Press release checklist – dos and don’ts

Once you have identified a news story then the next step, often, is to think about putting together a press release.

For any small business or entrepreneur, if you haven’t done, it before it can feel daunting.  So, where do you start?  Here are some key ‘do and don’t’ tips, a mini press release checklist, to help you get the coverage and profile your business deserves.Image

The Dos

  1. Do decide on your primary objectives – do you want coverage in the press and media, back links, to drive traffic to your website.  Your objective will decide what you do in relation to your press release and how you do it.
  2. Do ensure your story actually has news value in it.  Sounds obvious but all too often press releases are just sales letters by another name – make sure you don’t fall into the same trap.
  3. Do write your press release with the most important news up top so that if only the first paragraph were used it would capture the essence of your story.
  4. Do go for quality rather than quantity with your target press and  media – pick out a small number of target press and media and really get to know them.  You can then make tailored approaches with your news stories which will be more effective in getting coverage.
  5. Do research your target press and media look for opportunities wider than just contacting them about your news story.  Is there scope for guest blogs or contributed articles?

The Don’ts:

  1. Don’t stalk journalists and hound them because they have not responded to your approach.
  2. Don’t assume that every press release will get you coverage or the results you seek.
  3. Don’t just rely on your press release to get coverage – look at the range of ways in which you can raise your profile and build that into your ongoing activity.
  4. Don’t forget to share your news directly with key audiences and stakeholders and to promote it on your website and via social networks.
  5. Don’t embargo a press release without having a very good reason – that will just annoy journalists and damage your reputation.

In summary: Get to know your target press and media so that you are as relevant as possible when approaching them with a news story.

What press release dos and don’ts are on your list?

A more detailed 65 question press release checklist is available at:

Want better results from your current PR efforts or ideas and help to get more profile for your business?  Then, sign up for the PR audit at:

Debbie Leven is a PR Coach who helps UK small business service providers raise their profile and protect their reputation – online, offline and in the media.


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