Media Relations: Best Practices

Media relations

First Steps

If you’re looking to attract media to your conference or event, you should consider issuing a press release. Here are a few things you should know before you get started:

  • You should notify your speakers about the possibility of media presence; be sure to have them sign a media release form. You should have this step completed before you consider issuing a press release.
  • Press releases must be approved by Wharton’s Media Relations team prior to distribution. At least one month before the event, send your press release to Students who don’t abide by this rule will not be permitted to use the Wharton name for their event.
  • Once the media release form has been returned and the press release has been approved, the Media Relations team will provide you with a media contact list.
  • Students take full responsibility for the press release process. This means that press releases must be written, distributed, and paid for by student organizers.

What should I say about my club’s event in the press release?

Your press release should be brief (usually 1 page), attention-grabbing, and descriptive. Aim to convince the media that your event is newsworthy by highlighting key speakers and important information that will help them cover the event.

Here’s everything an effective press release should include:

  • The who, what, where, when, and, most importantly, why of your event.
  • A note identifying your event as being led by “a student-run organization of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.”
  • An eye-catching headline that names the speakers presenting at your event; this is the main attraction for media coverage.
  • The press release should include the organizer’s contact information (phone, email, and social media info).

Finally, check out this template to get an idea of how the parts of a press release should be organized.

How should I interact with a newsource?

Newsources receive far more press releases than they can report on. This means it’s important that the delivery of your press release is as convenient as possible.

Here are some tips to help make sure your press release gets the right kind of attention:

  • Give newsources enough time to consider your press release by issuing it 2 to 3 weeks before your event.
  • Once issued, do not follow up by phone or email. Additionally, if a reporter declines your invitation, do not continue emailing them.
  • Because certain newsources prevent their employees from opening attachments, you should copy and paste your press release directly into the body of the email.
  • Issue press releases individually or use a mail merger program to make it appear as if you’re sending individual emails. If sending individually, be sure to proofread each one and address it to the right person.