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​Your Quick Guide to Publishing Press Releases

Blog post   •   Jun 16, 2016 08:00 GMT

Last week we addressed How to Manage a Newsroom, pointing out the importance to define a clear purpose for your content, creating goals and tracking results. This week, I’d like to go into the specifics of creating and publishing a press release, looking at an example from Hövding’s newsroom. What are the important aspects you should know and how do you do it? See below!

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to publish a news release in your newsroom:

Table of contents

  1. Get started
  2. Write the headline
  3. Unfold the story
  4. Upload an image
  5. Communicate the news
  6. Add boilerplate
  7. Select categories and topics
  8. Add tags
  9. Select related material
  10. Distribution list
  11. Contact details
  12. Connect social media accounts

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1. Get started

The first step in getting started with your press release is to log into Mynewsdesk admin tool. To create a new press release, select Publish, click on Press releases and then Publish new. Make sure to have your press release saved on your computer, or Google Drive, as a backup.

2. Write the headline

Write in Headline the title of your news, something that creates curiosity, is accurate and is in the active voice.

Example from Hövding’s press release:

London cyclists use digital button to mark hazards in traffic - while simultaneously sending emails to the Mayor of London in real-time

The heading is good, aside from it being a bit long, because it answers where, who and explains the what. It provides the essence of the story in one line: story involves London cyclists using a button to pinpoint dangerous cycling places in London and notify the Mayor.

3. Unfold the story

Unfold the story in Summary by writing two to three captivating lines. Deliver the essence of your news. Keep in mind the five Ws: who, what, where, when and why.

With their unique airbags for urban cyclists, the Swedish company Hövding has revolutionized the cycling world. Now, the company wants to help turn London into a cycle-friendly city. By using a digital button, cyclists will be giving a beep to show the Mayor of London that dangerous streets are in great need of improvement.

The intro is effective in the sense that it summarizes the news. It introduces who is the sender of the news ( Hövding), as well as what they do (airbags), and for whom (urban cyclists). Again answering questions like what or why (turn London into a cycle-friendly city), and even how (by using a button and notifying the Mayor of dangerous streets).

4. Upload an image

Select something that adds context to your story, is of high-quality and can be used by the media.

HovdingGiveABeep_Press_Mustafa.jpg

5. Communicate the news

The body is the perfect place to communicate your story. Use this structure:

INTRO

Repeat the news angle, but preferably in a more descriptive manner. Expand on the Five Ws (who, what, where, when and why). Clarify what you are announcing, where, and explain why it is relevant. Don’t bury the lede: make it easy for the reporters to find the information they need most. Use the inverted pyramid structure, by putting all the essential information in the intro.

With their unique airbags for urban cyclists, the Swedish company Hövding has revolutionized the cycling world. Now, the company wants to help turn London into a cycle-friendly city. By using a digital button, cyclists will be giving a beep to show the Mayor of London that dangerous streets are in great need of improvement.

London is in many ways a great city. It’s also one of the world’s busiest cities, but the lack of high-quality cycle lanes and dangerous road layouts and junctions can make London feel like a very unsafe city to travel in by bike. Surveys show that hundreds of thousands of people want to cycle, but are too scared. This is something that Hövding, with the support of Mynewsdesk, wants to change with their initiative ‘Give a Beep’. The initiative will collect data about hazardous streets and junctions for cycling in London, by providing cyclists with a digital button to put on their handlebars or directly on their clothes.

Above, they expand on the background of the news. They give more information on why this initiative is important (lack of cycle lanes and dangerous road layouts and junctions) and who this affects (London cyclist feel unsafe). They also give the names of the involved stakeholders (Hövding, with the support of Mynewsdesk), and how they are doing it (collect data about hazardous streets and junctions with digital button). The intro provides the journalist with everything they need to write their news story.

SECOND PARAGRAPH

Include a quote, but choose it carefully. Don't be boring, by saying more of the same. And don't make exaggerated claims, like 'we are the global leaders' when you can't back it up. Express your feeling, passion, and opinions. Don't be neutral. Add some flavor to your story. Citing a person who is an authority, gives credibility. Quote a third-party if you can, customer or partner, that adds context and shows how your news affects people.

London is a world metropolis and has every possibility to be a safe cycle-city. More people should be able to cycle and feel safe while doing so, but today’s infrastructure doesn’t allow it. Therefore, we would like to highlight the issue and push forward the campaign for safer cycling, letting cyclists themselves to report about the places that need improving. It’s important for us to contribute to a safe cycle-environment – with the perspective of the cyclists as a focus. Anna Katarina Skogh, Marketing Director at Hövding.

In the example above, they quote the Marketing Director, a high-level person at Hövding. Anna Katarina basically says that it’s possible for London to become a safe cycle city and that more people should feel safe although the current infrastructure is inadequate, explaining at the same time why they are doing this initiative (to campaign for safe cycling) and from what perspective (London cyclists). The quote is a little too neutral and could have added an extra touch of emotion. However, it supports the news piece.

