Is there an Old Grey Whistle Test for Writing a Press Release?

PR, Press Release Format

By John Masterson

John Masterson presents The Saturday Brunch and guest hosts The Sue Nunn Show on KCLR96FM. He is also a regular contributor to national radio and a columnist for the Sunday Independent. John is a managing director of Purcell Masterson PR and Communications.

Is there an Old Grey Whistle Test for press releases? Over the years I have written a goodly number of press releases, reviewed ones being developed in Purcell Masterson and been on the receiving end of many when working in television, radio or journalism, all of which form part of my media life.

I always read a press release as if I was about to conduct an interview on the subject, live, and with just a commercial break or long pop song to give me time to decide what to do.

First of all I take in the headline as it directs my thinking and gives a clue as to what my first or last question will be. Then I circle all of the important information. The When, Where, Who, Why etc. and ask myself is there anything crucial I would like to know that is not there.  The one thing you do not want on live radio is to ask a question and get an “I don’t know.”

I look for a quote and think about how to get that quote on air without the person sounding like they are reading it. I check for websites and dates and I know I will probably close the interview with that information.

But most importantly I look for things that will interest the audience, and almost instantly decide that this interview might be worth a few extra minutes, or check what music or other material I have to hand in case it dies.

Everyone in the media thinks of their audience. The most important thing a press release can do is to attract the attention of the appropriate editor / producers who will place the material in the best slot to get your message through to the people who want to know about you.

Read it as if you knew nothing. And ask yourself, would the audience you want to know about the material, be interested. And will the gatekeepers en-route to that audience be sufficiently impressed to pick up the phone to the PR agency rather that use the shredder.

If you enjoyed this article you may also enjoy When to Write a Press Release and When to Pitch.


Purcell Masterson’s Coffee, Cake and Conversation Morning in support of the Cystinosis Foundation Ireland

On Friday, June 20th  Purcell Masterson hosted a Coffee Morning in aid of the Cystinosis Foundation Ireland.

The morning of coffee, cake and conversation proved to be a resounding success which saw over €600.00 raised for the foundation; an all-volunteer, non-profit organisation dedicated to providing services to those affected by a rare genetic condition called, Cystinosis. Over 60 local business people, members of the public and even Kilkenny’s newly elected Mayor Andrew McGuiness dropped by throughout the morning to enjoy some of the delicious baked goods prepared by the Purcell Masterson Office, the Pembroke Hotel and Newslink of Ormonde Street.

Purcell Masterson would like to extend a sincere thanks to all those who attended and generously supported the Cystinosis Foundation whose pioneering work in the field of rare diseases remains largely under the radar.

For more information see www.cystinosis.ie


Naoise Coogan

By Naoise Coogan

A press release is a good method by which you can inform the public of something new and interesting that is taking place within the company/organisation. It is an effective way to reach out and tell the general public about something that they might like or need, to know. We write press releases when we believe there is something that is deserving of media attention.

In order to attract the media’s attention, we need to ensure that we write concise and interesting press releases that will be enticing to journalists and producers within the print, TV and radio realms. Bearing in mind they receive hundreds of press releases on a weekly basis, there needs to be a good reason in the headline for them to pick it up and consider it. A good PR agent has the expertise to ensure that your press release will reach your target audience and offer a hook to journalists that they will not be able to ignore! Editors are always thinking of their readers, listeners and viewers.

Only issue a press release if you have something interesting to say! There is no point in writing a press release and taking the time to send it out and follow it up, if there is nothing of interest or of use within the pages. The most important point of a press release is the hook that will grab the reader and entice them to read it and then use it in their publication and/or programme. Look at the press release critically – would you read it?

Some reasons to issue a press release are as follows:

  • To alert the public to an event, study results, a campaign, charity event or news story in the area.
  • To inform the public of a new business or service that is now available
  • To build the profile of a business and proprietors of the business within a community
  • To remind the public about a company offering and about the company strengths in this regard
  • To inform about a new product on the market.
  • To give journalists the correct steer on an upcoming issue from the company’s perspective
  • To generally promote the brand and profile of the company within the public eye when there is a good reason to do so.

