Church Press Releases: A Reporter Shares What Works

Church Press Releases: A Reporter Shares What Works

August 15, 2018 by

We’re talking about public relations this month on our Courageous Storytellers membership site, and that means lots of resources about connecting with reporters and creating press releases.

To offer even more insight, we connected with Star Tribune reporter Erin Adler to get some quick tips on what works with press releases.

What are the top things that get your attention on a press release?

  • It needs an angle:
    • Uniqueness or something novel/new.
    • Link to a larger trend or suggest that it could be.
    • A local angle to a subject that’s been in the news.
    • Controversy/debate around an issue.
  • Sometimes numbers can help—for instance, if a church had, say, a 90% increase in members/parishioners.
  • The release should be as concise as it can be.
  • Make sure it goes to the right person. That might mean a reporter who covers your geographic area or it may mean the religion reporter.

What’s your #1 press release pet peeve?

When there’s absolutely no local connection or subject matter connection to me at all! If it’s something that’s happening in New York, I’m not going to write about it because we are a regional paper. If it seems like I ended up on a random media list because I wrote a story about autism or college tuition (for example) one time, that’s annoying.

When is the optimal time to send out a press/media release? 

There really isn’t a bad time, but mornings are probably best. About a week—or a little more before an event—is best. If the event is over, I wouldn’t emphasize that as the point of the press release unless something unusual/atypical happened at the event.

How do we get release to you?

Email is always best.

Should we send multiple releases over time? Or should we just send one and hope it gets to you?

Either one or two emails is OK. Not more.

Should we be following up with a phone call, email, or both, or neither? (Basically, how can we avoid irritating you to death?)

Following up with one more email or a call is OK.


For more help with press releases, check out our public relations resources from Courageous Storytellers.

Post By:

Kelley Hartnett

Kelley Hartnett spent more than a decade working in established churches and helping to launch new ones. She recently launched Tall Tree Collective, which helps nonprofits craft messages that inspire people to get behind their cause. Kelley formerly served as the membership director for our Courageous Storytellers Membership Site and is the author of You've Got This: A Pep Talk for Church Communicators.
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