Tag Archives: PR

Journalist-friendly press releases

“Whether you think there’s a better alternative or you’d rather receive PR pitches by Twitter, press releases are still a popular format for public relations and communications teams when contacting journalists. But how can these releases become as popular with the journalists receiving and reading them?”

Laura Oliver reveals how to write the perfect press release for journalists.


Writing press releases


Writing press releases for online use

To increase the chance of having a story published, make the editors’, freelancers’, reporters’ or journalists’ job easier by presenting the release in a format and style that appeals to them.

Considerations before writing the press release

1. Why the release is being written: to broadcast information, increase business, update target audiences?
2. Who is the audience?
3. Does the press release contain invaluable or newsworthy information that will be used by the target audience?
4. Is there a just cause for releasing the information that you wish to broadcast?
5. What do you want recipients to take away from the press release?

Overall tone and structure of the press release

1. Content – ensure that the release is grammatically correct and doesn’t contain any spelling mistakes, errors, and sources are quoted correctly.
2. Concise – keep it punchy and don’t use unnecessary flowery language e.g. cutting- edge, revolutionary.
3. Factual – present information that is true, correct and doesn’t embellish anything that is to be communicated.
4. Objectivity – virtually impossible to do, but refrain from using over hyped quotes from sources as they will be presented as being too biased.
5. Timing – The press release may not be topical, but it may be able to incorporate the release with a more recent news event.

Writing the Press Release

1. Collate and Organise Your Facts
A simple rule is to find answers to questions pertaining to the who, what, when, where, why or also known has 5 Ws of the event, don’t forget ‘how’ either. Put a date on the release and remember, yesterday’s news isn’t going to go far.

2. Identify Your Story’s Angle
A good story angle must have the following three attributes: · It must be the most important fact in your story. · It must be timely. · It must be unique, newsworthy or contrary to industry norms and trends. This story angle must be presented in the first paragraph as well as the headline of your press release.

3. Create a Catchy Headline
Keep the headline short and simple using less than ten words. It should convey the key point raised in the opening paragraph in a light-hearted manner that catches imagination and there attention. For example: Headline: Press Box Launches Press Release Posting Service. If the release is for immediate release, then say so and make this clear i.e. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE. Opening Paragraph: Which then should be followed by details of the story

4. Writing in Third-Person Voice. A press release must be presented objectively from a third person point of view. Some of the guidelines are listed below: ·

  • refrain from using any sales pitch in your press release
  • remove “you”, “I”, “we” and “us” and replace them with “he” and “they”
  • provide references to any statistics, facts and figures raised in the press release
  • refrain from expressing personal opinions, unless they are done in quotes
  • draw conclusions from facts and statistics only – not general opinion.

5. Provide “Quotes” From the Newsmakers
Put the most important message into a quote. Journalists always use quotes from the newsmakers to add an authoritative voice to their reports. If the press release contains quotes that are important and relevant to the story, chances are high that they will be replicated in full in the published article.

6. Provide Additional Background Information
End the press release with an appendix that provides brief background information on the company, newsmakers, as well as who to contact for further information.

Public Relations and Marketing


Public Relations
is defined by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) as “the discipline which looks after reputation, with the aim of earning understanding and support and influencing opinion and behaviour. It is the planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organisation and its publics.”

Marketing is defined by the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) as “the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably”.

In the digital age, communications organisations and media channels are converging to such an extent that, at the 2009 Society of Editors Conference, Neil Benson, the editorial director of the Trinity Mirror regional press suggested that the time was right for newspapers to launch PR divisions. This would have been a view impossible to stomach until recently due to the ongoing and historic conflict between hacks (journalists) and flacks (PROs).


A Public Relations campaign is a meticulously planned and comprehensively managed way of creating this understanding between an organisation and the public.

Stephen Davis, a communications consultant and founder of 3W PR, lists the 12 stages of planning a successful PR campaign as:



This is finding out the information you want first hand: Questionnaires, one-to-one interviews, telephone interviews, focus groups, blogs etc.


Often called desk research and involves gathering information from already published sources: Books, journals, papers, libraries, Internet etc.

Situation Analysis

Puts the campaign into context. A SWOT analysis will allow you to examine Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats of the current situation, and a PEST analysis will examine the external environment Politically, Economically, Socially and Technologically.


Once you’re aware of the problem(s) your organisation is facing, you can then define the objectives of the campaign. The objectives are what is hoped to be the end result of the PR activity. Each objective must be SMART.

Specific: Are they clearly defined and comprehensible?

Measurable: Can each objective be measured in the evaluation?

Achievable: Considering other factors (e.g. budget and timescale) are they achievable?

Realistic: Are you being realistic given the resources you have?

Time: When do you want to achieve the set objectives?

Identifying Publics

Who do you want to talk to?

Identifying Stakeholders

Stakeholders are everyone with a vested interest in the organisation and its behaviour. They can include: employees, identified publics, suppliers, senior executives, investors

Key Messages

Every PR campaign needs to have a set of messages that forms the main thrust of the communication.


The strategy is the foundation on which a tactical programme is built.


The PR profession has a number of tactics (or tools) in its armoury. They include media relations, lobbying, events, interviews, blogger relations, presentations, consultations, newsletters, competitions, podcasts, stunts, websites, conferences, photography, video news releases, etc.


How long will the campaign run? Does it tie in to or clash with other events and news agendas? A ‘PR planner’ – generally covering a full year – will give you a clear vision of the deadlines ahead.


A budget lets you know what you can or can’t do and allows you to allocate money to the specific areas of the campaign. These areas include operating costs, human costs, equipment, materials.

Crisis Issues

Risk is an inevitable part of some PR campaigns and you should be prepared for the worst!


Evaluating a campaign is essential. Ongoing reviews throughout the campaign allow you to make adjustments. A final end review at the conclusion of all PR activity allows you to discover which parts of the campaign were successful and which were not.

12 steps to a successful PR campaign

“Campaigns are a significant part of the public relations profession and should be carried out with meticulous planning and thorough management. Specific step-by-step measures should be taken when planning any PR campaign to ensure it meets the objectives set or, in other words, achieves what needs to be achieved.”

Read Stephen Davies’ full 12-step guide to planning a campaign here.