Bearing in mind that although you think your press release is of utmost importance, many journalists will not. Pitching journalists in an enticing manner is vital.

A good PR agent will choose your audience correctly by targeting journalists who are relevant and will write or speak about the topic in which you are promoting. There is no point in targeting a motoring journalist with a story about property or vice versa. PR professionals will think about the key media targets active on the issue you are discussing and target these people first and foremost from their contact lists.

The world of newspapers in particular has changed dramatically in the last decade. Now more than ever the news pages of the newspapers are dictated by advertising and are extremely commercially driven. Those that pay will get the space. Now more than ever to target your press release in such a way that it is enticing and worthy of space or airtime. PR professionals are the best people to do this in an appropriate manner.

To summarise, it is advisable to seek professional help when deciding to issue a press release about your business. A PR professional will keep your press release relevant and newsworthy and of value to the reader/ listener while also targeting the correct journalist. It is important to only write a press release when it is merited and pitch it at the appropriate time and to the appropriate person.

If you enjoyed this article you may also like Recycle your Press Release in 7 Easy Steps.


The Pembroke Hotel welcomes Korean Ambassador to the launch of Ireland’s First International Taekwondo Institute

[13.06.2014] The Pembroke Hotel and Guy Jones, Chairman of The Irish Lebanese Cultural Foundation along with a host of local representatives welcomed H.E Hae Yun Park the Korean Ambassador to Ireland, on Thursday, June 12th to celebrate the launch of the International Taekwondo Institute.

Guy , founder of The Kilkenny Taekwondo Club and chairman of the new International Taekwondo Institute also celebrated being awarded a 7th Dan Black Belt Kukkiwon in the Korean martial art. Along with Michael Ho, they are now the first Irishmen to receive this prestigious award which was celebrated at the launch in the Pembroke Hotel.

The Pembroke Hotel manager, Paul Broderick said, “We would like to offer our congratulations to Guy Jones on his recent High Dan Award and wish him continued success with the launch of the International Taekwondo Institute. We were especially delighted to welcome our esteemed visitor, Korean Ambassador to Ireland, Mr Hae Yun Park to the Pembroke Hotel and to Kilkenny City.”

Guy Jones, Founder of The Kilkenny Taekwondo Club commented, “I am thrilled to announce the formation of The International Taekwondo Institute in Kilkenny. Taekwondo is a Korean Martial Art that combines physical and mental strength exercises and teaches the values of Respect, Discipline, Self-Confidence and Honesty. Over 10 years the Kilkenny Taekwondo Club has overseen the training of 300 people in this sport. We are looking forward to further sharing the knowledge of this martial art to put it at the service of a better society.”

The International Taekwondo Institute is affiliated to The Irish Taekwondo Chungdokwan Association and will deliver fitness programmes through martial arts under the guidance of Guy Jones, a black belt in Taekwondo with twenty-five years of teaching experience. He will also offer special workshops from visiting instructors and participation in Taekwondo championships.

For more information you can contact Guy Jones on guyjonestaekwondo@yahoo.com or visit the city centre boutique hotel at www.kilkennypembroke.com


Campus Holidays are re-launched for a second year at University of Limerick

The University of Limerick has announced that it is to continue to offer its new ‘Campus Holidays’ initiative which was launched last year in a move to promote the University student villages as a great option for family holidays during the summer months.

A first for the university in 2013, Campus Holidays proved to be a success prompting a boost to tourism in the region and in particular for Campus Life Services – the subsidiary University company that manages, markets and develops the campus and its facilities for conferences, accommodation and events.

This year, Campus Holidays will be offering spacious apartments in one of UL’s charming residential villages where families and groups can avail of the campus’ many facilities and UL Sports Arena, Ireland’s largest indoor sporting complex, local flora and fauna trails, art collections, on-site restaurants and bars, concerts and events.

