Setting up for Open Studio Weekend

Ideally, each regional group should send one press release describing their local tour. This is better than everyone in the local tour sending their own release, less confusing for the editor and more conserving of the group’s time.

How to Write a Press Release

The headline is 90% of the news. Make it direct and write it in a news style. Example: Glass Blowing Studio Opens. Felt Maker Debuts New Art Form. Painter Shows New Work During Open Studio Weekend. Marked with Flame - Pots, Hot From the Kiln.

Make an interesting first sentence. Try to construct it as a question. “Where in Vermont can you find a living herd of ancient sheep and buy a garment made from their wool?” Then put the answer in the second sentence.

Keep it short. Two pages is good but one is better. Remember that your audience is a harassed, cynical, stressed out news writer on a deadline. These guys don’t appreciate needlessly flowery copy. However, it is important to create interest in your work. Instead of saying that you will feature a kiln opening, invite the visitor to see pots hot from the kiln, marked with fire, etc.

When dealing with the local press, answer the question “Why is this newsworthy?”. Answer the basic questions in the first paragraph, “Why, when, where, what, who?”.

In the second paragraph, include an interesting angle. For instance, has your business received any awards lately? Is it a continuation of a family business? What is the history of your craft? Have you just opened in a new location? Are you premiering a new product line? For example, you are news if you are participating in Open Studio for the first time.

Final paragraph should have a short history and description of the business.

Double space the copy, put the most important info first, because editors cut from the bottom of the article up, one paragraph at a time. Put your contact name and phone number in the upper left hand corner and put For Immediate Release under your phone number. Put -more- at the bottom of every page that continues to another, and at the bottom of the last page put -30- or ###.

Try to send it to a real person covering Living, Feature Stories, Arts. Include a 5” X 7” black and white photo if you have one. If not, indicate what you do have available. Follow up with a phone call in 2-3 days. Do both a press release and a calendar listing.

Your local tour may want to do their own press release. It may include a few lines of info about each studio that is open. Is there something special about the tour? Is it in an historic district? Does it wind back and forth over a river? Is there a special inn or restaurant nearby? Is it a potter’s tour? Does it offer a variety of studios?

All newspapers will accept press releases and calendar listings by fax and e-mail. Go to their web site for info.

Calendar Listings

Send a separate calendar listing to the calendar section of your paper.
Send this 10 dayss before the event. Make this brutally brief, two or three concise fact filled sentences will do. Include a contact person and phone number.

Example: Barnes Studio Open Studio, 372 Elm St, Hyde Park, (802) 767-3344, will be participating in Open Studio Weekend May 24 - 25 from 10 - 5. Free and open to the public. Come see our European style wood-fired kiln, pottery demonstrations, and get great deals on our work, offered this weekend only.

                           Date created: 5/13/03
                           Last modifed 5/13/03