The secret, magic ingredient of a successful press release
Often timing is the crucial element.
Not just timing in terms of issuing at 10.15 on a Monday morning, but also a more subtle type of timing as in “the mood of the times”.
Most good PR practitioners working with the media are acutely aware of these shifting nuances in the public’s and the media’s thinking and are able to act on them.
I’ve recently been working on behalf of the Historic Houses Foundation, a leading funder of architectural conservation, and one of the only bodies in the UK able to support buildings in private ownership.
The Historic Houses Foundation has been a major beneficiary of the Heritage Stimulus Fund, recently announced by the UK Government and Historic England, which will provide invaluable support for vital restoration work on some of England’s most important and vulnerable historic buildings.
A total of 18 houses were carefully chosen by the Trustees to benefit from this funding. They range from Holkham Hall and Woodchester Mansion in the South to Newby Hall and Muncaster Castle in the North.
I was tasked with running a positive media campaign on the funding and subsequent restoration work on 14 of these beautiful historic properties. A difficult task some might argue, in these days of lockdown, social distancing and national belt-tightening.
However, so far (and the campaign is far from over) I have achieved an average of around four separate, substantial media items per property – 56 pieces – all over the country. They have included TV news items, radio interviews, full page pieces, magazine features to run in the New Year, and further items on the work itself whilst it is being carried out.
As well as writing compelling releases and providing great images (which goes without saying of course😊) the magic ingredient for success here has been the “mood of the times”. In these grim months of coronavirus and restrictions, people seem to be yearning for beauty, stability, simplicity, and permanence. There is a huge appetite for nostalgia and a desire for these lovely places to be preserved throughout all the madness of recent times. This time last year I’m not sure these press releases would have had so much impact.
Similarly, another different, but very recent successful North East PR story of mine has been LemonTop Gin – created by three talented graphic designers who aimed to evoke the sights, smells and taste of the traditional Redcar-based lemon-top ice cream. It’s a fun, quirky story, but inevitably a highly promotional one. Crucially our aim was to sell gin.
Seven separate North East media picked up the item in a big way! As usual, we presented them with a cracking story and a great image taken along the Redcar seafront – but the secret ingredient again was the mood of the times. LemonTop Gin is all about jolly seaside postcard hilarity, a bright world in the distant past where the sun always shone, and nobody had worries or cares. Annoyingly, life always seems to be simpler in the past and the difficulties of 2020 means we’re all hankering after that.
Both these different press items have been successful because they’re treating us to a little escapism – showing us a past golden age while offering hope for the future. And the gin is going down a treat!