10 top tips for PRs from award winning journalist

Encouraging thoughts for the PR industry come from journalist David Leake, ex Northcliffe Newspapers and freelancer for the national Sundays.

He tells us the quality of releases has markedly increased – either because more journalists are switching to PR or there’s been better in house training for consultancies.

“It can be difficult to remain on top of the copy coming in but it has certainly been much improved from the old days when too much copy lacked relevance, was poorly written, poorly targeted and overly commercial.

“Nowadays much more skill is evident although PR people still need to be careful not to overdo output. It still has to be relevant and of interest to the readership or listener at which it is aimed.”

He adds that the fact many newspapers and media organisations have been cutting down on staff in recent years provides an opening for PR firms that are able to act as virtual supernumeries for the media industry.

“Times can be hard for the regionals, for the weeklies especially, when there is a big fill to be achieved and not enough staff to do it. A well-presented, well rounded piece can often prove to be manna from heaven. “


Here are David’s top tips for writing copy that will whet journalist’s appetite and not go straight into the bin:

  1. Know your target audience
  2. Don’t waste your time and mine with irrelevant copy
  3. Don’t leave questions unanswered
  4. Be clear, concise and interesting
  5. Make sure all statements and claims are attributed
  6. Plugs are okay but don’t overdo them
  7. Don’t mix comment and opinion with news
  8. Avoid jargon, explain technical terms and say what acronyms stand for
  9. Don’t leave me saying ‘so what?’ A release that does won’t be used
  10. If you have a picture that supports the story let’s have a look at it