THIRD & FOURTH PARAGRAPH

Avoid fluff. Don't bleed over to a second page with blah blah if it's not directly related to your story. Provide clear, concise context. Include more detail or links to additional resources if you must. Some words of advice:

  • Nobody likes hefty paragraphs or long-winded sentences so use bullet points where you can
  • Use language people can understand. Keep it simple!
  • Focus on what is newsworthy about your announcement and remove the extraneous.

The button is connected via Bluetooth to the cyclist’s phone through the app ‘Flic’. When the cyclist presses the button, data is generated from that particular place to a map on the campaign site, which is updated in real-time. The purpose is to mark and draw attention to all unsafe streets and junctions in London. Beyond this, cyclists will give a beep about the unsafe cycle environments. Every time they press the button an email is sent to the Mayor to make him aware and encourage him to keep his promise to ‘make London a byword for cycling’ by making it safe and enjoyable for everyone to cycle.

As a first step, 500 digital buttons will be distributed to members and supporters of the London Cycling Campaign, the world’s largest urban cycling campaign, who, with 12 000 members, and 30 000 supporters, lobby for better conditions for cycling in the capital.

By committing to the London Cycling Campaign’s Sign for Cycling pledges, the new Mayor, Sadiq Khan, has promised to make cycling in London safe and enjoyable for everyone. The 500 Londoners giving him a beep will hopefully remind him to get on with fulfilling those pledges, as a matter of urgency, says Amy Summers, Campaign Coordinator, London Cycling Campaign.

In the third paragraph, Hövding provides more detailed information about how the digital button works and who will be using it, highlighting that they will get support from the London Cycling Campaign and its members. Hövding ends their press release by quoting a spokesperson from London Cycling Campaign, a third-party spokesperson, who expresses the political dimension of this project.

6. Add boilerplate

Write in your boilerplate under Company description. Include 3 to 4 sentences about your company, with a link to your homepage. Ensure reporters can copy it easily, so describe your business in a way that can be easily understood. Translate your boilerplate into local languages - don't let the journalist do it.

Hövding includes the company descriptions of all three stakeholders.

About Hövding

During the last three years, Hövding’s airbag helmet for cyclists has been launched internationally and is now on 15 markets in Europe and Japan. Hövding is sold in över 600 stores and on hovding.com. Just in Sweden, Hövding is available in more than 100 stores. The company has 22 employees in Malmö, Sweden. Hövding was noted on Nasdaq First North on June 16th 2015.

About London Cycling Campaign

London Cycling Campaign is a 12 000-strong membership charity, who campaigns to make sure that everyone who cycles, or wants to cycle, has a voice in Greater London. London Cycling Campaign strives for a city that encourages Londoners to cycle, creating a healthier and happier place for everyone.

About Mynewsdesk

Mynewsdesk is the world's leading all-in-one brand newsroom and multimedia PR (public relations) platform. Over 5,000 brands as diverse as Post Office, Vision Express, Dreams, Costa Coffee, Panasonic, Sony, Axa PPP Healthcare, Visit Scotland, Neopost, Stroke Association and Virgin Trains use their Mynewsdesk newsrooms to publish and distribute their content, achieve greater visibility across search and social media, connect with key influencers, and tell their stories.



7. Select categories and topics

Select topic and sub-categories to categorize your news. This will ensure that journalists and influencers who have subscribed to those specific categories receive your news too.

In the Hövding example they selected: Sport, lifestyle, fashion, leisure, science, technology

Region - All of Great Britain

8. Add tags.

This helps organize and group your news, making it easier for the journalists to find all topic-related content.

In the Hövding example they had the following tags: accident, airbag, airbag for cyclists, cycle helmet, gadgets, safety

9. Select related material

Use the related material to make the news experience richer, e.g. events, images, videos, documents, blog posts. This provides extra value to the journalist and keeps them engaged.

Hövding included a campaign video and included a call to action, with a link to a campaign site:

Learn more about the initiative here: www.giveabeep.org

Screen Shot 2016-06-13 at 10.06.15.png

10. Distribution list

Select your distribution list, i.e. who you want to send your news release to. For this, you would've needed to upload your contacts under Network and Lists (something we will explore in a follow-up article).

11. Contact details

Ensure you have added your contact details under Contacts and are easily reachable. Put your mobile number there, so that a journalist can give you a quick call if they need to.

For more information, please contact:

Anna Katarina Skogh

Email: anna-katarina.skogh@hovding.com

Phone: + 46 (0)76-046 44 32

Amy Summers

Email: amy@lcc.org.uk

Phone: +44 0)797 9757 100

12. Connect social media accounts

Ensure you have connected your social media accounts under Channels. Remember, journalists often research stories on Twitter, Facebook, etc. Also, you should also keep in mind that your news release is an important piece of content marketing, directed to other audiences aside from your typical reporter.

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