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Press Release Marketing in the UK

Press Release Marketing in the UK

An introduction to British media and it’s common practices for the legal aliens to press release marketing in UK

One could think a press release should more or less have the same structure and language regardless of the region or country where it will be circulated or the ways and methods to disseminate it should be similar. While this is true in general, when it comes to press release marketing in the UK you might feel a bit of pressure on your shoulders even if you are from an English-speaking country. You can get the chills while drafting your release with the feeling you are being watched over your shoulder by a snobbish British journalist from the land of Dickens, Austen, Tolkien and not to mention Shakespeare. It will not only be your English proficiency that will be put to test but also your familiarity with the British culture as well as the extension of your media relations since some of the prominent national newspapers include giants like The Times, The Guardian, Financial Times, The Independent, The Daily Telegraph and The Daily Prophet (Well… at least for Harry Potter fans). We didn’t mean to discourage you. On the contrary, we outlined some basic insights and tips as an introduction to British media and the common practices that we hope you’ll find helpful.

An overview of the British media and news consumption

British people are attached to their traditions and generally fond of their habits which is conservative in essence. However, they are also amongst the most innovative and reformist nations with their influence as a cultural superpower from literature to music and their contributions in scientific discoveries and economic milestones like the industrial revolution. This contradicting attitude makes them embrace the old and the new at the same time which you can observe in many ways. They have the British Museum and also Tate, they like tea but also coffee, they have fish and chips but also Nandos, Bond and Austin Powers, Beatles and Spice Girls and they love the Queen but have a parliamentary democracy. Actually, according to polling data from Ipsos Mori, support for a republic was 18% in 1969, 18% in 1993, 19% in 2002 and 18% last year. Three-quarters of the population want Britain to remain a monarchy - a finding that has been described by pollsters as "probably the most stable trend we have ever measured".

Another most stable trend to note for the PR people is the devotion and trust of British people to BBC. The BBC’s news operations offer television, radio and online news coverage at national and local level. Reuters Institute reports that BBC News (TV and radio combined) has a higher reach than any other TV, radio and print brand, with weekly reach exceeding 68%. BBC News online is also the most accessed online news source (50% weekly reach). It is also considered the most trusted news brand in the UK (scoring 6.85 out of 10 points).



Sources of News



Devices for News


Brand Trust Scores in UK

Source: https://reutersinstitute.politics.ox.ac.uk/digital-news-report/2021/united-kingdom


The state of the UK Media

The UK media was already fully occupied with a hot and broad agenda from Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s wedding to Brexit and UK Elections before the COVID-19 crisis. However, nobody would quite foresee that the disruptive effects of the pandemic on British media itself would be so big to make the headlines itself. The UK press sector has been significantly affected by the pandemic. Revenues from advertising and sales of printed newspapers were already halved between 2007 and 2017 with the transformative power of the internet and social media. There has been a significant decline of daily and weekly local newspaper circulation. The pandemic has accelerated and strongly exacerbated these negative structural trends. 

With the squeeze in revenues from advertising and sale of printed newspapers most of the sector giants intensified their efforts to change their business model and shift to online. However, this did not help a lot. The online subscription and advertising revenues are not expected to compensate for the declines in print sales and advertising. GroupM estimates that UK news brand ad expenditure (print and digital) was £1,376m in 2019 and will decrease to £906m in 2024, a fall of 34%. 

Newspaper revenues by source in UK

Source: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/


Tips to press release marketing in UK

The details of a standard press release structure and news dissemination is beyond the scope of this piece, but you can find an elaborated guide on it from our team. However, we have some tips on common practices and things to be aware of specific to the UK which we shared in two sections below. 

  1. Common practices and language

How to pitch

Generally speaking, compared to other European countries, the UK is one of the best places to send a press release. Even if they cannot publish all, journalists are really open to news releases and they try to read all the new stories in their inbox to stay updated about the brands. However, the releases should only be sent when there is really something new to announce like a new product launch or service or partnership. 

The way you pitch your story may differ from country to country depending on the habits. While the journalists in Benelux prefer exclusivity and the journalists in Germany and in the UK are more relaxed about it. That being said, this does not mean you should send your release to all the lists. Targeting journalists is crucial in the UK. Journalists, whose inbox is already full of many emails, find it annoying to receive news which has no relevance to their readers. Hence, depending on the content of your release, you should find the most relevant journalist in the related media. For example, if you are going to send a release about a new mobile phone model you should check the Guardian’s or BBC’s website or your media databases to see if any of the journalists have written about other mobile phone models or similar products, and then initially send the news to only those journalists. Alternatively, you can consider tailoring your story to suit the reader audience of every journalist. 

Journalists in the UK prefer to receive the bulletins in a plain text format copied into the body of the email and not as an attachment – which can be flagged as spam. If you have links, images or videos it is also advised to give links to them in the mail body and not attach them. You can have a 'Note to editors' section where you can note the things you can provide on request like photos or white papers. 

Thou shall not brag and prate

British people are a bit more direct, particularly when it comes to business language, so you should try to avoid jargons and wordiness. Be sure your bulletin is not crowded with words and it is plain and straight-forward.   

You should also limit the self-promotion tone in the British press statements. This can be quite hard if you are especially from a country like the US where promoting your brand or yourself is a natural part of business culture. However, in the UK too much self-promotion can be perceived as bragging and rude.  

Terminology of the British Isles

  1. Other things to watch

  • Vacations in the UK are generally about four weeks which is about twice as much compared to many other countries. Hence, if you are going to pitch your story to a selected group of journalists you should check they will be in front of their screen and not on a sunbed.
  • Bank Holidays: Each year there are up to eight extra days off in the UK called Bank Holidays. Be sure to include these to your checklist for the days to avoid PR distribution.
  • The distinction of terminology used for the British Isles: This is a sensitive issue. You must be extra careful when you are addressing the devolved nations. Never say "the UK" when you mean just England. Don’t mix Great Britain and “the UK” terms. PS: We shared a picture below to clarify the issue ☺. Also, never sound like you are simplifying complex issues like Scottish independence or Irish unity, if you ever have to mention them.
  • Boilerplate: Boilerplate is a significant element of a press release with basic but high-level info about the subject company of the bulletin. When you are spreading your story internationally, you should not forget to add a boilerplate since the company in question may be new to the journalists. You should also be extra careful to check your facts and figures and the units of measurement or titles that may change from country to country or expressed in a different way.

An international online PR company with local partners can relieve the burden

With our press release packages we can help you reach influential media contacts across the United Kingdom and internationally to spread your story and promote your brand. Our local and native PR agents can craft the best press statements to encapsulate your story, and our local extensions and news agency connections deliver targeted journalists to get your news covered in the most relevant media sections, which will create effective engagement with the specific press release target audience.  

Our press release marketing strategy will increase your brand exposure in targeted markets, help you position your brand and build credibility and contribute to your SEO efforts. If you like to increase your brand awareness in the UK or internationally without breaking the bank, check our website for our online pay-as-you-go PR services and we will be more than happy to help. 

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