1. Subscribe to your target’s publication and read it!
    First read their publication—and read it regularly. You want to stay up with whatever they are doing. You might have something that ties into a series they are doing. You want to be able to speak knowledgeably to your contact about his/her work in the publication, so notice who writes what. Most importantly, you want to get a feel for their style, the length of their pieces, the number of photographs, etc.
  2. Consider the timing of your news.
    Can the story be held for the weekend? The media have more room on weekend broadcasts or in a weekend edition of the paper to include the story. Please note that Sundays are an excellent time to have stories placed – the Sunday, 10 p.m. news maintains one of the highest weekly ratings, and circulation is highest for daily newspapers on Sundays, when more readers have the opportunity to examine the paper in greater detail.
  3. Whenever possible, try to avoid sending releases on Mondays or Fridays.
    Because (a) reporters are human and they take long weekends too, and (b) many businesses distribute news releases on those days to either garner press coverage or in an attempt to bury it – yours could get lost in the shuffle.
  4. Try to include one or two great images.
    The press is always looking for a compelling image to break up all the text. When sending photos, attach a brief caption and a catchy headline for the photo to the back of the photo. The caption should describe the subject of the picture and any action involved. Be sure you have the right to use the photo (written permission from the photographer, even if it just a volunteer).
  5. Take the media out to lunch or for drinks.
    Don’t pitch them on any particular story, but bring background materials and find out what types of stories they are interested in for future use. Go ahead and offer to pay for the drinks or the meal, but understand that the media outlet’s policy may prohibit anything resembling a gift.
  6. Proofing
    Professionalism alone will increase your chances of coverage tenfold. The best way to appear professional is to proof your documents for typos and sentence structure.
  7. The media love to cover local angles for national holidays.
    Jump on the bandwagon by hosting events on Groundhog’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Valentine’s Day, even national food days like Chocolate Day and Cheese Day. One of your best chances for coverage comes during the holiday season between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day because there tends to be less news and reporters are more available to review and discuss your information.
  8. The media loves celebrities.
    If you have a way to promote the lead artist in your event as a celebrity or to recruit a local celebrity as a spokesperson, these people can help your event get noticed by the press.
  9. Gather the fruits of your labor.
    Collect the articles and broadcast stories that you garnered. Maintain the originals by mounting them on paper and place them in protective plastic sleeves.
  10. Recycle your efforts.
    Ask permission from the media outlet to make copies of the article or broadcast to distribute to key audiences. This may include posting the story on your website, running it in your newsletter, sending the newspaper clip with a cover note to key supporters, board members, sponsors, community leaders, etc. Remember, secure permission (usually in writing) before pursuing this course of action or you will be in violation of copyright laws.

From Texas Commission on the Arts
Media Relations 101