As anyone in the industry will tell you, there’s an art to press release writing. Sure, you’d expect a freelance copywriting website to tell you that, but after 15 years’ in the industry, I can say with some authority, it’s very true.
In its simplest form, press release writing is about storytelling. PR professionals will work hard to find the most newsworthy and strong angle, using it as a hook.
Done correctly, it will translate into column inches in newspapers and magazines, as well as feature on websites and on social media platforms. If you’re looking for broadcast coverage, then opt for a press release writing service UK that has great contacts within radio and TV too.
But in recent years, a new kind of approach has emerged. This is the placement of stories onto third party websites, and it’s very different to PR. If you ever wondered what is press release writing, then it’s time to read on….
How does story placement differ to press release writing?
PR value is so high, because it’s hard to generate. A press release writer will have spent years developing their craft, likely holding a degree in PR or journalism. They will be a talented writer, with a strong sense for news. They will also have contacts throughout the media.
It’s this perfect combination, that helps get your story in the press.
In contrast, someone who simply places stories on websites does not need any professional experience, talent or qualifications. They don’t have to be a press release writer (let alone a good writer) or even understand the media. They simply need to hobble a few words together, mention your website or brand and then try and find a willing website to place it on.
There are millions of blogs and generic websites that are desperate for content, willing to accept this. And yes, it’s one way to achieve link-building. But ask yourself, is this really the quality and standard you want to be associated with?
This, of course, is not to be confused with writers for hire, that specialise in developing one-off strong stories. They might spend days researching the industry, to ghost-write a leadership piece on your behalf. These are often seen on high-profile websites like; Forbes, Entrepreneur and the Huffington Post. These are considered to be highly credible, but please also note – these websites do not accept product placement or mentions of your brand. The only place you can do this is in the bi-line. It can therefore often be arduous work for very little outcome.
The magic of PR
In contrast, PR is editorial coverage generated from ‘goodwill’. It requires a story told well, distributed to the right contacts at the right time. But even then, there’s no guarantee that your press release will be picked up.
It’s this delicate balance that makes PR so credible. Unlike advertising which is paid-for space, or link-building, which is about driving traffic, you can’t “buy” your way into the media with PR.
It relies upon a good story and a number of other elements to come together, such as:
- Timing – contacting journalists before they go to press
- Contacts – knowing who to contact in the first place
- Pitching – understanding the best angle to pitch the story
- Images – strong video and images will increase the chances of your story being picked up
- Professionalism – having a third party, PR agency or press release writing service UK pitch your story to a journalist
- A slow news day – this will help your chances of getting your story in the press
- Competition – journalists won’t cover stories that are too similar to others they have recently covered
- Frequency – if you featured in the press last week or month, there’s a good chance they won’t want to cover you again so soon
A quick search online will throw up plenty of public relations examples, of good press release writing versus poorly placed link-building. The contrast is often stark.
A quick summary…
One of the great joys of the digital age is that there’s more platforms than ever for sharing content. But press release writing should not be confused with generic click-bait.
PR is a profession, one that understands the balance between journalism, publicity and the media. And yes, while it’s harder to generate coverage, it is also far more credible and valuable when achieved.
PR is editorial generated from goodwill. It cannot be bought, bartered or fudged. It is editorially driven and therefore holds greater kudos than paid-for space. This is why so many SMEs opt for companies that write press releases, rather than attempting it themselves.
Link building, or placing stories on third party websites is about building an online presence. There’s no PR or editorial credibility, it’s just about driving traffic. Anyone with a bit of tech know-how can do this.
For best results, look for a press release writing service, or a freelance copywriter website. As one of the leading PR consultants and writers for hire in London, I’m always available to discuss requirements and add value wherever I can. Get in touch today at email@example.com