The Think Tank Initiative’s Policy Engagement and Communications (PEC) Programme is hosting a Virtual Write Shop on “Writing News Releases that Make an Impact” during the week of 11 August 2014.
Press releases, news releases, media releases and press statements are all different names for the same basic idea — a written or recorded communication directed at specific target audiences for the purpose of announcing something you deem newsworthy. These audiences can be the news media, donors, supporters, governments and/or other key stakeholders. Back in the day, they were sent out in the mail. Then they were faxed.
The traditional press release — mailed, faxed or handed out personally to your stakeholders — is increasingly being replaced with online news releases sent out to hundreds or thousands of stakeholders by email or through a hired press release distribution agency. This kind of news release takes advantage of the internet to include links to websites, other resources and photos and videos to tell the story in a multimedia way. In our Virtual Write Shop this week, we will try to look at both types of releases.
Three of our PEC think tanks share press releases they have produced and ask for your frank assessments of how they could have done it better. You can make those comments in the space below.
First, Felix Murithi of the Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis (KIPPRA) shares this press release from 2011.
Second, Sola Oluwadare of AfriHeritage Institution in Nigeria shares this press release on AfriHeritage’s rebranding in 2013.
Third, Constantine Shirati of the Science, Technology and Innovation Policy Research Organization (STIPRO) in Tanzania shares this account of how his think tanks disseminates press releases and this press release for your critique.
List of Resources
You can find suggested resources on the topic here, and we welcome your thoughts in the space below.
- 12 steps to writing news: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/
- Writing the news story in simple steps: http://www.thenewsmanual.net/
- 5 Easy Tricks to Help You Write Catchy Headlines: http://goinswriter.com/catchy-headlines/
- Tips on writing press releases: http://www.cropwildrelatives.org/fileadmin/www.cropwildrelatives.org/In_situ_Manual/successful_communication.pdf
- Difference between a traditional press release and online news release: http://service.prweb.com/_res/u/downloads/OnlineNewsReleaseIN.pdf
- Tips and Glossary of Terms: http://www.prnewswire.com/knowledge-center/press-release-101-tips-glossary-of-terms.html
- How to Optimize your Press Release for Social Sharing and SEO (search engine optimization): http://www.prnewswire.com/knowledge-center/how-to-optimize-your-press-release-for-social-sharing-seo.html
How to write an effective press release: http://www.theguardian.com/
small-business-network/2014/ jul/14/how-to-write-press- release
8 tips for writing press releases that journalists (and bloggers) read: http://www.prdaily.com/Main/
Articles/8_tips_for_writing_ press_releases_that_ journalists_9570.aspx
20 tips and tricks for writing SEO-friendly press releases: http://www.shiftcomm.com/
8 tips for writing a great press release: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/
Archive on press releases: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/
8 principles for writing a non-profit press release: http://www.causevox.com/blog/
This post has been produced as part of the Think Tank Initiative’s Policy Engagement and Communications (PEC) programme. However, these are the author’s personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect those of TTI. You can find all ongoing outputs related to this project via the PEC mini-site on Research to Action. To get updates from the PEC programme and be part of the discussion sign-up to our RSS or email updates. You can also follow our progress via Twitter using the following hashtag #ttipec
Image courtesy of PR News Online.