Successful press release

How to be a great press officer…

At sister site Featureworld we deal with press officers every day. These days virtually every big company will have a press office. Their job is to deal with press enquiries, respond to any problematic issues and also to try to ensure a company maintains a positive public image. Successful press release

Unfortunately, however, from a publicist’s point of view, so many could do so much better. In fact, as a journalist, I would say you can tell about a company by the way its press office is run (the best press officers are at well run businesses that customers love as well.) And, for example, a good press office, which comes up with quotes or helpful statistics, is more likely to get journalists coming back for more – hence your company gets a higher press profile and all for free. Here, we look at what makes some press officers so good …

They are easy to contact

A great press officer is easy to contact. Even if you are a tiny company it’s a good idea to appoint someone to deal with the press. Ideally those contact details are found without problem on a website. And if a journalist needs a quote out of hours, then a mobile number is available. Then that press officer actually picks up the phone or quickly rings back. It goes without saying that they are polite and not dismissive!

They understand deadlines

An organised press officer is able to sort a quote fast and give a time when the journalist can expect that quote to be sent through by.

They are keen to give a quote

An experienced press officer will see a positive even in something that at first glance, appears negative. So, even if they are being rung about a complaint, they are keen to respond and make a favourable response. A very good press officer is able to respond well to negative publicity – they avoid saying ‘no comment’, which can look bad.

The understand they can’t send reams of copy

A short paragraph is the best way for a company to respond because long waffles simply take up too much space in any newspaper. Quotes should be short and to the point.

Are prepared

All press officers should be reading the news and keeping up to date with trends. That way you are always prepared with facts, statistics and a case study should you get a call from a journalist needing urgent help with a story. Get this right and your press releases will appear in a paper just as you have written them, which of course can give you great publicity.

Put quotes in an email – and they are from a named person.

Putting the name of someone from the organisation is much better than putting ‘a spokesman’ and emailing your quotes ensures you are not misquoted or misunderstood.

Are you a press officer? Or do you have anything to add to this? If so, let us know below…

Alison Smith-Squire

Alison Smith-Squire is a writer, journalist and media agent selling exclusive real life stories to newspapers, magazines and TV. She owns the sell my story website Featureworld.co.uk, which was set up to help ordinary people sell their stories to the press.

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