Is It News?

Publicity is a powerful part of the marketing mix and the press release is the de facto tool for pitching a story to the media. But why do some press releases work and others fail? How do you write one which grabs the interest of readers?

Writing press releases that really work

Press releases can be a powerful tool – but, in many cases, they fail to hit the mark. This book looks at how you write press releases that really get results. Available now – in print and on Kindle.

Is It News?

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Free extract

Download an entire, unabridged, chapter from Is It News? ‘Writing compelling headlines’ explains why a headline can make or break a press release – and shows you how to write headlines which sell the whole story, at a glance.

Is It News?

Peter Labrow and Robert Clarke

Ah, the press release. Much maligned, this most humble of publicity tools so very often doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Perhaps this is because some people think ‘press releases don’t work any more’, that the media has changed so much that they no longer have a purpose, or that just social media makes more sense – or some other reason. The reality is that press releases can be as effective as they always were – when these are well written.

An authoritative guide to writing

Unlike many ‘guides to writing press releases’ this book doesn’t take a superficial view, with obvious but vague advice such as ‘write a compelling headline’. Of course you need a compelling headline – but what does that mean in practical terms? What actually makes a headline compelling? What’s the process for writing one? This book looks at topics in depth and delivers advice you can act on. It also looks at things which inform or affect how a press release should be written – such as distribution, measurement, working with stakeholders, connecting with influencers, expanding distribution and much more.

  • Identifying what is and isn’t news
  • How to focus on what will make your news story compelling: the heart of the story
  • Adopting the right language style
  • Making news stories resonate with readers
  • Using quotations, research and spokespeople to build credibility
  • Search engine optimisation
  • Press release structure and formats
  • Managing quality
  • Building a wider campaign around a news story
  • How publicity has changed
  • Understanding PESO (where media is paid, earned, shared and owned)
  • Press releases, social media, online influencers and publicity campaigns
  • Working with stakeholders
  • Setting goals and measuring results
  • Competitor research
  • Distribution and influencer marketing
  • Managing contacts and building relationships
  • Tools for better publicity

Years of experience, in book form

This book is written by two people with extensive publicity experience – not only helping organisations promote themselves but also running a specialist news distribution service. It distils down around sixty years’ collective experience in the field.

Free press release templates

We’ve created a few useful templates, to help you when preparing press releases. These include templates for: a press release; requesting opt-ins to mailing lists, following up opt-outs to mailings lists; getting approvals – and checklists for taking the brief and checking everything is good to go before you distribute your news.

About the authors

Peter Labrow has over thirty years’ experience in business-to-business marketing, content-creation and publicity. Peter’s career includes managing creative teams within advertising agencies and working in marketing management roles up to director level within multinational companies. Over his career, Peter has written countless press releases and articles for magazines and news outlets. Today, Peter runs his own online content-creation business, Content Productions. Robert Clarke has marketed learning services over a thirty-year career; in 2001 he founded the learning-sector newswire, Learning News. Robert has helped to build market-leading brands and start-up businesses – marketing IT training, performance support, project management, online learning and learning analytics. As part of running a newswire, Robert reviews a great amount of press releases and his experiences led him to co-write this book.