Strictly speaking, press releases are pseudo news articles that aim to showcase the newsworthiness of an event, service or product—a film in this case—to a decision maker in media such as a reporter or an editor. Failing to pique the interest of these decision makers will prevent the publication of the press release in credible and widely used channels such as established newspapers and online media portals. Compare the impact of a press release published in The New York Times and the effect of one just wallowing among thousands being hosted by a PR aggregator, and you can see the importance of why press releases should be written and deployed by trained professionals. You can read a related post to get more insight on how to create effective press releases.
Six Key PR Writing Tips for Films
As has been established, the process of writing and distributing press releases is very important in the box office success of a newly produced movie. If you are tasked to create one, here are a few tips to help you achieve your PR objectives:
1. Recognize your role.
Trained press release writers for films are aware of the potential impact of their output on the overall profitability of the movie they are handling. Remember that press releases can backfire instead of propelling a movie’s gross receipts, and failing to get published on widely read channels is not the worst outcome a press release can generate. At their worst, badly written or deployed press releases can create negative publicity for a movie, which often results to a major dent in its box office revenues. Poorly crafted press releases can also damage the PR agency’s reputation and—knock on wood—ruin your credential as a press release writer. The key is to take your role seriously and to deftly navigate the potholes that block the development of good, effective press releases.
2. Package the message.
A movie has a message. For PR purposes, the message could be one that is not intrinsic in the film but in the process of making it. However, the best message a movie can communicate is the movie itself. This means that writers tasked to craft a press release for a movie should have a panoramic view (pun intended) of the material whenever possible, including attendance at prescreening sessions whenever there is one. If there are limited prescreening sessions, make do with the information the filmmakers are willing to share and use your ingenuity to package the message. To do this, you can showcase the film’s major draw such as its director, cast, story, or special effects.