Handy tips for creating press releases

We work with all sorts of clients, and some of our most press-based customers include local musicians, writers and artists. Working with the creative industries can be incredibly rewarding, but there are some lessons we’ve learned about writing press releases.

A good release should give all the vital information to editors, but it should also tell a story. In an ideal world, it should be picked up and taken exactly as-is for website announcements or print publications. A recent example for us was the press release for band, …And The Hangnails, which was posted in local press exactly as it went out.

So what makes a good press release?

1. Keep it short

Only provide the essential information. If you need to provide more background on the company or product, you can add ‘footnotes for editors’.

2. Tell a story

People need to know why they are receiving the release. What is so special that you have to tell the press about it? Don’t just create a written advertisement about why your product is so amazing. Tell the story of its creation, of why it is unique.

3. Choose your words

Jargon is a marketer’s nemesis. Sometimes, it is necessary – but in a press release, keep the language as simple as possible.

4. Spend time on writing the release

Just as an error on other advertising can cost you a reputation, the press will not be interested in a company who cannot take the time to craft a good release. The groundwork is the important part.

5. Make your subject line interesting

The media get hundreds of releases every week. Make yours stand out with a clickable title – once they’re in, you need a hook to keep them reading. Images and embedded videos work well.

6. Use a professional

Press releases use very specific language, formats and techniques to be noticed. It can often be a cost saving to hire a specialist writer to craft the release for you – and they may even be able to manage the distribution of the release, too. It saves one of your staff members from struggling through, taking time away from core tasks to get to grips with the way the media like their emails. They can be a picky lot, the press, so using someone who knows what they’re doing will cut the time it takes, and improve your response rates.

Of course, that’s what we do for our clients, but we’re not saying you ought to use us… except we do have a lot of experience. And can turn copy around in no time at all. And have a track record of higher-than-average open and click rates.

Bell Branding officially launched!

Bell Branding logo

We’re very excited to announce that Bell Branding has officially launched! We are here to work with businesses to develop and deliver clear, concise and creative content.

To give you a little insight into what we do, here are the answers to a few questions you might have about what “creative content and brand management” actually means…

Why is content so important?

Getting the right message to the right people sounds simple enough – but if it’s not engaging, unique or interesting, they’re not going to read it. Content needs to be snappy, creative and fresh if you’re to keep clients and potential customers interested in what you have to offer.

How does this go hand-in-hand with ‘brand management‘?

Strong sales leads start with strong brands. A brand which has a recognisable image, tone and message is far more memorable for consumers – so they’re more likely to head to you when they need your service. Good content is absolutely vital to ensuring everything you put out about your product or service reflects your ethos and attracts the right audience.

Where does in-house training come into it all?

You can spend lots of time developing your brand guidelines, building a social media community and honing your messaging. But if your staff aren’t completely on board, if they don’t know what exactly it is they are offering – or how it is being offered – this can let down the strength of your brand.

Working with each team – customer service, marketing, sales, B2B, B2C – to develop the language they need for their specific roles, and to understand what other teams do (and how it affects them) can significantly change the overall cohesion of an organisation. We’re there to support you in creating a strong business from the inside out, and team training is a huge part of helping you on your way.


Our regular blogs will cover these areas in more detail over the coming weeks. If there are any topics you would like to hear about in particular, contact us with your thoughts and feedback – we’d love to hear from you.

Thank you for supporting Bell Branding on our first steps as a new consultancy – keep an eye out for future exciting news!

Even small business should outsource

But we don’t have the money! We can hear you cry. But take it from us – even small businesses can benefit in the long term from outsourcing. Here’s why:

Time is money

You know that: we shouldn’t really have to say it. But every moment spent away from your daily tasks – such as generating sales leads, speaking with clients and customers, and managing back office admin – can feel like a moment wasted. If marketing isn’t your forte, it can be a painstaking task to keep on top of even the basics. Do you really have time to blog weekly, talk on Twitter every day, proof that brochure again, or try to teach yourself InDesign just to make a flyer?

