How to make your media release a masterpiece
When I first started out in the world of PR, I knew I could write. I thought I could write pretty well actually. I’d had 150 articles published, so writing a media release would be a shoe in.
Although I knew how to write lovely stories, I didn’t know how to write for the media, from a PR perspective.
My first media release wasn’t too ba. It got some pretty good coverage for my client, but when I look back now I must admit I cringe a little (maybe a lot). What was I thinking? I should have known better.
After 15 years I do know better. And I want you to know too.
Anyone can write, we all learnt how to at school. But there’s writing, and then there’s journalistic writing, and then there’s media release writing.
A media release is to tell the media about your business, product, service, book etc., with the aim of the journalist falling in love with your story and wanting to feature you.
There is, however, an art to writing a media release. If you don’t have anyone in your business with writing skills, it’s worth getting a professional to write the release for you. If you do have a wordsmith, just follow this easy template and you should have the media eating out of your hand.
Your Fool-Proof Media Release Template
Firstly, make sure the information you are providing is newsworthy and interesting to the general public.
Start With Impact
The heading and first paragraph should be catchy and tell the story as you only have a few seconds to grab the reader’s attention. The rest of your release should provide the relevant detail.
Keep It Simple
Use only enough words to tell your story and avoid using unnecessary adjectives and flowery language as wordiness distracts from your story. Keep it concise and make each word count.
Speak [write] plainly using normal language. Jargon is a language specific to certain professions or groups and is not appropriate for general readership. Avoid using exclamation points, italics and over punctuating.
Include factual information (don’t exaggerate or lie) and include testimonials where appropriate.
Pick an Angle
Try to make your release timely. Tie your news to special events or seasonal topics. Example: ‘Beat the Winter Woes or ‘Get Set for Summer’.
Include all contact details:
Name of your company
Name of contact person
A well-written media release will definitely be considered and may even be used word-for-word.
Journalists get hundreds of emails a week, even a day, so when you do pique their interest with your fabulous, eye-catching headline, make sure there’s not a typo in sight as a poorly written release, full of spelling mistakes and grammatical errors, will end up in the bin.
So if your story warrants a release make sure you cover all the points above.
Where Should I Send my Media Release?
There are many places you can send your media release as all media outlets are continually looking for new and interesting story ideas, from print magazines, newspapers, television, radio and all social platforms.
Contacting the Media
You’ve written your media release and are ready to send it out.
You’ve identified the media outlets most suitable for your release. Next it is essential to find out the name and email address of the person within that organisation to whom you should send the release.
While it may take time initially, it is worth establishing strong contacts will all your relevant local media.
If you do get your story picked up, make sure you do all you can to accommodate the media and make it as easy for them as possible. If they want to interview you, set it up immediately. If they need extra information, get it to them as soon as you can.
And lastly, if you get knocked back, be humble. If you get cranky with a journo for not featuring your story, you’ve almost certainly blown your chance of ever getting picked up again.
As you can see, media release writing is very specific. Sending the release out and following up can be time consuming, but essential.
I’d love to know your thoughts, if you’ve got any great advice to add.
If you feel you don’t have the skills to write a professional media release or the time to send and follow up, but want to get in front of the media, let’s chat as I can do it all for you.