Families and groups can come and stay in 2/4/6 bed apartments and enjoy all the campus has to offer, while also taking in some of the many local tourist attractions such as King Johns Castle, Bunratty Castle and Folk Park and the UL activity Centre in Killaloe for the more adventurous visitor.

With Limerick City awash with arts and culture as it celebrates its status as Irish City of Culture this year, there will be no shortage of cultural events to attend throughout the summer months, while UL Sports Arena will take care of the sporting needs of all the family.

Linda Stevens, Director of Campus Life Services says, “I am very much looking forward to the second season of Campus Holidays, which was very successful last year and offered great opportunities for families and groups to spend time on a University campus. Staying on campus offers visitors the opportunity to experience all the on-campus amenities on offer and also provides a central base for those who want to travel further afield across the city and county and experience in full, all that Limerick has to offer – particularly in this special year where Limerick holds the status of City of Culture.

“We have developed a dedicated accommodation package for the national and international leisure market. Campus Holidays allows the University to showcase its excellent amenities to a new audience while allowing the creation of new revenue streams for the university.”

With UL hosting several prestigious events this year including the Special Olympics and the 10th anniversary year of the Drama League of Ireland, ‘Campus Holidays’ adds an innovative new accommodation offer to the city.

See www.campusholidays.ie or Tel: 061 234 178


When summer sun equals night-time fun for little ones – it’s time to call on Gro!

Long summer nights are very welcome for most of the population – except for those with small children. Bright nights can quickly turn into late nights for little ones who can’t sleep, and early mornings when children are woken by glorious morning sunshine.  When this happens, mums and dads turn to Gro.

Gro offers two very effective methods of encouraging children to stay in bed when they should be asleep – the Gro Anywhere Blackout Blind is a must-have for home and abroad during the summer months. When flimsy holiday-home curtains don’t cut it for kids, the versatility of this product allows you to easily and conveniently darken any room in a matter of minutes. It fits any window up to size 135cm x 200cm.

This versatile blind fits directly to the glass in minutes using suction cups ensuring a close fit and instantly creating a darkened environment. Once no longer needed the Gro Anywhere blackout blind folds neatly away in its handy travel bag.

The second solution for toddlers and older children is the Gro Clock, which operates on a stars at night, sun by day method, giving small children an easily understandable visual method of telling the time.  The clock face remains blue and the stars go out one by one throughout the night and when morning comes (at an appropriate time set by parents!) – the sun comes up on a yellow clock face indicating to kids that it’s ok to get up! There is a digital display as children get older and want to learn to read the time themselves offering independence to children as they grow up.

This clock is a must for children who don’t understand that 5am is not a good time to rise and for parents who also benefit from a full night’s sleep. The Gro Clock comes with a beautifully illustrated story-book also encouraging children to ‘read’ in bed until it’s time to get up.

Everyone welcomes the summer months, particularly when there are effective tools to deal with the challenges that summer brings at sleeping time. Don’t be caught out this summer. Get your Gro solutions today and feel the benefits from June to September.

Gro products are available at Butterslip, Rose Inn Street, Kilkenny including the very popular range of sleeping-bags and Gro toys and along with a further selection of great brands for babies and toddlers. See www.butterslip.com.


Belle Femme summer bras are floral and fabulous!

Over 80% of women are wearing the wrong-sized bra – Bridget Kearney, lingerie fitting expert

Belle Femme Lingerie Boutique on Kilkenny’s fashionable Kieran Street has summer sun packaged perfectly in a cool collection of fabulously, floral bras and briefs

With labels such as Fauve, Panache, Charnos, Huit and Lepel there is something beautiful for every shape and size at Belle Femme Lingerie.

Bridget Kearney, Proprietor of Belle Femme, offers women an expert and unique fitting service without the use of a tape measure, which makes Belle Femme Lingerie unique.

