When is the best time to send out press releases?

One of the best times to send out a press release is late July or August as it is traditionally a quiet news time and journalists will be looking for stories to fill print and online pages.

It is especially good for features, which are longer and often have a longer shelf-life – unless of course you have an event or key date involved in which case issue your story pronto.

Being quick is key – it sounds obvious but after an event you need to issue the photos and a story roundup to your media the next morning. News dates… fast!

We’ve had a busy couple of months – here’s a selection of some of our recent articles – showing the breadth of our work. Thanks to all our clients for being so forward-thinking, dynamic and often ground-breaking.

Have a great summer break if you are off on holiday – remember to issue your news first – but not just before you leave – or you won’t be around to see what’s happened to your story. Following up and building relationships with reporters is key. PR doesn’t happen by accident unless you are very fortunate – it’s all about giving journalists what they want when they need it.

 

 

 

Driving differently

It’s been an exciting time for Lyndall and I getting out with the Riversimple ‘Rasa’ hydrogen car and its team as it draws huge crowds and generates such a buzz at prestigious events such as the London Motor Show and the forthcoming Festival of Speed at Goodwood.

We came on board at a pivotal time, to coordinate the PR for the launch of crowdfunding for a stake in the world’s only independent hydrogen fuel cell car company.

The aim was building confidence in Riversimple as an investment option, directing investors or sign-ups to the site, raising brand awareness and keeping momentum going following extensive launch coverage. People can’t get enough of this neatly-styled Welsh export on wheels it seems.

They had amazing front page coverage in June 2016

OFC Cover QW JUNE2016

14-19 RiverSimple QWJune2016 D

More coverage came from strong publications, many of whom have Gen X and millennial audiences, comfortable with the concept of crowdfunding and receptive to new and green technology. Read more here https://coveragebook.com/coverage_books/39b5c043

We appeared in a supplement in The Times newspaper in June 2016.

Case study the Rasa - Raconteur Times June 2016

We have subsequently handled the PR for the launch of the first UK car trial – the first of its kind in the UK for a hydrogen vehicle.

http://www.nextgreencar.com/

http://www.gizmag.com

People at the London Motor Show loved it’s green credentials – it’s one of the greenest cars on the road, only emitting water, using space-age technology and featuring a simple all-inclusive monthly contract fee.

In the week starting June 13, the car travelled to the Houses of Parliament to be greeted by MPs, before driving to the Welsh Assembly on June 16 to meet the Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Ken Skates.

A UK trial of this ultra-cool driving machine is due to be launched in early 2017 in the Monmouthshire area, with people already putting their names down for a chance to be one of the 20 lucky drivers. This is mobility with a difference.

 

 

How to write a great press release…and get coverage

Before you start writing your press release check it has news value and is a real story. If not, then the media just won’t run it.

If you’re not sure then a good PR professional can tell you if your story warrants a press release or is more something you would share on social media, on your website or in a newsletter.

There are key things that a journalist looks for in a story – does it have a good human interest angle? Is it about an interesting person or can you prove that your news will have an impact on people? Is it an interesting fund-raising event? Have you won an award?

Vital statistics

Once you have identified your story, make sure it contains:

  • Who?Who are the key players — your company, anyone else involved with the service/product/event? Who does your news affect and who does it benefit?
  • When?What is the timing of this? Does this link to any national related events?
  • What? What is it? What’s new?
  • Why?Why is this important news — what does it provide that is different?
  • Where?You need to make sure if you are targeting regional media that you are in their patch – if you’re not sure call them and ask. They won’t cover something if you’re not. Include a road name and town/city.
  • How?How did this come about?

How to write a press release that’s used

I find it easier to write a heading and then the rest of the press release, but some people write the release first and then go back to the heading. Maybe start with a draft heading and you can always go back and change it.

The heading should sum up in one line what the story is about.

Your first paragraph should capture the essence of the story and be a couple of lines. You want to ensure that your press release is used, so you need to grab the reporter’s attention straight away.

Once you have written your first paragraph, the rest follows, with each paragraph providing more information using the who, why, what when etc.

Your press release shouldn’t run onto more than two pages. If you need to include more information you can include a Note to Editors section at the end – but include this in the two sides. Reporters don’t have time to read pages of text.

Try and include a comment from the key person involved, including their job title. Read similar publications to the ones you are targeting and write it in a similar style. You want to make it easy for the journalist to use your story.

Remember that stories are cut from the bottom up so ensure the most important points are at the top or higher up in the release.

Always include your contact details in case the reporter wants more information.

Sending your press release

Generally, it’s best by email and I put the heading of the press release into the subject line to grab the reporter’s attention.

A good idea is to paste the press release into the main body of the email – that way the reporter can scan it and if the organisation blocks attachments, it can still be delivered.

Images

 Good photos will give your story a far greater chance of being used so ask a professional photographer or a friend to take a selection of photos – some landscape and some portrait  so reporters have a choice of two shapes.

Compress high-resolution images so they still reproduce well in newspapers and magazines – websites and online publications can accept much lower resolution files.

The image should convey your story in photographic form. Try and go for something a bit creative if you can.

Always include a caption for your story – explaining who the photo shows – left to right.

Follow through

 We have a 100% success rate on all the press releases we send out – partly because we always contact journalists after we have emailed them the press release.

Be friendly but never pushy. Journalists are busy people and you want to try and build a good relationship – also you may want to send them further news.

We always check a release has reached the right person – never assume it has! When we call to check we also explain the bones of the story and often this generates some interest and makes the journalist look out for the press release if we re-send it.

Always follow through with a phone call. Sometimes the publication may have a relevant feature coming up and you’ve just called at the right time. At the very least, it helps them to get to know you and what your organisation does.

With rich pickings of news to choose from, personal contact helps to push your story to the top of the pile.

Examples to help

If you’d like some examples to help you write your press release, you can get an idea from our case studies. You can also see some of the resulting coverage from the releases.

I am a fully-qualified, former journalist so I know what will make a good story and how to write and pitch it in the most effective way. This gives me the benefit of knowing exactly what the media are looking for and how best to deal with them.

Contact us for more information about editorial and PR campaigns. We run campaigns in West Sussex, across London and the South East. We have also run national campaigns, resulting in national and international media coverage.