I have chosen three different PR work items that I have done, both for Different PR and Source Marketing Communications.
These press releases have been written for different clients, in different agencies. This is the reason why they are written in such different styles.
Although there are specific rules when writing press releases, some clients demand a certain type of approach. It is not always up to the PR professional to follow the “journalist friendly” guidelines that we are taught of –this is something I learnt and only came across very recently.
You might be wondering: are press releases still important? And the answer is yes – they’re useful when there is an event, a new product launch, or something worth publicising. They also alert the public and provide important information (Small Business Chron).
The three press releases that you can find below are, in my opinion, newsworthy. I do work with accounts that do not want this type of approach and what happens is that there is little or no media coverage.
The first news release was written with Different PR, for Ashville College in Harrogate (North Yorkshire):
Ashville Junior School Pupils “Monkey Around” During Activities to Mark Chinese New Year
(For Immediate Release)
Pupils from Harrogate’s Ashville Junior School were encouraged to “monkey around” for a day, as they marked the Chinese New Year – the year of the monkey.
The school day started for the pupils – who arrived in school wearing red and gold items of clothing – with an assembly led by some of the Chinese boarders from Ashville College.
During this session they learned about the Chinese zodiac and how the 12 animals that feature on it – including the monkey – got to be there.
They also found out how the Chinese celebrate their new year and were given a demonstration of a dragon dance, as well as being shown how to use traditional chopsticks.
The afternoon started with a workshop by Harrogate-based ‘Six Harmonies Lion Dance Crew’, who gave a breath-taking demonstration of a traditional lion dance. The group then led a number of workshops throughout the afternoon.
Ashville Junior School Headteacher Simon Bailey said: “Ashville is an international community, and our junior school pupils were given a wonderful insight into a different culture from our international students who know the cultures so well.
“This is part of new programme which features an International day of cultural understanding each term.
“Learning about other cultures and traditions helps broaden minds and gives our children a greater understanding and tolerance of others.”
“It was a full day of ‘monkey business’ and the highlight for both pupils and staff was the demonstration by Six Harmonies Lion Dance Crew, which was simply superb.
- Founded in 1877, Ashville College is a leading independent day and boarding school for boys and girls aged 3-18 years. It is located in the North Yorkshire spa town of Harrogate, and consists of three schools, Pre-Prep, Junior and Senior. Ashville College is a member of HMC, IAPS and part of the Methodist Independent Schools Group.
For further press information please call:
Kate Linfoot, Ashville College, on 01423 724 819
David Simister, Different PR, on 0845 389 2626
Picture Caption: Lion King! Members of the Six Harmonies Lion Dance Crew proved a huge hit with Ashville Junior School pupils.
Analysis of release 1
This release had local coverage in the Harrogate Advertiser – a local newspaper that covers the Harrogate region and has a potential audience of 17,640.
For Ashville College, its main objective is promoting Asvhille’s diversity to adults who have children and live in the Harrogate district. How did this release meet the college’s goal? By being sent out to the appropriate outlets (with suitable targets), it is more likely that it will be released. When the senior boarder students are mentioned, the school is being promoted to potential foreign students that can become interested. It also shows that the school is multicultural and values other traditions by including them in the school’s agenda. What is written in the release makes Ashville College come across as a fun, engaging place that promotes different activities for the children.
The second news release was also written with Different PR, but this time for Fulneck School in Pudsey (West Yorkshire):
Fulneck “Twitchers” Participate In World’s Largest Wildlife Survey
(for immediate release)
Young ornithologists from a Pudsey school have been taking part in the world’s largest wildlife survey.
The year 5 and 6 pupils from Fulneck School were amongst thousands of pupils nationwide assisting the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds’ (RSPB) in its Big School’s Birdwatch.
The annual survey, part of the charity’s Big Bird Watch is being held this year from January 4 to February 12, is a guide to the numbers of birds across the UK and helps assess if any species are declining in numbers.
So far 184,477 surveys have been submitted with 286,244 people taking part in the project, and 584,549,900 birds being spotted.
The information is a valuable tool for conservationists looking into changes in numbers of birds using gardens as a winter habitat.
During their bird watching studies, held in science lessons, the Fulneck pupils recorded seeing robins, black birds, blue tits, great tits in the school’s grounds.
Camilla Wold, Fulneck School science teacher said: “This is my first year at Fulneck School and the first time we have participated in this important wildlife survey.
“We have carried out the survey in science lessons, and, because it has been going for many years now, we can compare the findings and learn from them.
“The students really enjoyed taking part and they learned about the most common birds that can be found in our gardens and some of the endangered species. It was both fun and educational.”
- Founded in 1753, Fulneck School is a historic independent school for boys and girls aged three to eighteen. Located in the Leeds suburb of Pudsey, West Yorkshire, in the heart of England, the school is set within a peaceful village community and settlement dating back to 1739. With a strong Christian ethos, it consists of three schools, Early Year, Junior and Senior and sixth form.
For Further Information, Contact:
Lizzie Gibson, Fulneck School, on 0113 387 12 57
David Simister, Different PR, 0845 389 26 26
Picture Captions: Watch The Birdie! Year 5 and 6 Fulneck School pupils take part in this year’s Big School’s Birdwatch
Analysis of release 2
This release had local coverage in the Telegraph & Argus – a local newspaper that covers the Bradford district and has a potential audience of 15,913.
For Fulneck School, its main objective is promoting Fulneck’s engagement in different activities, and alike the first release, targeting adults who have children and live in the Fulneck district. How did this release meet the school’s goal? When it was sent out to applicable outlets (with proper targets). Participating in the world’s largest wildlife survey, makes the readers create a concrete idea of the school, also influencing potential students. It shows that the school is involved in interesting projects that have a well-known reputation.