“I was trained in the UK by one of a handful of people worldwide to have a Masters Research degree in bra design and manufacture. The reason why we fit without the tape measure is that the body is elastic, but a tape measure is static.  A tape measure cannot measure volume, so it is essential that anyone advising women on wearing a bra should know how to assess and fit without a tape measure,” she says.

Bridget is passionate about finding the perfectly-fitting bra for every woman’s individual shape. She goes to great lengths to find the right bra for each of her customers who travel far and wide to experience her expertise and her stunning lingerie collections.

“Unfortunately more than 80% of women are wearing the wrong-sized bra,” she says. “Every woman is a 36C in their own eyes but of course this is not the case in reality. We are all very different shapes and sizes and therefore there is not a ‘one size fits all’ rule that works. Every brand is a different shape and fabric and there are also variations in size and therefore you may not be the same size in every brand. Women need to be fitted for every bra that they purchase in order to know they are wearing the correct size,” she says.

With a fabulous new range of summer lingerie in stock for the season ahead, Bridget is excited about the colour, styles and fabrics of what is hot this season.

“Florals are big at present and colour is always popular. Some women find it hard to get gorgeous lingerie in their size but at Belle Femme we stock all sizes and if it’s not in stock we can certainly order it for customers.”

Belle Femme is the go-to lingerie boutique in the south east and is located on Kilkenny’s trendiest pedestrianised shopping thoroughfare – Kieran Street. Stocking an array of new collections both in-store and online – pop in or log on to find your perfect bra, nightwear or swimwear for what we can only hope will be the long hot summer ahead.

Belle Femme also specialises in maternity and bridal wear with a large selection of backless and strapless options which are offered in ivory, white and nude colours.

See www.bellefemmelingerie.ie or call 056 7756836.


Jerpoint Glass celebrates one year online and an increase in retail sales

Jerpoint Glass Studio in County Kilkenny has recorded a significant boost in sales from overseas customers since the establishment of the online business www.jerpointglass.com.

Jerpoint Glass has proven itself as one of Ireland’s top heritage craft companies with strong local and national connections, however in recent years, the proprietors, the Leadbetters could see that the family-run business was becoming a victim of the downturn and that it would be necessary to target a new audience.

With the help of a grant from Kilkenny County Enterprise Board, the website was born. The establishment of the website and online store along with an integrated digital presence incorporating social media was the obvious solution and has since opened up the company to new audiences from as far away as Hong Kong, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, the USA and Canada.

With year one just behind them, the Leadbetters have already recorded some 18,500 visitors to the site adding an additional 50% increase in sales online year on year and with a 10% increase in overall retail sales.

The average spend online was €116.00 and Director of Marketing, Sally Leadbetter says that some of this increase in sales can be attributed to the ability to highlight particular products at specific times of the year and to their exclusive online special offers.

“Our website has become a platform for what we can offer on a seasonal basis along with what we have on offer all year round. For example on Valentine’s Day we can showcase a particular product that would make an appropriate Valentine’s gift such as a pair of wineglasses in red or pink colours. This spring we launched our new Forest shade which is all about greens, turquoises and yellows. Throughout the summer months we will feature special offers on popular wedding gifts, now all of these can be showcased to the world, without anyone having to travel to our studio in County Kilkenny or seek out a retail outlet that offers Jerpoint Glass. The website has become the perfect virtual shop-window for our business,” she says.

Jerpointglass.com has also led to an increase in enquiries about corporate gifts, personalised gifts and logo placement on a piece of Jerpoint Glass, including the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Small Firms Association and Coillte.

“Companies that have executives travelling overseas, want to offer an Irish gift to their host and Jerpoint Glass has proven very popular in this realm and it can all be done via our website and packaged and posted to its destination without any hassle. This is proving a popular option for corporate customers and invaluable to our new business offering,” says Sally.

“Overall, the addition of the online store has been hugely beneficial to Jerpoint Glass, not only in the capacity of increased sales and lead generation but also it has encouraged us to take a more holistic approach to the business, incorporating social media, blogging and other digital channels as we strive to keep our offering fresh online and in store,” concluded Sally.





