Press release checklist UK
Press release checklist UK - to help you get the essentials pinned down for identifying your news story, writing your press release and issuing it - with the aim of getting press and media profile. http://www.prcoach.co.uk/pr-help/
Published on: Mar 4, 2016
Transcripts - Press release checklist UK
PR Coach © Copyright, Debbie Leven, 2013 Page 1 of 5
Press Release Checklist UK
By Debbie, PR Coach
This press release checklist UK has been designed to give UK small businesses a handy way to
assess their press releases – to identify any gaps, to maximise effectiveness, to highlight the very
many opportunities for getting news stories noticed. I’ve compiled the points listed based on my
experience of working in PR for more than 20 years. This checklist focuses on identifying your
news, writing and issuing your press release to get noticed by journalists.
Too often people waste time producing press releases that have little hope of getting noticed by
journalists, let alone getting published. This checklist is not a substitute for researching your key
press and media or for really understanding what journalists want from a news story. But, it covers,
I think, the key questions you need to consider when thinking about using a press release to get
your story noticed.
The checklist is wider than a listing of the key elements that go into a press release or pointers on
how it should be structured. That’s because successful press and media relations, and achieving
coverage, is much more than the technical details of what goes where in a press release. Also, in
today’s fast paced business environment the press release is much more than a tool for just getting
noticed by journalists – it opens up many more doors for raising profile. I hope you find this
Let me know how you get on via: firstname.lastname@example.org For more help on putting together your
press release, including articles, tips and resources, go to: http://www.prcoach.co.uk/pr-help/
PR Coach © Copyright, Debbie Leven, 2013 Page 2 of 5
Press release checklist UK
Yes No Don’t
Identifying your news
1. Are you clear about the essential ingredients of a news story that
journalists look for?
2. Do you know the other key components that journalists are
3. Do you have a system in place for identifying and collecting news
stories that you can use to promote your business?
4. Does someone in your business have the defined responsibility for
seeking out and managing news stories?
5. Do you have a calendar in place for your press release
6. Are you aware of the key dates in the year that are relevant to your
potential customers and other key stakeholders?
7. Have you identified ways of producing news stories timed to
coincide with these key dates?
8. Do you liaise with customers regularly to identify potential news
9. Do you liaise with suppliers and other key stakeholders to identify
opportunities for joint press releases?
10. Do you ‘create’ news stories when you don’t have any obvious
news stories i.e. do or produce something that is newsworthy and
will appeal to your target press and media?
11. Have you compiled a listing of your target press and media?
12. Have you researched those contacts and refined your listing to
ensure that all contacts are relevant for the news announcement
you will be issuing?
13. Are you sure that a press release is the most suitable tool to use to
target your key press and media?
14. Do you know the deadlines your target press and media are working
15. Have you researched the publications, websites, journalists you
want to target to see whether they have run similar stories or
16. Have you researched your listing to ensure all the contact details
17. Have you carried out enough research on your target publications,
websites, journalists etc so that you feel familiar with topics of
interest, style and format?
18. Do you tailor your press and media target listing for each news
PR Coach © Copyright, Debbie Leven, 2013 Page 3 of 5
19. Do you monitor key journalists to track what they are
20. Do you monitor key journalists to track how they use social media?
Writing your press release
21. Have you set a clear objective for producing and issuing a press
release for your news story?
22. Do you have separate objectives for achieving coverage and for
achieving back links and website traffic?
23. Do you use the ‘inverted pyramid’ style for writing your press
release – with the most important information up front?
24. Do you ensure that your press releases answer the essential
questions: who, what, why, where, when and how?
25. Do you check your sentence length and try to keep sentences to 25
words or fewer?
26. Do you write your press releases so that if only the first paragraph
was used then it would capture the essence of your story?
27. Do check your press releases to ensure that they stick to the facts
and save opinion for quotes?
28. Do you go through your press releases to remove any ‘salesy’
29. Have you double checked your press release to ensure that it is
30. Do you check the language in your press releases to ensure that it
is not overly complicated or wordy?
31. Are you using the minimum number of words possible to get your
news story across?
32. Have you included any additional information or explanatory detail
in the notes to editors section of your press release rather than in
the main body?
33. Do you ensure that all your press releases are dated and for
immediate release or with a clear embargo?
34. Are your contact details presented clearly on any press release and
also in any accompanying email?
35. Do you provide out of office hours contact details when issuing
your press release?
36. Does your press release adhere to the standard guidelines expected
37. Have you used a short, punchy title for your press release to
capture the attention of journalists?
38. Have you tested your press release to ensure that there is strong
human interest in your news story?
39. Have you included a quote in your press release from a third party?
40. Do you have photography or visuals available to help support your
PR Coach © Copyright, Debbie Leven, 2013 Page 4 of 5
41. Have you written a version for online use, specifically, that includes
keywords and links?
42. Have you looked at your news story to identify how you can tweak it
to produce tailored versions for local, regional, specialist,
consumer or national press and media?
43. Have you stated clearly where your news story finishes by using the
44. Have you included a brief paragraph about your business, including
a link to the website, in the notes to editors section of your press
45. Does your press release fit onto two pages of A4 at the maximum,
with double or 1.5 spacing?
Issuing your press release to the press and media
46. Do you contact journalists in advance of issuing your press release
to talk to them about the story?
47. Do you issue the press release yourself rather than use a press
release distribution service?
48. Do you send individual emails to issue your press release rather
than paste every contact into ‘blind copy’ and send out one email to
49. Do you send tailored press releases, for the same story, to your
50. Do you paste your press release into your email rather than send as
51. Do you ensure that your press release email does not include
52. Do you ensure that your press release email does not include
photography as attachments?
53. Do you include a couple of sentences about the news story just
before where your press release is pasted, as an introduction, into
54. Do you include your contact details in this introduction as well as in
the body of the press release?
55. Before issuing your press release do you think about the additional
items and opportunities you could offer interested journalists?
Sharing your press release elsewhere
56. After issuing your press release, do you place it on your website?
57. Do you look at other opportunities for sharing your press release?
58. Do you notify search engines when you’ve posted your press
release on your website?
59. Do you notify search engines when you’ve posted your press
release in other places?
60. Do you link back to your press release from elsewhere on your
website, via blogs and via comments?
PR Coach © Copyright, Debbie Leven, 2013 Page 5 of 5
61. Do you have a system in place for sharing your news
announcements with customers, suppliers and other key
Monitoring and evaluating your press release
62. Do you use a monitoring system to notify you of online mentions of
key words in relation to your press release?
63. Do you use tracking url shorteners so you can monitor click
throughs to your press release?
64. Do you have evaluation techniques set up tied to the particular
objectives you have specified?
Getting coverage aside from your press release
65. Have you identified what angles in your news story might provide
scope for themes or ideas for feature articles that you can approach
I hope that you have found this press release checklist useful. Knowing where the gaps are is your first
step in strengthening your press releases so that they are more targeted, have more impact and help you
to get the results you are seeking.
If you want further help then you can contact me via the PR Coach website. You’ll also find many more
resources, tips and checklists there to help you with your PR.