to the point (called “burying the lede” in journalism) is another surefire way to lose an audience. Therefore, working as a team and being open to constructive criticism as you prepare your content for optimal effect is the best approach.
Another is to use quotes that don’t sound authentic, i.e., people in the real world wouldn’t speak like that. Sometimes that means massaging a quote to make it more palatable while retaining the intent. But be careful, being creative is tempting, but keeping things simple is always the best method.
2+ Heads are Better than One
The easiest, quickest way is to use a press release template, especially if you are new to writing releases. Templates are only suggestions, but they offer a solid foundation on which to prepare. So, feel free to tweak these plans to ensure they align with your club.
Decide on your team before you start the project. And consider allocating certain people for different tasks. The four areas of responsibility are:
- The main author/writer
- Additional photographs, graphics, and visual aids
- Proofreader and editor
- Media outlet’s point of contact for your booster club
The point is to get the right people involved and work as a team, whether that’s two club members or more. Then, with your group in place, it’s time to start preparing the news.
How to Draft a Press Release for Your Booster Club
Start by brainstorming how to lay the foundation for your news release. And your first consideration should be the target audience. Who are they? What’s the best angle to approach them, and what media outlet is most likely to reach them? Remember, you need to appeal to local journalists and their target audience.
Prepare the Structure
There is a standard structure for this type of document, and you would be wise to adhere to it, especially starting out. Journalists are familiar with the traditional format and layout, meaning they can quickly scan the content of your release to get the pertinent information they need to decide if it’s something they want to pursue or not. If you try to be too fancy or creative with the layout, you may lose eyeballs soon after the headline.
Here’s what the standard press release structure looks like.
Let’s run over this template in more detail.
#1 The Compelling Headline
The headline is what makes the first impression, so there are no second chances here. Your top headline must be attention-grabbing and relevant, meaning it should relate to the main message.
Here are four things to consider when creating a compelling press release headline:
- Keep it short, sweet, and to the point
- Keep cliché phrases out
- Avoid exaggeration; hyperbole is a turn-off
- Use numbers, i.e., stats, if they are relevant
Consider an italicized sub-header or short one-line summary under the heading if it works. The internet is filled with entire articles dedicated to the art of drafting compelling headlines if you need further assistance.
#2 The Intro/Lead (the 5 W’s and one H)
Carefully consider the leading paragraph(s) as you craft the intro that leads into the details. The best approach is to answer questions to the 5 W’s and one H, e.g.
- What is your news about?
- Who does it involve?
- When did it happen?
- Where did it happen?
- Why is it important to the reader?
- How did it happen?
Be careful not to make your introduction too short that it lacks interest or detail. Likewise, it shouldn’t be so long that the reader loses interest. The best approach is to answer the most pertinent and engrossing questions, but not all. This approach is how a novelist creates a page-turner.
#3 External Sources
If your parent booster club release includes important information from external sources, then always cite them. There’s a lot of misleading and exaggerated content around today. Therefore, citing and linking to trustworthy sources adds credibility to your content and organization. You can link to the source using anchor text within the content. Or, add full links in a resources section at the bottom of your booster club press release, but avoid doing both.
Write about the specifics, i.e., the essential details as they relate to your news. Try to avoid going overboard by writing too much unnecessary detail about any one thing. The idea is for a reporter to want to cover your event, not provide them with an already-created article. If you have an editor on your team, they should focus on removing unnecessary fluff and wordiness to keep your release concise and clear.
#5 Quotes Matter
Quotes can add value to your piece and are usually added to the second or third paragraphs. They act as a personable backup to your main story. Quotes also bring another perspective to the content, adding diversity. However, don’t include quotes for the sake of it. Only use them if they enhance the main message and speak the language of your target audience.
|Follow the 1-2-3 Rule When Writing Quotes |
One sentence is usually enough, two at the most, so they don’t take over. And three is too long for a press release.
#6 Additional Data
Add anything else of relevance here before you offer your contact details. This section isn’t mandatory, so only include extra content that adds or encapsulates the main message. Anything else is fluff and can detract from your news. Also, pause here and review your press release. Is there anything missing or something you can do to improve it?
The most successful press releases don’t only use headlines and well-written text to draw attention. They also include some form of appropriate multimedia, e.g., photos, videos, and other downloadable content. According to the press release distributor PR Newswire, multimedia increased PR visibility by as much as 9.7 times .
Avoid Multimedia Attachments in Email
Email programs often send unsolicited messages with attachments to spam folders, where they may never see the light of day. Instead, point the reader to an online digital press release using a lightweight shareable link in your media pitch.
A digital press release is a perfect format for adding photos, videos, and other media to your PR. It can also get you instant exposure to audiences across multiple mediums.
#7 Contact Details
Always remember to add the name and position of the person serving as media contact within the booster club. Follow that with your preferred contact options, e.g., email, phone. Understand that no journalist will spend time tracking you down if you forget to add your details here.
#8 Your Boilerplate
There’s a good chance the journalist is interested in your news release if they’ve read down to the bottom. Your boilerplate is where you add a general synopsis of interesting and exciting info about your booster club, and other referenced parties. Again, keep it brief and to the point, but be sure to make it interesting. Think of your boilerplate as a person or group’s elevator pitch. It should hit the interesting highlights.
The Booster Club Press Release Format
Keep your content to a single letter-sized sheet, around around 500 words max. That’s about the same length as a short news item. Anything longer risks losing the reader’s interest or being missed and left unread. Also, having lots of white space is easy on the eyes, so a few short paragraphs broken by one or two quotes are perfect.
Here’s a breakdown of a reader-friendly format and layout:
- Set up the page using 1–2 inch margins
- Double-space the text
- Write in a 12-point standard font (Arial, Helvetica, Times New Roman)
- Used mixed case with appropriate capitalization. NEVER WRITE IN ALL CAPS
- Use an editor or grammar and style checker to polish your writing
- Avoid HTML and other markup languages that can cause formatting problems
- Break the content up into several paragraphs (think white space)
And here’s a checklist of the standard structure for your booster club press release:
|Checklist for Writing a Booster Club Press Release |
– Include the club’s logo at the top if you have one
– Write a compelling headline
– Add a subheading or summary if appropriate
– Create your lead by answering the 5 W’s + 1H
– Include sources to add credibility
– Explain why your story is newsworthy (the essentials)
– Add diversity by adding one or two quotes
– Include additional details if appropriate
– Add your name and preferred contact details
– Finish with the boilerplate (elevator pitch)
– Adhere to the standard format and layout
– Review and tweak as necessary
That’s it; you’re good to go. There are plenty of free and paid downloadable templates if you prefer a more rigid, form-fillable structure. Or, if the booster club board before you had success with press releases, ask them for a copy and mirror that in your creation.
Closing Comments on How to Write a Booster Club Press Release
Writing a booster club press release that captivates an audience takes a little skill. So, early attempts at writing content may take some trial and error to iron out. But with a bit of practice and tweaking, you will end up with a workable formula. Still, the format, layout, and structure are easy to follow. If you get stuck, look at a few successful press release examples for ideas and inspiration, or ask for advice from more experienced writers.