Katie Goodfellow

CIPR Learn: Writing Effective Press Releases – by Katie Goodfellow


Every day’s a school day at O’Leary PR and while we are pretty proud of our core skills – we’re never complacent so we make time to attend workshops and seminars to keep minds sharp and our skills honed.

The live CIPR webinars are designed to equip PR practitioners with the core skills to get ahead in public relations.

Most recently I took part in ‘Writing Effective Press Releases’ with Colin Kelly.

Former journalist Colin Kelly presented a useful hour webinar covering everything from drafting press releases to tips on selling it in. Bringing a journalists view of a press release was really interesting and made me think about ways in which I can make copy interesting to a journalist who may know nothing about the product/business. Out of all the releases sent worldwide only 1% of them actually get used, with the other 99% being sent to junk – and who has time to waste on a press release that ends up straight in the trash folder?

The top three tips I learnt from this webinar:

  1. Implement the ‘So What?’ test every time you want to write a press release
  • Is this news? Is there actually something to tell, if not don’t send it. Simple.
  • What do you want from it? Think about what you want to achieve from this release and who can help. Send it to the right people.
  1. Think about if a press release is the best way to convey your message
  • If it’s not newsworthy enough, share it direct with the consumer on social media.
  • Think about other formats your story can be sent in – perhaps a photograph would convey more than words?
  1. Make friends with journalists!
  • Journalists need stories and PRs need coverage.
  • Identifying journalists who share an interest in your story and building a relationship will be more valuable than mass emailing. Bob on the Sports Desk doesn’t care about your new shoe shop opening!

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