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Here’s an excerpt from a press release I sent out today for a project I’m working on right now — The Adoption Journey Project (

There’s two factors of this example I’d like to highlight.  .  .

But first, here’s the content about the campaign first:

This year’s football fans gathering at various watch parties will have access to one Super Bowl coach’s personal thoughts during halftime. A free downloadable video kit is available to local game watching party organizers which features Super Bowl winning coach Tony Dungy and his wife Lauren.

The video message includes a personal appeal to Americans on the subject of the current orphan crisis and adoption. Dungy is involved with The Adoption Journey Project ( to help influence more couples to consider adoption.

“The big win on Super Sunday would be to raise awareness about the millions of children who need a family. I would love to see thousands of local community groups and circles of friends gathering together to stop and consider how they can help,” said Dungy, the winning head coach of the 2007 Super Bowl Champion Indianapolis Colts.

“With more than 100,000 children in need of a stable and loving family in the US, if just a fraction of groups gathering to watch the Big Game influence just one family to adopt, we would make a huge dent in this social crisis,” said Marc Andreas, Vice President of Marketing at Bethany Christian Services, the largest adoption agency in the country.



Basically, we’re asking anyone that’s hosting a Super Bowl watch party to play 3 minute Tony Dungy video message sometime during the halftime.  Dungy is the Super Bowl winning coach of the 2007 Indianapolis Colts team.  PLUS, the 2012 Super Bowl is being hosted in Indianapolis this year.  And Tony & Lauren Dungy are also Christians as well as adoptive parents.

The downloadable video file is available at — along with instructions to burn it to DVD or stream it to TV set-top boxes like AppleTV, Tivo or WD Live devices.  Hosts can also download a printable conversation guide with some suggestions on how to set it up and spark some discussion.

So what are the two factors I wanted to highlight about this campaign?

(1) The usage of press releases and a resource-filled landing page is a tool most non-profits and ministries really should be considering.  The release is being sent out over PR Newswire and Christian Newswire.  We’ll see for sure over the next week or so if utilizing these outlets will gain us positive coverage and exposure.  But in general, using a tier-1 wire service can really help the cause.

Once the release is published it will also help us in approaching bloggers and other influential leaders by pointing to a media resource page with some or all of the following:

  • clean full text copies of the published press release — both as text on the page as well as a downloadable PDF.  For example, you can find the PDF of the full press release on the Halftime video campaign landing page
  • listings of early media hits for the story to give social proof
  • downloadable and embedable video clips that relate to the story
  • static images / photos that help tell the story — with captions
  • background on your organization, sometimes called “boilerplate” ABOUT US type info
  • FAQ’s that anticipate the basic questions a writer will have about the story
  • contact information so media can reach out to you to coordinate interviews and quotes

(2) See how this campaign takes advantage of timing around another public event — with this example, it is a national event that is brings with it a lot of pre-existing top-of-mind and awareness related to the advocate talking about the cause.

Over 100 Million people will be gathering around TV’s to watch the Big Game on Feb 5th, so it is a rare opportunity to reach tons of local groups huddled around the TV set on a single day.  If just a tiny portion of a percentage of game watching parties actually showed the video, having the Dungy give this appeal to Americans about the orphan crisis could make for a huge win for adoption initiatives.

Keeping tabs on current and upcoming trends will help you jump on the bandwagon and take advantage of topics that have built-in enthusiasm from the media community.  If you build your story properly, you’ll be able to get your message played in front of the audience others are already building for you.


If you still aren’t sure about press releases in general, I’ve written before about why I think press releases are a good tactic to use in your communications mix.

QUESTION: How can you start using press releases to draw supporters, participants and simply more awareness to your programming efforts?  Leave your brainstorming comments below.


In my last post, I wrote about  WHY your church should be putting out a press release about the great things your church is doing out in the community.

Press releases are something most churches have no experience with. . . Partly because it’s a craft that’s engimatic and not very easy to understand.   And partly because of a conceptual allergy to practices that are embraced by the marketplace.  “The church has no business doing business,” some might say.

Since most churches don’t have people on staff that have really done much official PR before, the big question that arises usually is:

So just how/where do you send out a press release?

Well, I personally recommend that you try at least once with one of the Tier-1 press release syndication services.  I’ve used PR Newswire numerous times in the past, each time with very good results.

