Ham it up or play it down? Getting your press release right.


I’ve always believed in the importance of tailoring a PR story to make sure it is relevant to (and will therefore appeal to) the media being targeted.

For example, a press release from an IT company that has won a contract with a major retailer should be written as two different versions – one for the IT trades and one for the retail press. It seems an obvious thing to say, but they are going to be interested in very different elements of the story. It’s amazing what a difference savvy public relations can make to the success of a campaign.

I thought I’d have a look at the newspaper headlines about the Icelandic volcanic dust floating over the UK – the different headline treatments illustrate my point exactly. Some tell it as it is, but some papers can’t resist hamming it up!

Daily Mail

“Britain cut off from the world”


The Express

“Tens of thousands of holidaymakers stranded by deadly ash cloud over Britain”


The Sun

“Volcanic ash plane chaos”


The Times

“Volcanic ash creates flights chaos across Britain” http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/travel/article7098058.ece

The Telegraph

“Volcanic ash from Iceland closes British airports” http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/travelnews/7592562/Volcanic-ash-from-Iceland-closes-British-airports.html

The Independent

“Volcanic ash clouds from Iceland ground UK flights”


The Guardian

“Iceland volcano shoots cloud of ash into air”


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