You’re not an expert

Well, of course you are. But only in what your business does. We don’t claim to be brilliant at financial advice, nor could we handle large volumes of calls to customer service. But by gosh, can our team write, design, film to the very best standards – because that is what they do all day, every day. Focus on what you can do, and delegate the rest for maximum efficiency.

Can you see the wood for the trees?

Can you see the wood for the trees?

Are you just staring at trees?

Or can you see the wood right in front of you? Being close to your business means it can be easy to get tangled up in the small details. Bringing fresh eyes to a project can help you see how potential clients and customers view your business – and it may not be as you thought.

Avoid costly mistakes

Much like new eyes on a project, if you’re proofing that promotional literature for the gazillionth time, mistakes can be easy to miss – especially if your grammar or spelling isn’t as tip-top as you’d like. Brand reputation is built on the quality of your material – easily avoided errors such as spelling mistakes on flyers can make all the difference between gaining custom and losing the respect of possible clients. Reprinting material is expensive, time-consuming and wasteful, too – you don’t really want to do that, right?

Time saved + high quality as standard + expert input = money in your pocket

Paying someone who knows what they’re doing benefits you by providing business support and bringing new ideas to spruce up your marketing activities. More than that, though, is the return on the output. Investing a little to get something done properly the first time means you can build on a solid reputation, build brand trust, and show people that your business knows its stuff. Just like we do.


Bell Branding supports small independent businesses to deliver online marketing strategies, including blog copy, website content, social media engagement and integrated marketing campaigns. We do all this with the challenges of small business in mind – keeping our overheads as low as possible to pass these savings onto other startups and new enterprises. If you’d like to talk to us, well – you know where we are.

Rich content = rich business (Or, The Art Of Blogging)


Typing on laptop

You need to switch it on first…
Image courtesy of tidybay.com

You’ll already know what a blog is. You’re reading one right now. So we won’t patronise you with the usual bumpf about the technical aspects.

We’re going to look at how to use a blog as a cost-effective tool for your business, and how to generate sales leads from good content. We can’t give away all of our secrets, of course – just most of them.

Keep to schedule

Ensuring regular traffic means keeping your blog updated – maybe once a week, twice a week – however many times is suitable for your business. However, over-posting – posting because you think you have to, rather than because you have something to say – can damage your readership just as much as lapsed posting.

Avoid posting irrelevant content, and keep it fresh and interesting, by creating an editorial schedule a few months in advance.

Strong content compels readers to return

Quality is key – your content should represent your business vision, and demonstrate your industry knowledge.  If you only use your posts as an extension of direct marketing or to adapt print advertising, you’re doing it wrong.

Provide value: invite industry leaders for an interview, or provide insight into new trends to show your audience that you know your stuff. All of this builds brand trust which, as we already know, is a Very Important Thing.

Keep it short

Any blog above about 800 words is too long. Ideally, you should vary the length of your blogs to between 400-550 words, with the occasional longer post for in-depth content and discussion. Just as visual media needs to be attention grabbing, blogs need to hold all of the information in an engaging and to-the-point way.

Another tip is to break it up: use short sentences, sub headers, numbered lists or graphics to make it easy to read. Consider the devices your blog will be read on – just a PC, a laptop, a tablet, a mobile phone? Make sure it covers all of these devices in a readable format to encourage people to get to the end.

Link back

Remember – a blog is an indirect sales tool. Use other industry sources to back up your statistics, or link to other companies in your field who you think provide good examples to illustrate your point. Working with others is a positive in today’s connected world, so make the most of it by seeing the competition as allies instead of enemies. Build trust in your industry as people who know your stuff, and the respect earned from other companies will translate into brand reputation.

