By Claire Scott, account executive at Byfield Consultancy 
A well-written press release will tell the journalist everything he or she needs to know about a story at a glance, simplifying their job and therefore heightening the chances of the topic being covered in the media.
Press releases are also excellent for SEO, helping to drive traffic to your website and generate publicity and awareness of your activity. A great tool for publicising new joiners, press releases can be used in a variety of other ways. From spearheading campaigns to publicising charity events that members of your firm might be taking part in, press releases are an essential tool for public relations.
Listed below are effective, but sometimes overlooked, ways of using the press release format.
Five top uses of press releases
1) Event or seminars
If you are taking part in an event or a seminar, this can be used to gain media coverage either on the event itself or the topic of the event, via the form of a press release. This can help publicise the event and gain media coverage for a specific topic of interest that you want to highlight.
2) Charity activity
If you are taking part in a charity event, take some photos and provide your PR agency or communications team with the details. Local newspapers and magazines favour reporting charity events that involve the local community and that have decent photos accompanying the press release. It sometimes helps to include a copy of the magazine or newspaper you wish to appear in, in the photo.
3) Legislative change
If you hear of legislative change which is of interest to your practice area, a press release can be prepared on this change and sent to the media before the story breaks. Providing journalists with information before it hits the newswires will increase the chances of coverage and position you or your firm as experts in this field.
4) High-value deal or high-profile case
If you are working on a significant or high-value deal or high-profile case, give your PR agency or communications team a heads-up so that they can prepare a press release for the day the deal is finalised, or the judgment is handed down.
This will highly increase the likelihood of the press release being picked up as it will be more newsworthy. When dealing with high-profile cases, it is also a good idea to prepare two separate press releases should it be unclear which way the case might go, so that all angles are covered.
5) Appointments to boards or societies
If you have been appointed as a board member for an organisation or invited to join a prestigious society, this can be drafted up into a short press release and sent out to announce the news. These appointments are often very well picked up in the local press and a great way to get your name and the name of your firm out in the public domain.