by helen on July 26, 2011

simiezzzWhat makes a good press release?

If you’ve decided that getting some publicity will make a difference to your profile – either your corporate profile or your own personal profile – I hope today’s post helps you achieve that goal.

I thought it might be interesting to take you through the process of writing a press release. Most of the time, if you call a newsdesk or a journalist to pitch a story idea to them, they ask if you have a press release you can send them. If they are in the middle of something, they might not want to break off and engage in a long conversation with you, so sending them an email with the relevant details helps you to help them. 

Here are my thoughts on what are the relevant details, and a few tips on how you can help make it easy for the person reading your press release to use it (ie publish it).

First, you need to remember that journalists get a lot of calls. And emails. And they have their own ideas about the stories/news they want to write about.

So, if you have done your research properly, hopefully you’ll know the journalist you’ve contacted is interested in your business area. But they’re probably very busy and have limited time to spend on your email. So make it snappy.

Two sides of A4, double spaced used to be the guide length for a press release “in the good old days”. That’s about 300 words. Not a lot is it?

In terms of content, you need to answer the following questions:

  • Who                Who are the key players? Who is affected? Who benefits?
  • What               What is new?
  • Where             Where is it happening? Is location important?
  • When              When is it happening? Is timing important?
  • Why                 Why is it happening? Why should the reader care?
  • How                 How did it come about?

Caroline Black MCIPR has written a useful guide to writing a press release for the Chartered Institute of Public Relations Skills Guides series. Definitely worth a read if you have 5 minutes.

Here’s a press release I wrote last week for a client I do ad-hoc media relations work for – PDR Construction.


Work has now started on two retail projects worth £3m in theYorkshire towns of Barnsley and Mirfield. 

A new Lidl supermarket, with additional space for a branch of fast-growing discount retailer Home Bargains, will breathe new life into the centre of Barnsley creating jobs and replacing the former Co-op Pioneer building, long described as an “eyesore”.

Hull-based contractor PDR Construction is building the £2m scheme, designed byLeeds architects Humphreys Teal Partnership.

PDR Construction director John White said: “The local people are clearly in support of this development, and we look forward to delivering a retail area they can be proud of and which will help revitalise the town centre.”

The project is due for completion in early 2012.

The construction team is also currently on site in Mirfield, working on a £1m refurbishment and extension at the town’s Lidl store on Station Road due for completion in 15 weeks.  

Over the Pennines, PDR is nearing completion of a £1.2m contract to build a new Lidl in Clitheroe. The store is due to open in August.


For further information about PDR Construction, visit www.pdrconstruction.co.uk

Media contact: Helen Kitchen, 07870 213974

So now it’s your turn. If you’d like someone to have a look over your draft release before you pitch it to the media send it through to me at Helen@helenkitchen-pr.co.uk. Sometimes, a second opinion can help.

Image courtesy simiezzz

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