It is very useful to have what journalists call a 'news hook' for your story.
Your activity is news:
- when you have just been awarded your funding
- just before the activity opens to the public (and all publicity you get at this point will help attract an audience)
- when you can use someone important or newsworthy to speak about the activity (for example, interviews with the artist, reviews from journalists, celebrities or high-ranking officials and stakeholders)
- when any important or newsworthy visitors come to visit
- as the activity finishes (with information about the number of people who attended, and possibly quotes from some of them about how much they enjoyed it)
The reason for putting out a story is to raise awareness of the project and build audiences when an event about to happen. You'll need to make sure that people can find out more and will be compelled to do so.
It is worth trying to achieve coverage at all these times. It's often a case of being the right story at the right time.
Even if you don't get any response early on, your last press release may arrive on a day when your local radio station is running low on stories or your local paper is looking for interesting pictures. You could be exactly what they need to fill their empty slot, either as a shorter news piece or as a longer feature with interviews. This can be just as effective as a planned piece.
You may not get every story you suggest covered by the media, but keep persevering. If it didn't work this time, try again with your next idea!
Make sure you keep records of any media coverage so it can be used to prove the success of your activity and also provide evidence of your previous work when applying for funding and support for future activities.
Even if your activity is not publicised by the media, you can use the information that you have collected for your own publicity, such as your website or on social networking platforms. You're still communicating to a potential audience and you never know who may see your own content.