publicityMost newspaper and media outlets will cover your Toastmasters event when you follow the basic rules of effective written communication for a news release. Today’s organizations prefer articles, photos and story ideas via email. Below are key elements to include in your pitches.

Subject line

  • Begin with the date if your event is upcoming.
  • Be specific, i.e. “Feb. 6 free family fair” tells much more than “Press Release.”
  • Tell your story ideas i.e. “Disabled people learn to surf” peaks more interest in a moment than “Story idea.”

Lead time

  • Know each publication’s lead time.
  • Newspapers may need 1 to 2 weeks.
  • Magazines may need 4 to 6 weeks.

Message content

  • Be succinct.
  • Stay focused.
  • Write straight forward as if you were talking to a friend about your story.
  • Write for your audience: the editor and readers.
  • What would they want to know?
  • Why would this be important to them?
  • What would you say if you only had 100 words to tell us about your subject?

Contact information

  • Provide it!
  • Read your email often in case the editor has a question for you – they have tight deadlines.
  • Make sure your website works.


  • Submit articles or photos of an event that has happened shortly after it takes place.
  • A Toys for Tots Christmas event is more appropriately published in December than in March.
  • Send via email whenever possible.
  • Send in high resolution.
  • Most photos copied from websites are too small and will not publish well.
  • Include captions that tell editors in a nutshell what is happening in the photo and who the people are.

Also see



  • If you pay for a sign to say, “Circus Coming to the Fairgrounds Saturday,” that’s  ADVERTISING.
  • If you put the sign on the side of an elephant and walk him around town that’s  PROMOTION.
  • If the elephant walks through the mayor’s garden and the media reports on it, that’s  PUBLICITY.
  • If you can get the mayor to laugh about it, that’s  PUBLIC RELATIONS.


Initial content above compiled and documented updated 09-06-2013 by Michael Varma, DTM, Founder’s District Public Relations Office 2009-2010