Online PR

We had some great training recently from Craig McGinty on Online PR, because it’s an area we’re dealing with for our clients more and more.

We worked specifically on how to write compelling press releases, and some of the more traditional aspects of PR that us geeky digital types often miss…

It’s all well and good knowing how to seed an article, but if the article’s not much good in the first place then it’s bound to struggle.

Craig reminded us of the Five Ws (and one H) that we learned at school a couple of years ago (ahem)  :

  • Who
  • What
  • Why
  • Where
  • When
  • How

He also spoke about the inverted pyramid method of writing used in journalism; where you give the most important piece of information clearly and concisely first, then move on into further detail.

inverted pyramid for online PR

This is something I don’t make a conscious effort to do, but after thinking about it, it makes perfect sense in a digital world.  Because people don’t read a blog or a website in the same way they read newspapers – they scan quickly in a series of horizontal movements, then vertically down the left hand side (as shown in the diagram below from Jakob Nielsen’s

Eye tracking
  • Ben

    Looking at the inverted pyramid, shouldn’t that be a trapezium? Cut the fluff out completely?

    Personally, I try to write all my articles in the style of the Economist That’s a great book to read and follow.

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  • Nice article. Would you not agree that most press releases are 90% fluff anyway?

  • Katrina Gallagher

    Hi Ben,

    The following diagram would probably have expressed that better… but I liked the humour of the ‘important stuff -> fluff’ diagram…

    Inverted Pyramid

    The idea is that you go into further details as you get further into the article. The reader can skim the top to get the gist of the story, but an interested reader can delve further if they wish.

    But you’re spot on, you shouldn’t pad things out with unnecessaries.


  • Good stuff – the pyramid is a classic and still totally relevant online.

    The other critical thing for online releases to be is totally keyword optimised in line with a search ‘market’ that’s proven to already exist… and stuffed with interesting content and links to drive new traffic to your target web site…

  • …update to earlier comment. If you’re interested, we’ve written a good ‘how to’ paper on how to create good, optimised web content. you can grab it here:

    hope it’s useful!

  • Katrina Gallagher

    That’s ideal, sorry for the delayed reply Roger, I think I missed that one.

    Thanks for the update too!