PR Tips in 2016 – Press releases, templates, samples

1) It’s the 231st day of the year so I’m going to share some PR tips that have worked for me. Each one in a tweet.

2) Be aware of how media works in 2016. Journalists doing more stories for less money, less thanks and being stuck at desks

3) Inbox journalism is what it is for the majority of the media these days. Press releases via email, seen in email clients

4) Journalists do not have time for you to uhm and ah on the phone or via email and fail to get to the point quickly

5) Unless you have a preexisting GOOD relationship with a journalist you are not a priority item in their 10k strong email inbox

6) So what you need is to get your press release email opened and make it easy for the journalist to copy and paste it into a draft

7) A good press release therefore has a really good subject but more importantly, has an offer of content that interests journalists

8) Money, jobs, growth, data, a viable exclusive are all good offerings

9) Subject line: You live and die by the subject line though. 9 – 14 words is optimal to get attention

10) Subject line: If it’s a pitch I start with Pitch: if an intro then Intro: and then I treat the rest like a front page headline

11) Subject line: An example: “Pitch: Irish Company TechCorp announces record growth, doubling of workforce”

12) Body: I generally start with main points of the press release in bullet points:
Workforce Doubles
Rapid Growth in 12 months

13) Body: Anchor/Establish the PR: April 12th, Irish Company TechCorp has today announced growth results and 15 new jobs

14) Body: Then go into more detail but treat every word like an exhalation of air you’ll never get back. Short valuable paragraphs

15) Body: Quotes from employees not “the company” are important. Humans need to be in each media story, it creates affinity

16) Body: e.g. ‘Speaking on the jobs TechCorp CEO Damien Mulley said “We’re delighted to expand our amazing team” ‘

17) Body: I prefer a factual paragraph, paragraph with a quote, factual paragraph, then another paragraph with a quote. YMMV etc.

18) Body: Being prideful in the quotes is good, being arrogant is not. Don’t be a tosser at least in the press release.

19) Body: Overall in the quotes and the paragraphs be succinct. I write my PR like they’re self contained articles. Tell a story

20) Footer: Include contact details, email and phone. Include other facts/data or links to data. Always make it easy for a journalist

21) Spellcheck. Then spellcheck again. You are blind to any errors in the piece now so get a third party to look at it.

22) We didn’t cover press lists yet. Do you have one? A good, clean one? Mine is great but has taken years to collate and clean.

23) news@ newsdesk@ finance@ business@ are the generics. If sending to specialists only send if correct topic.

24) Photos: While most mailboxes can take large attachments now, you may be best off linking to dropbox/web copies of photos

25) Photos: High quality, well lit photos have a much higher of getting used. Ones with fun/action especially cos most are so dull

26) Whitelist your mailshots. By that I mean don’t use your work or GMail email as the mailservers will see you mass mailing.

27) There are various services out there for sending whitelisted emails. They’re cheap but guarantee delivery. Mailchimp etc.

28) Everything.

29) Timing is. Don’t send press releases on a Friday evening, Saturday or after 4pm on weekdays really. Know sectional deadlines.

30) A great press release can still not get coverage due to all kinds of reasons, an utterly crap press release will NEVER get used

31) I think that’s it for now.

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