Presentation on theme: "Writing a press release 2014. Aims of the session Is it really news? Essential components of a press release Writing a press release Sending a press release."— Presentation transcript:
Aims of the session Is it really news? Essential components of a press release Writing a press release Sending a press release Practical exercise
Sample news release Please read for 5 mins Make a list of what is good / bad Summarise story in one paragraph
Some questions to begin with What do you want to achieve? Is it really news? Who will be interested? What media are you going to tell? Should we tell some people before its made public? Who will be quoted in it? and Who will sign it off?
Is it really news? If it isnt then it wont get published. Non-newsworthy releases waste journalists time and reflect badly on the company. If not newsworthy, options are: – abandon the news release, or – do something to make it interesting.
Making it newsworthy Key elements for the media: Factual information that tells people what they NEED to know, or would LIKE to know Human interest stories Stories supported by good quality pictures.
The essential components Does it answer the questions: – Who? – What? – Why? – When? – Where? – How?
Beginning to write Answering the 6 questions will help focus. Make a bullet point list of what you wish to say. Turn bullet points into short and punchy sentences. Begin the release with a summarising sentence.
Top tip When writing an intro... Think positive and be brief – Explain the key point as you would to a friend, in as few words as possible (ideally fewer than 30). – Details will follow.
Your press release goals Get your key messages published Reach the right audiences Give the media print-ready copy – If its not written well, theyll likely spike it rather than do a re-write.
What journalists like Copy that doesnt need re-writing – Simple construction – Short sentences – No jargon – No extravagant claims unique best etc – All the relevant info – so they dont have to call you
Choosing the best angle Focus on the positive. You could write: The St John Wales division in Clydach doesnt have enough members. But more likely: St John Wales is looking for volunteers to continue its life-saving work in Clydach. The angle needs to be of interest to your target audience, as well as meeting the organisations needs.
Structure and presentation Musts: Company name & logo. Date. Correct grammar and spelling. Catchy headline to sell story. Answers who, what, why etc Contains key messages
Structure and presentation cont. Remember to: Insert the word END. If there are photos – say so and give captions. State the author / press officers name, title and contact details Include links such as company website. Insert company information. (Known as a boilerplate or standard paragrpahs, these can go at the very end under the title Notes to Editors.)
Top tips Quotes: Try to avoid the obvious & predictable. – We are pleased/ delighted etc… Say something meaningful. – We are creating a generation of lifesavers… Aim to be a little different.
Final draft Draft & redraft until you have: Covered the key points of who, what, why, where, when and how? Told your story clearly and succinctly. (think of two A4 pages as a goal). Included a human interest angle. Explained the benefits and relevance to readers, and Avoided unnecessary detail and jargon.
Approval process All press releases should be sent to Katie email@example.com for approval firstname.lastname@example.org The release should also be shown to the county commissioner and anyone quoted When issued, send a final copy to Katie You may also wish to send it around to the other members in the county, for their information
Sending your release Correct targeting is essential Choose specialist / local reporter or newsdesk Ensure email has interesting headline Copy and paste the release into the body of the email If you are sending to more than one journalist, blind copy them all in Consider deadlines
Final check list Does the info deserve a news release? Strong and positive news angle? Got who, what, why, where, when and how? Written it in the right style? Concise with no waffle and jargon? Quoted people? Catchy headline? Will a photo add value? Got the right journalists / publications?
Now you try! Exercise one Your local division is holding an open day for the public, with the aim of recruiting more members and the DOIC would like to publicise this in the local paper Exercise two The trainer in your local division is about to celebrate 50 years of volunteering with St John and the Commissioner thinks the local paper might be interested