By Sparkle Communications
Knowing how to write a press release is a handy skill. A press release is a clear, straightforward format in which to bring news to the attention of an editor or journalist.
My Journalistic Formula – Think:
1) HEADLINE: Consume content/ outlet that you’re writing for to get the style.
2) IN LINE/ OR TOP BULLET POINTS What would I tell a friend first out of this press release/article? What’s the most interesting fact and relevant today? What will entice and entertain the reader? What will make theme want to read the piece?
3) ELABORATE ON STORY
4) QUOTES FROM THOSE INVOLVED
5) OTHER INFORMATION AND BACKGROUND YOU WANT TO SHARE
6) CALL TO ACTION
7) CONTACT DETAILS
8) NOTES TO EDITORS: Including bios of those involved and any extra details
9) ATTACHMENTS Make sure you include a high resolution photo (ideally one horizontal and one portrait)
The tips below will show you how to set out a release by one of corporate partners, and contains common conventions to follow.
The first question to ask is ‘Is it news?’ News is news if it is something that is not known before. News value is relative: a minor story can make the paper or provide a few seconds of air time on a slow news day, but will be binned when a major story breaks. If that happens it is better to wait a day or two.
· Write a first draft and polish later. Write in a snappy, lively way like journalists do. Make it clear, concise and complete.
· Look for synonyms instead of repeating a phrase or word. Out with waffle, hard-to-grasp jargon, clichés.
· Keep sentences short, no more than 25-30 words and not more than two or three to a paragraph. Brevity is your watchword.
· Put the main facts in the opening paragraph. Say who, why, where, when. · Write subsequent points in descending order of importance.
· Include, if possible, a direct quotation. Use double quote marks and keep it short – a single sentence of about 20 words will usually be enough. And don’t forget to send a photograph.
· Keep the release to a single sheet of A4 paper if you can, but if the copy runs to a second page don’t break a paragraph at the foot of the page, take the whole paragraph to the next page or start a new one.
· Give the story a snappy heading with a present-tense verb, saying what the release is about, preferably in a single line of capitals. The heading will help to ‘sell ‘the story and it is worth spending time to get it right.
· Write in a factual style and avoid flowery adjectives and superlatives like exciting, lovely, superb. Don’t write puffery containing blatant advertising messages.
· The story should carry a date of issue at the top. Write the date like this: Monday 11 July.
· Email is the quickest way to send a press release but be sure to include the release in the body of the text and not as an attachment.
· Give brief background notes on the company. Include correctly captioned photographs where appropriate, or say they are available on request.
· The release should carry a printed heading like ‘News Release’. Print it in house colours and style and include the logo if there is one.
* Do not forget to include an image to accompany your release.
Sophie Mei Lan – Media Consultant, PR Coach and Digital Journalist – Bio Specialising in Holistic Health, Social Affairs and Influencer Marketing
Winner of PR Week/ Third Sector Campaign for Good Award 2019, Blog of the Year 2020 and Digital Enterprise Top 100 Businesses 2021
– Editor of Sparkle Up North Magazine, Yorkshire Families Magazine and Mind, Body and Sparkle with 100k followers and 24 million views on Youtube – Founder of Sparkle Communications and Sparkle Influencer Marketing Community of 500 influencers
– Mind and Body Fitness Published Author, Feature Writer and Newspaper Columnist
Sophie Mei Lan is a multi-award-winning Journalist, Author and Media Consultant. She has a passion to tell stories from seldom-heard people as well as offering her own candid lived experience.
Sophie runs Evoke Media Group, having made and presented documentaries for Channel 4 news, ITV News, and BBC News, as well as working freelance as an online journalist nationally for the likes of Mirror Online, HuffPost, Metro and The Big Issue North.
She started her career in media relations and PR when she identified a need for businesses, brands and organisations with a soul to share their voices from the heart of their values but with a multi-platform journalistic approach to reach far and wide with a contemporary approach to their communications channels.
She has worked with the likes of NHS commissioning bodies, global entertainment productions, charities and SMEs.
Sophie is a big believer in the power of optimising online and print media to reach, include and engage a variety of audiences. In 2019 Sophie won a PR Week/ Third Sector award for an Anxiety vlog she made which went viral, reaching 2 billion people worldwide, beating off multi-million pound advertising campaigns and in 2020 she went on to win Blogger of the Year.
Sophie runs her own mental health, wellbeing and feel-good fitness channels with more than 23 million views and a combined following of 100k+ as well as Yorkshire Families Magazine to help all families get active and overcome barriers to learn, work and thrive as well as and Sparkle Up North Up Business Magazine and a Community of 500 influencers from across the North of England. She also writes regular newspaper columns for Yorkshire Evening Post on mental health and family life as well as a Mind & Body fitness column for Yorkshire Weekly newspapers and in 2020 her first published book was released documenting her life from “self-harm to self-love to be truly successful.”
Sophie is born and bred in Yorkshire, she runs her businesses working from home in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, where she also coaches digital skills and media as well as creating content for clients, all whilst looking after two young children, being active within her local community and she enjoys a range of world dance styles as well ass studying fitness, yoga & mental health in her spare time.
She is a regular spokesperson on radio, TV and in the press talking about mental health, wellbeing, diverse families and her passions in ‘transforming her disabilities into super powers.’
Here are some of Sophie Mei Lan’s main accolades:
● Post-Graduate diploma in Broadcast Journalism (University of Salford, MediaCity)
● National Council for Training of Journalist (NCTJ) Accredited (and award-winning)
● BA Hons in Philosophy and Italian with Social Sciences (University of Manchester)
● Other Qualifications: Mental Health and Gym Instructor – Level 2 and Level 3
● Interests: 5 A-levels and 13 G.C.S.E’s in foreign languages, English Lang/Lit sport, dance, bellydance qualification, Zumba instructor, Breastfeeding Peer Supporter Level 2 and Beauty.
● Blogger of the Year 2020
● Top 10 Yorkshire Influencer 2020
● PR Week/ Third Sector Campaign For Good Award 2019
● Business Advantage Award 2019
● Top 10 Parent Vlogger 2018
● NCTJ Awards for Excellence: Scoop of The Year Award and Campaign of the Year Award
● Amnesty International Media Award
● Highly commended: IRN Commercial Radio Award and The Guardian/ The Observer Student Media Award