Tips for writing an effective media release

January 18, 2018

 

Developing and distributing a media release is one of the most effective ways of telling your story to the media.

 

The main rule is that all releases need to be newsworthy. If a release isn’t newsworthy, then it simply won’t get picked up. What makes items newsworthy differs greatly from one publication to the next or even from one section to the next. News is something new, up-to-the-minute and of interest to the readers.

 

The following are some top tips from Reality Marketing for writing an effective media release:

 

1. Make the headline catchy

 

Most journalists will spend just a few seconds deciding whether something looks interesting. If they don't immediately understand what your story is about, and it doesn’t generate interest, they'll move on to the next thing in their inbox.

 

2. Tackle the who, where, when what, how in the first paragraph

 

The lead paragraph is the most important and should provide a ‘hook’ for the journalist. It should contain who, what, when, where, why, and how. Don’t make the lead paragraph too long; try to keep it at two to three lines long.

 

3. Target for the publication and audience

 

Ensure that your media release is suitable for the publication you are targeting and be sure to research the audience and gain a sound understanding of what they like to read and what may interest them in the future.

 

4. Be concise

 

Write in short sentences, short paragraphs and keep the information simple and to the point. The ideal length of a press release is about an A4 side or about 300 to 400 words (the length of a short news item). That's just three or four short paragraphs and a couple of quotes. Use active language and write in the third person.

 

5. Include relevant quotes

 

If you read an article in the paper, you will see they almost always include quotes. So, you should provide insightful quotes to use to make it easier and more likely for the editor to publish. Attribute the pertinent quotes to a specific and relevant person in the organisation and ensure they are newsworthy.

 

6. Watch the grammar and typos

 

A good press release has no typographical or grammatical errors. Be sure to proof read and get someone with fresh eyes to also proof the release where possible.

 

7. Remember the basics

 

Head the release with “Media Release” and date it clearly. At the end of the release add “For further information, contact. . . ” The contact details should include name and telephone number, including an after-hours number and website URL. The editor must have somebody to call to answer questions or to be interviewed.

 

8. Provide quality images

 

It is always a good idea to provide high quality images that can help to bring the piece to life and also make it easy for the editor to publish.

 

Bonus tip- follow up is crucial- be persistent but not pushy

 

Most journalists are swamped with media releases, so it may take you a few attempts and a bit of following up to land press coverage for your business. Don't give up though; determination and a willingness to learn can take you a very long way.

 

Good luck! If you need any help with creating media releases and managing your PR strategy, please contact Reality Marketing. Email leonie@realitymarketing.com.au today!

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