Press release guidelines
How they should be written and what they should contain
In the current media noise it is often difficult to break through with a piece of news. Editors around the country are inundated with press releases. To ensure that they are read, it is important for press releases to be written in a reader-friendly style.
Several of the University’s journalists and communications officers can help in writing press releases. They also have access to media lists and the possibility of searching databases for the right journalists who have specialised in a certain technical field.
The subject of the press release can be grants/results in research projects, forthcoming doctoral theses, good degree projects, unusual investigation methods, etc. The message should include at least one of the criteria of newsworthiness, e.g. new, unusual, affecting many people or new angle on current debate.
Discuss with an communications officer what sort of press contact could be suitable. If the she or he recommends a press release, good documentation will make it easier to produce one.
- A heading and lead paragraph that inspire reading quickly give the reader an indication of what the press release is about.
- State the most important and most interesting things first, such as conclusions, consequences or opinions.
- Explain what your findings entail for those concerned.
- Avoid/explain technical terms. Also avoid vague, ambiguous words.
- The text should not be longer than 1500–2000 characters.
- Attaching an image or illustration, even a simple one, often increases the information value.
- Leave plenty of contact details (telephone and email) and remember that you must be available to answer questions when the press release is sent out!
Tips on content
The content should be reader-friendly and comprehensible, but it is equally important that it is correct and that the relevance of the research is neither misinterpreted nor overinterpreted. Therefore, consider the following:
- Impact. Consider the reception of the final article. Avoid the possibility of alarmist or exaggerated conclusions.
- Uncertainty. Clarify any uncertainties associated with the research. Be clear about any limitations and weaknesses concerning the results. This can be done by describing the method and structure of the research.
- Scientific status. Has the research been published in a research journal or is it a hypothesis?
- Context. Mention related research and knowledge for better understanding and credibility so that the results are not misconstrued as biased or more (or less) significant than they are.
- Transparency. Be open about research funding and collaboration partners, as well as any business interests and commercialisation plans.
- Newsworthiness. A press release should be written when the content, from any aspect, is considered to be of public interest. If not, perhaps you should consider other means of communication instead.
press [at] kommunikation [dot] lu [dot] se
Press Manager, University Management
+46 46 222 70 18
anna [dot] johansson [at] rektor [dot] lu [dot] se
+46 46 222 07 69
kristina [dot] lindgarde [at] lth [dot] lu [dot] se
+46 46 222 70 17
jonas [dot] andersson [at] kommunikation [dot] lu [dot] se
+46 727 07 45 46
lotte [dot] billing [at] kommunikation [dot] lu [dot] se