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When to send a press release

We’re frequently asked: “when should I send out a press release?” The time to do this is when you have something topical and newsworthy to say. All releases need a strong ‘hook’ – in other words, an angle that will appeal to editors and give your story a good chance of gaining coverage. So, what would be considered newsworthy?

For starters, perhaps your company is launching a new product or service? Or, you’re launching a new company from scratch? So long as it’s not a “me too” venture, such as yet another pizzeria opening in a saturated area that already has 20, you should issue a release highlighting the benefits and applications of your particular product / service / market entrant.

If whatever you’re launching is technically innovative or it’s being marketed in an unusual or high profile way, you could have the basis of a release. In this case, make sure you don’t fill your release with unnecessary jargon or marketing-speak that could alienate journalists.

Other company activities could be newsworthy. Have you appointed any new members of senior staff? Won a large contract or client? Become involved in a sponsorship deal? Are you expanding or opening a new outlet? Have you received an accolade or won an industry award? If so, the trade press might be interested.

Forthcoming events can provide ideal material for announcements. Are you holding any open days, speakers’ panels, rallies or debates? Charity events or donations from your organisation to good causes are worth highlighting, as are initiatives that benefit the wider community. If celebrities or public figures are involved, your newsworthiness will increase. The level of interest will relate to the stature of your company and the nature of your event. If a famous chocolate factory held an open day with lots of freebies, it would be of national press interest. If Bloggs the Grocers held a similar event, the local paper would be the main target.

When you’re seeking newsworthy stories, don’t forget one of your best assets – your personnel. Have any employees been recognised for outstanding achievements? Do they have unusual hobbies? Have they received any unusual requests or orders from customers that your company has fulfilled? The local press might opt for a quirky human-interest story.

Remember to monitor current affairs for events into which you can hook. Can you associate your company with upcoming holidays, public projects, or fads? Statements that could be perceived as controversial, such as stating your organisation's stance on a public issue, might gain coverage. Have you conducted research that gives you statistics you could release?

Finally, if you’re targeting different press sectors with the same story, write multiple releases rather than issuing one ‘catch all’ release. An announcement focusing on the metallurgy used to create your new range of stainless steel pans would be of interest to the trade press. However, it would not be considered overly thrilling by the national broadsheets and women’s magazines.

You need to think carefully about what you’re announcing and who it’s aimed at, rather than using the ‘scattergun’ approach and sending untargeted material to journalists. Although our list of newsworthy topics is by no means exhaustive, it should provide a good starting point.

How to write a press release
When to send a press release
Contacting the media

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