Show that you value your customers 

Letting people comment on blog posts will give you more of an idea which content they are most interested in, generate discussion on industry topics you could use for future posts, or show you what they want to see from you. Encourage customers to comment with a call to action at the end of each post – a question or asking for comments (it really is that simple).

Use metrics

There are many tools out there which will tell you how your blog is being viewed. These analytical tools are great for finding out which posts are most shared, most viewed, most commented etc. You can discover the best times of day to put up a post, and which platforms are the biggest referrers (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc). Doing these all together will make a huge difference to your traffic and provide a much larger pool from which to generate warmer sales leads.

Get it done

Blogs and editorial calendars can take up quite a bit of time. Sourcing the content, finding relevant links, writing drafts, proofing drafts, setting up to go live, generating traffic through social promotion… it’s not a simple task. The content needs to be of a high quality, produced on a regular basis and promoted through various channels to be successful.

Finding someone on your current team with the time and skills to do this regularly and with efficiency can be tricky. That’s where paying for such a service can pay off. A freelance blogger can deliver the quality content to you, without disturbing your regular working day – and is likely able to do the promotional side of it, too. Using an expert writer means less time is taken for the crafting of each post, while the quality remains high.

And that’s what we can do for you. Just in case you hadn’t guessed yet.

Yeah, we can / Yes we can: The importance of tone

It might seem pernickety to find fault in the small things – but as you know, the devil is in the detail. Making sure your branding is consistent from brochure to customer service is as important as the product or service itself.

You can spend so much time, effort and money into researching and delivering your product or service. But have you spent time with your teams to make sure they know just how to approach their roles?

Semantic segregation – use language to your advantage

Every team across a company will have a specific set of roles and their own specific vocabulary. For example, sales teams will tell people about what you can do for them, while customer service teams ask customers how they can help.

While these differences seem obvious, the grammatical variations – from objective sales to subjective customer service – can change how a customer feels about your offerings. The small difference in language should be noted and used where relevant – but the overall brand tone should be consistent across the board.

This includes ensuring your teams understand what level of formality they are able to use when dealing with customers or clients.

>>  Find out why people don’t trust brands <<

What does this mean?

Remember: your branding should come from the company’s core – not be an afterthought. Look at how you have pitched your brochure, advertisements, and other marketing pitches. Are they casual, or formal? Do they address the customer like a friend, or like a business partner?

A general rule is that B2C communications can have some level of informality, to find a level with the prospective customer that doesn’t patronise them. Too chatty, however, and you risk switching them off altogether. A classic example is the friendly packaging on Innocent Drinks, which uses an assumed sense of humour to find a ‘human’ connection with the customer. Their jovial tone is even reflected by the lack of capital letters at the start of a sentence. While some may see this as quirky, others may find it annoying – they have pitched every word at a very specific audience.

If your literature is chatty, so should your teams be. But if you are in a B2B industry, professionalism can still count. If your promotional material matches a professional service – then a chatty tone probably isn’t for you. The consistency needs to be applied across all departments – so anyone talking with customers or potential clients should be made aware of the language they are using.

Speech versus print

When your staff talk to prospective or current customers, are they reflecting the language you use in your branding? Do they address customers by their title (Mr, Mrs etc), or immediately switch to first names? If your customer service teams have scripts, is the language reflecting that of the brand – do they use jargon or technical language? If so, how is this explained in plain English?

The human connection that marketers strive for is best placed in exactly that scenario – with your people, not your literature. Building rapport with prospective sales leads is one thing, but ensuring the same connection reflects your business is a finer art altogether. You don’t want to get the speech police onto every team member whenever they say ‘yeah’ instead of ‘yes’, as that’s not only impossible but we’re fairly sure borders on some form of human right infringement…

But you can ensure your staff understand how to interact with your prospective and current customers, by making sure they know exactly what the product is they are selling, and to whom. This can be done with a simple staff induction for new starters, or a periodic refresher course.

