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Communication & Promotion
 

News Releases

When you want to reach your community in a bigger way, consider sending a press release to your local paper, radio or TV station. Though it is a great and free way to reach a larger audience, it's important to note that you have no control over what the media says, shows or prints, or whether they will even promote your message.

Developing Relationships with the Media

It's important to be familiar with your sources before you send your story idea or news release. Forming a relationship builds trust and helps get your events noticed. Be sure to read the paper, watch the news and visit the website. Look up contact information online so you can pick the right reporter to contact. Other tips include the following:

  • Make It Easy – Type the specifics of the activity or topic on an 8 1/2" x 11" white sheet of paper. Make sure to double-space and leave wide margins on the top, bottom and sides. Ask whether the editorial department prefers faxed or emailed releases.
  • Stick to the Point – Outline the information: who, what, when, where, why and how right away.
  • No Commitments – Don't expect a journalist to make an immediate commitment to write a story or cover an activity. Breaking news always gets priority.
  • Be Realistic – Be excited about your activity, but don't be disappointed if editors or reporters aren't as excited. They might not pick up on your story idea this time, but they might next time.
  • No Complaints – Don't complain about minor inaccuracies. Ask for a correction when it makes an important difference, such as the date, time or location.
  • Don't Seek Approval – Never ask to see a story before it's published. Journalists seldom agree to this. On occasion, a reporter will seek clarification and may let you see your quotes before publication or broadcast to make sure the facts are correct. Feel free to offer suggestions.
  • Deadlines Rule – When calling journalists, be aware of their basic deadlines so you don't interrupt them.

Common Media Materials

Review these seven common media materials, their functions and who should get them.

Pitch Letter
A letter to pique interest in your activity. It gives a high-level overview of the event and explains why it's relevant. Typically received by:
  • Photo desk editor (newspaper).
  • Feature reporter (newspaper).
  • Radio news director.
  • Magazine editor.
  • TV/Radio producer.
News Release
Generates interest, often becomes the first few paragraphs of the article. Typically received by:
  • Photo desk editor.
  • Feature reporter.
  • Assignment editor (TV).
  • Radio news director.
  • TV/Radio talk show producer.
  • Magazine editor.
  • Beat/news reporter.
Fact Sheet
Provides background information, facts and figures to help reporters build a story. This should be a quick read. Bullets are okay. Typically received by:
  • Photo desk editor.
  • Feature reporter.
  • Assignment editor.
  • Radio news director.
  • TV/radio talk show producer.
  • Magazine editor.
Community Calendar Entry
Short, concise entry for calendar. Typically received by:
  • Community calendar editor.
Media Advisory
Conveys urgent reminders to the recipient, sent one to two days before activity (sent after a news release) or used instead of a news release. Typically received by:
  • Photo desk editor.
  • TV news assignment editor.
  • Feature reporters.
Public Service Announcement (PSA)
Brief script delivered to radio and TV to be read on air. Typically received by:
  • TV promotion director.
  • News assignment editor.
  • Radio news director.
Biographical Sketch
Provides one-paragraph description of the recipient of a benevolent activity. Typically received by:
  • Photo desk editor.
  • Feature reporter.
  • Assignment editor.
  • Radio and TV news director.
  • TV/radio talk show producer.
  • Magazine editor.

Easy-to-use Templates

Save time by using prewritten and predesigned templates for Thrivent Financial chapter activities. See below for news release templates. Just fill in your information, and either print and send the release to the local media or email it to the local media.

Tips for writing news releases  |  News release distribution tips

After the Event

If you do get mentioned, please try to get at least two copies of every newspaper or magazine article that mentions Thrivent and your activity or project.

If you don't have a chapter scrapbook, consider creating one and include one clip in it. The scrapbook can be used to inform new members about the chapter and to inform new chapter leaders about successful publicity methods.

Send the other clip to the Media Relations staff at Thrivent. Include the name of the newspaper, city, state and the date of publication.

Also forward radio and TV mentions of Thrivent to Media Relations. Include the name of the radio or TV station, city and state of the station, and date and length of time the story was broadcast.

 
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Tips for Writing News Releases

  • Use simple language. If you have to look up a word in the dictionary, don't use it.
  • Stick to the facts and avoid opinions, for example: "A good time is promised to all who attend."
  • Give the day of the week and date of an event, as well as the time, using a.m. or p.m. The proper order is time, day, date: "The meeting is scheduled for 7 a.m., Thursday, Jan. 31."
  • Mention how funds for any benevolent activity will be used.
  • Say if the activity is open to the public and its cost.
  • Include a phonetic pronunciation for hard-to-pronounce names and cities for the benefit of radio and TV reporters: "Steven Van Lieshout (van-LEE-shout) will be the speaker."
  • State that the activity is being hosted by the [chapter name] of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans.

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News Release Distribution Tips

  • News releases can be sent to newspapers, magazines, and radio and TV stations.
  • Ask who is most appropriate to receive your news releases.
  • Ask how they prefer to receive materials (mail, fax or email).
  • If using email, copy and paste the information into the body of the email, rather than sending an attachment. This helps keep email file sizes down.
  • Ask about deadlines. When do they need information to get it in the appropriate issue or broadcast?
  • Always contact the editorial/news department, not the advertising department.
  • Make one follow-up call.
  • Don't expect a response regarding when and if your information will be used. They will contact you if more information is needed.
  • If you are contacted, respond quickly with the information requested.

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Insurance products issued or offered by Thrivent Financial, the marketing name for Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, Appleton, WI. Not all products are available in all states. Products issued by Thrivent Financial are available to applicants who meet membership, insurability, U.S. citizenship and residency requirements. Securities and investment advisory services are offered through Thrivent Investment Management Inc., 625 Fourth Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55415, a FINRA and SIPC member and a wholly owned subsidiary of Thrivent. Thrivent Financial representatives are registered representatives of Thrivent Investment Management Inc. They are also licensed insurance agents/producers of Thrivent. Fee-based investment advisory services are available through qualified investment advisor representatives only.

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