What is a press release?

Linda Barclay Isles
Friday 16 February 2024

A press release is a corporate document sent to journalists on behalf of an organisation to announce news, projects or events associated with it.

The University’s Communications team will send a press release if there is potential for media interest, or if promoting the story will further the University’s strategic objectives.

The team can write press releases for you to publicise your project. This guide is intended to introduce you to the process and to help you understand the information we need from you to write a release.

 Why engage with the media?

 Publicising your project in the media is a great way to:

  • Enhance your profile/reputation
  • Establish your expertise in a wider sphere
  • Open up other opportunities to engage
  • Help your research reach communities you need to reach
  • Help secure funding

Things to consider

There are several things you can do to help the Communications team work with you in the most effective way.

  • Timing: Get in touch early! Give us as much time as possible to work with you and keep us posted on developments like publication dates. If you have a study coming out that you think will be newsworthy, let us know as soon as it’s accepted.
  • Key messages: What are the main points you want to get across?
  • Targets: Let us know your target audience; in an ideal world, who do you want to read your story and what do you want them to think, feel and do as a result?
  • Partners: Let us know if collaborators at other institutions or your funders have plans to promote your work and put us in touch.
  • Images: Think about visuals – often stories become much more appealing to reporters if there are compelling photos, video, or infographics to accompany them
  • Ask for help: Ask about anything you’re unsure, perhaps a mock interview or guidance on key messages – we’re happy to help you prepare.

A press release is not the only tool in our toolbox

It is important to note that the news team will always advise on the best course of action for any news from your project. While some research may be too technical for mainstream media, the University engages with specialist media outlets and agencies and will tailor any content to the specific audience.

 It may also be the case that a press release isn’t the right way to publicise your project. We can advise on other channels and platforms that can be used to share your story, including:

  • Internal communications channels – newsletters like In The Loop, for example
  • Social media – your own, your School’s or the University’s
  • Website (research pages/long forms/research case studies)
  • Video content
  • Academic expertise to the media
  • Opinion pieces in the media

 Get in touch

Other resources available:

  • Media training
  • Social media training
  • How to publicise your research

To get in touch with the Communications Team, email [email protected]

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