The third news release was written with Source Marketing Communications, for Beacon Bingo – one of the biggest gaming organisations in Europe, more specifically to its venue in Redcar:
May 6 2016
BEACON’S GOT TALENT
Local bingo club launches search for talented entertainers
Beacon Bingo club in Redcar, is appealing for budding entertainers to take part in ‘Beacon’s Got Talent’ a new national talent competition which is being held at Beacon Bingo’s eight clubs around the country over the coming weeks.
Winning acts in each club competition will go forward to the national final at Beacon Bingo in Cricklewood, the world’s largest bingo club, where they will perform in front of an audience of around 2000 people. The winning act in the grand final of the competition will receive a cash prize of £3000 and a contract to perform at all Beacon Bingo’s eight clubs. There are also runners up prizes of £1500 and £500.
Heats at Beacon Bingo Redcar are taking place every Tuesday during May – 10, 17, 24 and 31. Winners of each heat will qualify for the club final which takes place on 7 June.
Roxburgh Richmond, Beacon Bingo Redcar general manager, said: “Whatever their talent, whether it is singing, dancing, telling jokes or something a little quirkier, we’d like local entertainers to step forward and show us what they can do. If you think you have what it takes, don’t miss out on this exciting opportunity!”
Entry forms for the competition are available at the club, which is located on 14-17 the Esplanade, Redcar, Cleveland, TS10 3AE.
About Beacon Bingo
Beacon Bingo is part of the Praesepe Group of companies, one of Europe’s largest and most experienced gaming organisations operating 8 Beacon Bingo clubs, 145 Cashino adult gaming centres and 7 seaside family entertainment centres.
Praesepe is based in Milton Keynes and employs 1,600 people across its bingo and gaming venues.
Something for the family
Family entertainment centres in Ilfracombe, Burnham-on-Sea, Margate, Hunstanton, Wells-next-the-Sea and Weston Super Mare offer the latest pusher games, video slots, racing games all available for adults and children alike.
Press contacts: Steve Clark or Martha Phillips at Source Marketing
Analysis of release 3
This release had regional coverage in the Evening Gazette – a newspaper that covers the North East, Middlesbrough and Teesside regions, with an actual reachof potential audience of 24,040.
For Beacon Bingo, its main objective is promoting the talent competition to adults (clients and potential clients) that live near Redcar’s Beacon Bingo. How did this release meet the company’s goal? In this particular situation, it was important to personalise de release to every location where Beacon Bingo is (8 different locations).
When the competition is mentioned, the company and the specific venues are promoted. Despite publicising Beacon Bingo itself, there is also the component of the competition which is appealing because of the cash prize. What is written in the release makes Beacon’s Got Talent a known competition that will reward talents with great monetary values.
Overall analysis of the releases
Why are these good examples of modern news releases?
The first press release is a good example because it goes straight to the point, laying out all the essential information (answering the questions: who, what, when, where, why and how). Since it is a press release, it is obvious that the organisation’s promotion is the main aim, however, the promotion in this release is very subtle.
The second release is also very straightforward and lays out the important details: the project is explained, as well as the school’s participation, along with the teacher’s quote (making the release more “personal”).
With the third release, narrowing it to the particular location (in the body of the text) where the competition takes place, is a smart move. The more targeted the press release is, more likely it will be in the newspaper. This is something I will always try to do when writing my press releases that aim locals or regions.
One of the tips from Articulate Marketing is to get to the point. The three releases respect this and start with an opening strong paragraph.
All the three releases target specific audiences, while having high written standards. This allows journalists to pick up what they want for the piece (it can be some of it or the whole release), changing a little or nothing at all. When the releases were sent out, a few pictures were attached to the file, which gives the journalists the option to easily download them and use them in the article. Newswire advises to use local keywords that will help get attention of local media. If the press release is strategically shared on social media, the community and the local audience will be interested. If key-words that are relevant to my industry are used, along with the specific locations, there is not much to get wrong.
When working within different agencies, it is only natural that you start to pick up different styles and developing your own. In between styles, I consider to have delivered a professional press release with little amends, none concerning the written skills. The Hunffington Post states that press releases should be grammatically flawless because one single mistake can dissuade a reporter from taking the company seriously.
The focus I chose for the first two stories would always cover the schools’ promotion, which could eventually generate in new students (through influence). For the last release, the focus was on the competition initiated by the company, also aiming at the clubs’ promotion (generating new costumers). All of these techniques and styles of writing should incorporate features like key-words or tags, that can significantly increase the likelihood of the press release appearing with search-engine results.
- Focusing On a Local Market: How to Target Your Press Release, Newswire, at http://www.newswire.com/blog/focusing-on-a-local-market-how-to-geotarget-your-press-release
- Harrogate Pupils Celebrate Chinese New Year 2016, Harrogate Advertiser, at http://www.harrogateadvertiser.co.uk/news/harrogate-pupils-celebrate-chinese-new-year-2016-1-7722460
- Importance of press releases, Small Business Chron, at http://smallbusiness.chron.com/importance-press-release-80060.html
- Pupils take part in world’s biggest wildlife survey, Telegraph and Argus, at http://www.thetelegraphandargus.co.uk/education/education_news/14270233.Pupils_take_part_in_world_s_biggest_wildlife_survey/?ref=mac
- 8 tips for writing a great press release, Huffington Post, at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/zach-cutler/press-release-tips_b_2120630.html
- 62 ways to improve your press release, Articulate Marketing, at http://www.articulatemarketing.com/62-ways-to-improve-your-press-releases