Small pitch alert

Bell Branding offers branding guidelines development, script writing services, in-house training, and brand messaging strategies. Just sayin’.


Your people are your strongest marketing tool, so use them effectively. Allow them to have their own personality, as this is of course what customers connect to. But whenever they are discussing your product or service, make sure everyone is on the same page (literally, if using scripts), and encourage the same tone across all conversations to make sure customers have a solid sense of who you are as a business and what your product represents.


People don’t trust your brand: they trust people (Plus: win free stuff!)


Trust No One - Artwork by Sebastien Millon

Trust No One by Sebastien Millon – follow @sebreg on Twitter

Brand trust is a strange phrase. How can you have trust in something that is inanimate, a concept with vague applications? Well, that’s the point – you can’t. You can only trust the people who tell you that a brand delivers a good service, or product.

While you might think that you’re best placed to create this trust – and tell everyone how amazing your brand is – you’d be pretty wrong. People don’t trust things, they trust people. More significantly, they trust the people they know.

Customer recommendation is probably your number one tool to build an excellent brand reputation. Word of mouth is a huge factor in creating a strong, recognisable brand, with 92% of people trusting personal recommendation over any other form of advertising. But how can this be done?

Build a community, not an audience

The role of social media is in the name – it shouldn’t be your sole marketing channel, because people don’t use it to be sold at. They use it to communicate with others – so rather than selling to potential leads, by telling them what you offer, it works far better to talk with them and ask what they want to see.

Unlike traditional marketing channels, social media is not a broadcast tool. It is an engagement tool. It gets people talking to you and, more importantly, about you. Use the metrics about online chatter to discover who your real audience are, what they are happy with – and what they would change about your service or product.

A little word about LinkedIn

If you offer B2B services and don’t have an up-to-date company profile on LinkedIn, you are missing out a massive opportunity. Just as consumers like to read reviews on Amazon before purchasing a product, potential clients will likely be looking at your company and key players to see how highly you come recommended.

Ensuring your personal profile is highly visible, with select recommendations in a prominent place, is a good place to start. Ask for recommendations from a variety of previous clients – and be sure to reciprocate. Making the link between yourself and your company page is another useful way to build traffic, both for yourself and your company.

Get out in the real world

All this online marketing is fab, it really is. But nothing beats putting a handshake to a name – so get out there and introduce yourself. People are more memorable than brands – so your people should be your brand. Get yourself and your team out to meetings, business breakfasts, events, anything that will enable them to meet people face-to-face.

There are some great networks around, depending on where you are in the country. Some are national, while others are local. If you’re a small, locally operating business, don’t be scared of the national networks, though – if your service is unique enough, people are likely to want it regardless of location. Remember: nothing comes of nothing. Take the leap and get talking to anyone and everyone!

Free stuff!

Everybody loves free stuff. We don’t just mean physical products – although if your budget allows for it, these can go a long way to building word-of-mouth recommendations.

Free stuff can also mean free content. Give away enough to demonstrate that you know what you’re on about, and people will begin to share with others. Ways to do this include blogs, whitepapers, guest articles, print articles, infographics – the list goes on. If people think they are getting something for free, and it has your branding stamped all across it (both literally and in tone, message and style), you will become memorable.

Speaking of free stuff, Bell Branding are offering a competition to provide £500 worth of free services! All you need to do is send us an email to info@bellbranding.com with the subject title “Yes please” and include your company contact details. A random draw will be made from the viable entries on 31st July 2014 – so get entering!


The small print: any data collected from the Bell Branding competition will not be sold or shared to any third party. By entering the competition you agree for your details to be held on file solely for Bell Branding’s use. The Company will not abuse the access to this information but may contact you at a later date with news updates. If you would prefer that your information was deleted after the competition draw, please include “Delete me” in the body of your email. A ‘viable entry’ is one which includes all company contact details from an organisation based in the U.K. The prize is worth up to £500 and must be taken in full either as a full project or discount against a larger project.