Press releases are one of the main two tools of PR (the other one being journo requests). Typically they are written documents used to inform the press of launches, news and provide tips, tricks or insight.
Writing up & sending out a press release is a proactive way to secure press coverage (whereas journo requests are reactive).
At Unlockd, we tend to categorise press releases into four press release types. Each with a different format and different content and intention.
A News Press Release is telling the press about a new brand, product, service or event.
A Personal Interest Story Press Release is telling a personal story - from rags to riches, to founders stories to overcoming adversity.
An Expert Press Release is a press release from one or more experts giving insight, tips or tricks about a (usually topical) subject.
A Brand / Product / Service / Event Press Release is a boring one. It’s for promoting existing brands, products, services or events. You can also use it to invite journalists to review them too.
The most common and most used Press Release is a News Press Release – telling the media about new products, services, events or stories. Typically, you can get all sorts of different articles from these press releases (depending on what you’re promoting).
If you send a News Press Release in informing the media of a new product, service or event, they might write up and publish a News Article.Sometimes they'll take information from the press releases directly and other times they might ask you for more details or interview you.Example: Imperfect Life featured the release of Best Kept Secret's new Bridgerton-inspired product
If you send a News Press Release in informing the media of a new product, service or event, they might ask to review and feature that review in their publication.Example: Upon receiving a News Press Release about Jim & Tonic's new drink product, PC Gamer asked to review the product and published the review.
If you send a News Press Release in informing the media of a new product, service or event, they might feature the product, service or event in a line-up (they might reach out for more information or to review or just published based upon the contents of the press release).Example: Upon receiving a News Press Release about Anges De Sucre's new products, Sheerluxe listed them in a line-up 'Cool things for parents & kids'
A Personal Interest Story Press Release is focused on telling the story of a person or group of people.
It needs to be interesting, juicy and typically sensational.
It’s peppered with photos (5+ at least) and quote from the person / people involved.
Sometime, when signing off these press release the subjects wince (it’s unnerving to see your story on paper – usually sensationalised). Hang in there! There’s also the temptation to litter the release with brand and product plugs – don’t – the content is the story – the plug will come in the article(s) itself / themselves.
If local or national press are interested in the story, they'll want to interview the subject / subjects and gather any photos or media. The published results tend to be full-page features and include a nice brand / product / service plug. Example: The Mirror interviewed and featured Kiera O'Mara's personal story of her inspiration behind her new product for her website Mama Designs
The least sexy press release is the brand/product/service/event press release – it’s an information sheet about your existing brand, product(s), service(s) or event(s).
They are a way to promote your brand, products, services or events to the media and you’ll also invite reviews too (if possible).
These typically take a while to result in press (as they aren’t usually time-sensitive and journalists tend to work to a content calendar for line-ups / listicles and of course, gift guides).
If journalists are keen in your brand, product, service or event they might want to review it and feature it in a review feature.There's no guarantee of a feature although they will typically tell you what type of coverage you could expect (if they like it). Example: Upon receiving a Product Press Release about Owl & Lark's new product, T3 asked to review the product and published their review.
Journalists may feature your brand, product, service or event in a relevant line-up (sometimes they ask to review, other times they won't).These can take some time to be published (weeks or even months) and if the journalist doesn't want/need to review, it's unlikely they will tell you of the published piece in advance.Example: Upon receiving a Product Press Release about Havah's new products, Women & Home listed them in a line-up 'Top sport bras'
Journalists are always looking for expert content – from comments, tips & tricks and insight to interviews, research and survey results.Sending out this content regularly in the form of Expert Press Releases offer the media both interesting content and makes sure that the journalist is aware of you if they need your expertise for other current or future articles.
These are best sent out when connected to a news item (newsjacking) or upcoming awareness day or period.
It’s always best to include a biog and headshot of the expert(s) providing their insight.
It’s very usual for these to not be picked up immediately – if at all.
We’d suggest you use them as part of building a content library – to use for blogs, other press releases (especially when tied to current affairs or cycles) and for future journo requests.
Journalists can take your content and use it in a feature they are working on. Your comments could make up a line or two in the article or (in the example below) be basis for the entire article. Example: Upon receiving an Expert Press Release from Charisse Cooke, entitled "12 days of Sexmas", the Mirror interviewed Charisse and wrote up an article.
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