(1) Here’s an insider’s tip though:  If you’re a non-profit organization (501-3C, or listed in Guidestar), you qualify for non-profit discounts for PR Newswire press release distribution.  Yup, churches qualify for this discount too.

eReleases newswire service acts sort of like a reseller of PR Newswire and they have a product called CAUSEWIRE that offers the non-profit discount.

For example, I just picked-up a pre-paid credit for a press release for $179 (for a standard 500 word press release.  It costs $100 for each additional 100 word block of words in the release).  This goes out over the national wire service via PR Newswire as well as two industry specific lists.  In past jobs, I’ve had to pay extra for these industry lists (and that alone cost more than $179).

The only catch is that you have to schedule the release 3 days in advance of when you want it sent out.  If you need immediate release scheduling, you have to pay the regular rack rates, but even then, the standard pricing is cheaper than if you went to PR Newswire directly.

(2) Another option is Christian Newswire, which prices several sub-lists separately a la carte style from $65 (for 400 words, then 50% more for each group of 100 words over 400 words) and up each.  It’s much more affordable, but know that this is not an apples-to-apples comparison to using PR Newswire.

(3) I’ve also been considering using a service called PR Web.  They were originally a free press release web distribution service, that grew up, and then got bought out by a big company called Vocus.  Now they partner with BusinessWire, which is a competitor of PR Newswire.  Just as eReleases sends your press release over PR Newswire, PR Web sends your press release over Business Wire.  Does that make sense?

Anyway, PR Web offers various levels of service.  But the lesser priced ones aren’t really worth much since they are simply auto-syndicating/posting your release on a bunch of partner sites that take their feeds and push them live.  This might yield decent traffic results in the short term, but as Google continues to move toward weeding out all that duplicate content out there, content farms and similar strategies are going to loose their visibility in the search engine rankings.  PR Web  does have discount pricing if you commit to volume — one package I know of offers 2 releases a month for under $140 each.  That’s pretty affordable, and I’ve asked PR Web to let me test out the service under these packages to personally see what type of results they bring.  Stay tuned on if they respond.


I’ll add some details about what else you need to consider for a basic pr campaign in an upcoming post, but for the time being, these are the 3 biggie newswire service options that non-profits and ministries should consider.

Does your church work with any outside community groups on a service or outreach project?  That’s where I’d start with crafting the story to tell the world.

QUESTION: What is your resistance to sending out a press release about an upcoming event or program your church is planning?  Can you articulate it in a comment below?

There is one marketing tactics that I believe most pastors think should be off-limits (or rather don’t ever think about) for getting the word out about the great stuff their ministry is doing.

What could that be?

It’s the basic press release.

But a press release will accomplish several things at once.  In addition, what you think might be newsworthy only on the local level might actually be interesting to national media outlets in telling the story of what’s on the pulse of the nation.  One press release we sent out recently got the attention of 175+ local news stations across the country.

Consider just a couple of the following benefits, and let me know what you think:

1) Press releases gets your news out on the web.  Everyone talks about search engine optimization and marketing, and press releases in a very efficient way to get your ministry and corresponding links to pages on your website sprinkled across the web in front of new audiences.  This benefit is for more than just the immediate timeframe, as the links will help drive incremental traffic over time as people find the older releases and click through to your site, even years after you have sent the press release out.

2) If you want your local and regional community to take notice and talk about your ministry, a press release alerts local papers and hyper-local news outlets like the Patch, and radio stations.  Without a press release, it would be almost impossible for them to proactively find your ministry efforts so that they can share with their audiences.

3) If you write your press release in a very targeted manner, you will be able to insert yourself into the conversation people are already having around the water cooler about what they find in various media outlets.  If you are able to be strategic in relating your news or activities to the current zeitgeist, you’ll find yourself become immediately relevant to new audiences in a fresh and interesting way.

By the way, did you notice something that’s common to all three points above?  How about the fact that one of the major benefits of sending out a press release as a part of your church marketing activities is that it gets your ministry in front of new audiences.

If you start with this objective in mind, you might find that a strategically planned press release distribution and follow-up plan might do your ministry some good in getting new people to cross that threshold.

Have you considered sending out a press release regarding your church?  If not, what questions do you have about press releases and your ministry?  Leave them in the comment section below and I’ll try to answer them in the next post on PR.