Press Release

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Press Release

A press release is a statement delivered to the media to provide information.

It could be in written format, a video release or image format, but it is a way of officially communicating a message on behalf of the sender, be it a brand, business or individual.

In the good old days, a press release would be fired out and journalists would scramble to react.

They were easier to control. Deadlines were set in stone making it easier to control who published what and when.

But today’s modern media, and the emergence and crucially importance of social media, means the ability to shape the news agenda via a press release is far harder.

Yet the press release, if used properly, remains a crucial way of communicating with the media. It’s an opportunity to communicate with them, to ensure they know who you are, and in the even of them needing an expert in ‘x’ they were impressed enough to make a note of your contact details.

A press release should contact a logo, contact details, a headline, sub-headline, date, an introduction which grabs the attention of the reader, a body of text which tells the story with a quote that is relevant.

Crucially, it should leave the reader wanting to know more. Not to write the story cotained within the release. But to realise that the sender is clearly an authority in the field and could have access to further stories, or an exclusive take on this particular press release.

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Targeted Press Release

Know your audience

The vast majority of press releases are lazy.

Full of self-indulgence, badly lacking a line (or actual story) and fired off to 300 contacts via an email distributor without a second thought for the targetted journalist or the publication.

Instead of the press release resulting in terrific media coverage, they virtually all end up in the modern-day equivalent of the spike – the email trash can.

It doesn’t have to be like that. Properly prepared press releases remain the workhorse for PRs and marketing campaigns.

Journalists are always looking for stories. And with a tiny bit of effort, your press release could become part of a story if you consider who you are sending it too.

The press release should have a clear focus. And consider that a press release with clear focus, written differently but still covering the same subject for multiple media titles, has more chance of trending online.

Onside PR produces bespoke press releases written specifically for the journalist and their media organisation.

We ensure press releases are backed with relevant media collateral, imagery, video, high-resolution logos and relevant backlinks for their SEO benefits.

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Short, Sharp Press Release

Ditch the attachment

For your press releases to have a chance of being published you need a journalist to read it.

That may sound daft but you would be amazed how many PRs send press releases as an email attachment.

The email generally starts with ‘Hi, hope you are having a great day……’ and continues with a load of personalised nonsense from a person you have never met.

It is annoying. Really annoying.

Then you realise that the email, from the person, you have never met but appears determined to wish you well regardless on this autumnal morning, has attached the press release to the bottom of the email.

Delete. Immediately.

Unless the sender is from a seriously official organisation, the police, the Government etc, those attachments are simply never opened. Journalists don’t have time. Can’t be bothered.

Aside from the laziness element, there are serious and obvious security elements. Many IT departments will simply block emails with attachments for fear of carrying spam or a virus.

And that means an automatic fast track trip to the trash can.

Know your audience and tailor the release to the person you are trying to communicate with by including the release within the email.

If you can’t be bothered, why should the journalist?

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Publication Ready
Press Release

Shortage of journalists can be an advantage

The demise of British newspapers is heartbreaking.

Sales have been in decline for years as consumers change the way they choose to digest the news and Fleet Street, certainly, the print version of national newspapers will never be the same again.

In the late 1980s, The UK’s leading newspaper, The Sun sold around 4 million copies every day. In 2019 it sells less than 1.5 million. The Mirror, the Daily Mail and all of the broadsheets have followed similar decline.

The inevitable result of the decline has been the reduced spending in actual journalists. The halcyon days of the 1980s and 90s, the long lunches and lavish expense accounts have gone. These days, you are lucky to have a colleague to eat your lunch with. And now, it really is to eat your lunch, rather than drink it. Things have changed.

The game, as they say, has gone! Well, maybe not. But it is certainly changing.

When Onside PR founder James Fletcher walked into The Daily Mirror newsroom on the 22nd floor of One Canada Square, Canary Wharf, in 1996 it was rammed. Scores of news and sports journalists, feature writers, showbiz and fashion writers, sub-editors, artists, picture executives and of course news, feature and sports desks.

Now, the newsroom, still an amazing place, but sadly lacking in numbers. The online sections of British newspapers, however, are flourishing. Finally, the moneymen have realised this doesn’t have to be the end for newspapers, they just have to change and become media organisations and their online presence can be just as important.

Regional newspapers and trade publications have suffered. There will always be young people who want to be journalists but without the experienced ‘hacks’ it is difficult to see how standards can be maintained.

For Onside PR clients, however, this can be turned into a positive. The lack of physical bodies in the newsroom means fewer journalists have survived to turn press releases into print – or digital-ready copy. So, we do it for them.

Once the media organisation in mind understands our background, we provide print-ready copywritten to house style, that is generally published without the need for alteration.

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