Thursday, May 14, 2009

Marketing Service: Press releases and Events

Press Relations

Communication with the local and national media is an important part of any marketing plan.

We recommend that you create a press release announcing your new online service, and you may even want to follow up with additional press releases over time to promote the service or praise the success of the service. InforME can assist with the press release if desired, and has access to national media outlets.

Press Release Tips

Keeping these few tips in mind when writing and submitting your press release will increase your chances of news coverage.

Be creative. Using a catchy headline will compel the reader to continue. Keep it to one sentence and capitalize the first letter of all words but do not use all caps.
Opening Paragraph

The opening paragraph should include the 5 W's and an H: who, what, where, when, why and how, but not necessarily in that order. Your first paragraph should give the reader as much information as possible in as short a space as possible. Provide a brief summary of the press release and include a hook to get your audience attention.
Second & Third Paragraphs

These paragraphs make up the body of the release and provide more detailed information for the reader. Pick up the information provided in your first paragraph.

Include quotes from key staff, customers, or subject experts. Use short quotes to evoke emotion about the service. Never release a PR without first obtaining permission and approval of any quotes you've included.

Try to keep these paragraphs short and sweet. Limit paragraphs to about 4 sentences and the body should be fewer than 400 words.
Final Paragraphs

The final paragraphs wrap up the press release and should include:
  • Agency acknowledgment, event timelines, availability, etc.
  • A brief history section that provides background information about the company featured in the release.
Acknowledging InforME as a Partner

There are several ways to mention InforME as a service/website development partner. You could simply start this paragraph with:

" (name of website or service) is a service of (agency name), in partnership with InforME, Maine's private-sector partner and official web portal provider. All online services and official State of Maine web pages can be accessed from the state portal:"

You may also want to include:

About is the official web portal of the State of Maine ( and is the winner of the Center for Digital Government's 2004 Best of Web competition. is a service of the Information Resource of Maine (InforME), a collaborative effort between the State of Maine and New England Interactive, LLC that helps Maine government entities Web-enable their information services. was built and is marketed, operated, and maintained by New England Interactive, LLC.

Type a ### at the end of your release to indicate there are no more pages.

Press Events

Along with your press release, you may want to schedule a press event to generate more interest and excitement. Press events at the Governor's Office are particularly effective for attracting media attention. InforME can help coordinate your press event and can attend the event to help things run smoothly.

Press Event Tips

If you're planning a press event at the Governor’s Office, the following guidelines will make your event go smoothly.

It is important for the Governor's Office and the agency to be as prepared as possible. Preparations should include the following:

Coordination with the Governor's staff on how the website will be viewed - Will the Governor be viewing the website from his PC or will you be projecting the site? A laptop and projector will be needed for the latter decision. (We've found that a projection on a window shade in the Governor's office works well enough so that a separate screen is not needed
  • It's very important to prep the Governor prior to the press event. Provide the Governor with talking points to expand upon while highlighting these points of the website.
  • Make sure a copy of the website is put on a CD for back-up! The state Internet connection has an uncanny way of going down when the Governor is in the middle of presenting an Internet website or service to the media.
  • It may be beneficial to plan on using a CD demo instead of a live Internet connection. We can provide the walk through on a CD.
  • A copy of this or a link to the site must be available to the Governor's Office prior to the event. The talking points should be included with this.


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