Gaining an edge through PR tools

Today, we want to talk about an easy technique to drive attendance for your bowling center’s major events. Yes, we’re talking about press releases.

Now, before you say, “Jim, I run a bowling center, not a political campaign! Why do I need a press release?”, let me just point out that press releases are an easy and effective tool to drive attendance to your center, garner goodwill and appreciation in the community, and put your bowling center on the map.

The first thing to understand is what a press release is. Simply put, a press release is a short news announcement that you provide to local press. It can be as short as 100 words and provides the basic information about the event (or another newsworthy item) you are trying to promote.

When should you write a press release? The answer is: whenever you have something noteworthy that you would like to highlight. Are you hosting a fundraiser? Is your center expanding? Are you hiring a chef and changing your menu? All of these items could be good press release opportunities.

Here’s a step-by-step guide for writing your press release:

1. Identify the newsworthy event.
You may want to plan ahead for press releases. As you look at your 2018 calendar, consider the upcoming events that might be good for the press to know about in advance.

2. Write an “attention-grabbing” headline.
Want to get maximum attention for your press release? Start with a bold sentence or set of keywords. Be clear and concise with your header, and use a LARGE and BOLD font.

3. Include essential information.
First, make sure you include the city and state where the release is being written, for example: Chicago, Illinois. Also, include the date. Many journalists will not cover a story if it is not abundantly clear that this is a fresh release. And do not forget to include the company contact information. If there is a special point of contact for the event, be sure to include the name, email, and phone number for that person.

4. Write the body of the press release with the goal of holding a journalist’s attention.
Keep the body of the press release brief – no more than three short paragraphs. You will be surprised how much information you can include in a 150-word release.

5. Keep a clear focus on a call to action.
Sometimes, your press release will be the first step to getting people to take a specific action (for example, purchase tickets to a fundraiser, invite a friend to a special event, come check out the new sushi bar, etc.).

6. Distribute your press release.
Depending on your ongoing press needs, you may want to consider a paid service for distributing your press releases. If you prefer to go the less expensive route, you can post press releases on the “News” section of your website, and send the release directly to local media (local newspapers, in particular, are an easy outlet for your press releases).

Press releases may initially seem intimidating, but if you follow these simple instructions, you’ll be on your way to getting local media coverage (and thus, driving up attendance and participation) for your center’s major events.

Yours for better bowling,