Treat mom this Mother’s Day with a day off or a gift from Butterslip

With Mother’s Day almost upon us, the mums of the world will be waiting, and waiting…. And waiting to be treated, well, like Dads for the day on Sunday March 28th!

This Sunday the moms of Ireland hope that they can wake up leisurely, accept a freshly made breakfast in bed, a snuggle with the newly washed children who have already had their baths with Daddy and arise to a clean house with the prospect of lunch out – or even prepared by somebody else.

Moms have the most undervalued job in the world and any woman would tell you that many moms go out to work in order to ‘get a break’, as being a full-time mom is truly hard work and of course there is no thanks offered to moms by young children or babies (and sometimes even teens!). The payment for moms is in the smiles and the hugs and the puckered kisses offered from time to time from the aforementioned angels – and indeed these offerings are much-appreciated.

But this weekend, why not overtly show the mom in your life that you value the work that she does – both inside and outside of the home. Why not offer her a break from cooking, cleaning and child-minding as a simple gift and a small way of saying ‘thank you’ for all you do for the family.

On the other hand, you could pop down to Butterslip gift-shop on Rose Inn Street in Kilkenny (www.butterslip.com for online shopping) and purchase your mom/wife/mother of your children a beautiful bespoke gift for Mother’s Day in the form of jewels, perfumes, handbags, scarves, truffles and much more. Butterslip is a stunning purveyor of prettiness where an array of vintage and stylish gifts are available for the woman in your life.

In the meantime, note that Anne Barber of Butterslip is hosting a coffee morning in aid of Cois Nore Cancer support services this Friday morning between 10.30 – 1pm if you would like to avail of a lovely cup of tea or coffee and some chocolate treats as you choose your Mother’s Day gift in store.

See www.butterslip.com for further information.

Destination Store seeks 30 Eggs-traordinary staff to hop on board for Ireland’s largest Easter Eggstravaganza

Destination Store seeks 30 Eggs-traordinary staff to hop on board for Ireland’s largest Easter Eggstravaganza

Having launched Ireland’s largest Easter Eggs-travaganza, leading destination and activity store, Rathwood, are now seeking 30 recruits to become part of their egg-citing Easter team.  This is the second year Rathwood will host its special Easter train event and due to its phenomenal popularity they have doubled the number of tickets available. Over 10,000 people are expected to visit the Tullow, Co Carlow based store this April.

Rathwood are looking for 30 eggs-traordinary fun staff to hop on board and become part of the experience which will run from April 12th to April 21st. The recruits will assist a host of fairy tale characters like the Easter Bunny, Humpty Dumpty and the Mad Hatter in creating a magical experience for visitors.

“We look forward to welcoming families from all over Ireland to our Easter train Eggs-travaganza but first we need to recruit 30 Easter soldiers who will assist Humpty Dumpty and the other magical characters. Successful candidates will be egg-ucated in what will be an egg-zosting but worthwhile eggs-ercise on all things Easter!” said James Keogh, MD of Rathwood.

“This year we are celebrating 20 years in business and we are committed to offering a top class destination to visit for special times of the year. We are extremely proud to have reached this significant milestone and a lot has changed over the past couple of years but we continue to adapt to the changing landscapes. It is a privilege that from our humble beginnings in 1994, we are now in a position to generate these employment opportunities while offering an unbeatable experience to our customers”.

The award-winning family run business has firmly established itself as Ireland’s leading venue for family activities and this year they will celebrate 20 years in business. The company employs 60 full time staff with this figure rising to over 150 at peak times such as Halloween and Christmas. A leading destination store housing clothing boutiques for men, ladies and children, gifts and home-ware, hand-crafted furniture, an extensive garden centre, a falconry attraction as well its popular Rathwood train attraction.

The Rathwood Easter Train will run from April 12th to April 21st and tickets are on sale now. Applicants wishing for more information can visit www.rathwood.com