Utilizing Press Releases
February 6, 2017
By Lora Rios-McBride
Woman’s Club of Parsippany-Troy Hills NJ Communications Chairman
The Woman’s Club of Parsippany-Troy Hills (WCPTH) has a secret tool that gets us notable media attention—press releases! In 2016, through 59 press releases, our club’s name and activities appeared almost 200 times in print publications. Not only do we attract new members, but community support has been overwhelming!
WCPTH sends out at least one press release each month, but very often we have emailed three to five, or even more. The invitation to our general meeting is an ongoing press release. Along with a personalized email, our press releases are distributed to media in our area and beyond. Important media contacts are developed through this frequent communication. Tailored emails to specific reporters or editors help ensure the press release is at least read and considered for publication.
For many events, we invite the press. But we realize that the press will have their own criteria for sending reporters and photographers. A press release about a speaker at a general meeting sometimes generates a newspaper’s request to cover with a photographer. Again, the effects of a press release can be surprising.
The media distribution list should be reviewed and expanded whenever possible. For the first time last year, we were able to publicize our annual golf fundraiser through NJ Monthly, a state-wide magazine. Don’t forget to include your state and national GFWC publications.
Community support for fundraisers is also accomplished through press releases. When writing about a fundraiser, the press release needs to include key information on why we are holding the fundraiser. Our Annual Golf and Social Luncheon raises money for several educational programs, including scholarships for high school seniors. From March to July 2016, there were 11 press releases, which included an invitation to golf and information on our various educational programs. This continual flow of information helped increase not only attendance at the event but also allowed us to raise the most money to date.
An important topic for our press releases is information on the many charitable organizations we support. We have had women in the community crochet hats for the Click for Babies campaign after learning about Prevent Child Abuse-NJ. Women contributed money for our annual Adopt-A-Family gift drive after we publicized the Head Start program. And a woman filled six new backpacks with school supplies after reading about women and their children living in shelters for battered women. None of these generous women felt they had the time to commit to joining our club but appreciated the opportunity to support us in our endeavors.
In the opening paragraph, the press release should contain obvious information like date and meeting times, with an invitation for area women to attend. By following the same format each month, the public will find it easier to look for your club’s information. Click here to download a sample press release.
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If there is time in the day to lend a helping hand, Irene Iverson will do it. A member of two GFWC clubs and recent honoree of the One OC Spirit of Volunteerism Award for 2014, Irene has been an active leader in her community since she joined the Red Cross as a volunteer at 15.
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Junior Woman's Club of State College
When Robbin Zirkle moved back to the area after grad school, she addressed the challenge many people face as adults—making new friends— by joining the Junior Woman’s Club of State College (Pennsylvania). GFWC provided her a place to connect with like-minded women who shared her passion for community service.