Media releases are a great way to get your story out to the media, whether it’s the launch of a new business or product, or a comment on something topical in the news.
The way to make sure your media release grabs the editor’s attention – and isn’t filed away with the other hundreds of releases received – is to make it newsworthy.
This is difficult to define as newsworthy means something different to everybody, but bear in mind your release will not be considered unless it is of interest to readers. This means promoting your local connection if you are targeting local media, giving your opinion as an expert on a trend for industry-specific media, or tailoring a product launch release to appeal to a certain section of the media, such as fashion or pets. Here are some tips for a great media release:
- Like a newspaper article, the introductory paragraph of a media release must contain something that interests the journalist. This is called the “hook”
- The first paragraph must contain as many of the following as possible: who, what, where, when, why and how. If the introduction is longer than one or two sentences (across three lines of text) try paring it down and put the remaining who, what, where, when, why and how points in the second paragraph.
- Write in an inverted pyramid style, ie the most important points are in the first paragraph, followed by the second most important and ending with the least important. This way your media release can be edited from the bottom to fit without losing your message.
- Write short sentences and keep paragraphs to one or two sentences.
- Make sure you quote someone – yourself or another person relevant to the topic from your organisation – so the journalist can include the quotes in the article. This gives the story a voice.
- Do a spelling and grammar check and get someone else to read the media release before you send it out to ensure it reads well and makes sense.
- Keep the body of the media release to one page if possible.
- Put the words “Media Release” at the top-right of the page with the date underneath.
- Add a memorable headline underneath the date so your media release stands out. Keep it to one line and write as a sentence, not in upper case. The headline should be in bold font.
- Ensure you include contact details at the bottom of the release. There must be at least a name, title, phone number and email, but it’s also good to include an after-hours number or alternative contact and website address. This ensures the journalist can contact you if they want further information or would like to do an interview.
- A company information paragraph, called a “boiler plate”, is not necessary but is useful to add at the end of the media release. This usually includes information about when the organisation started, what product or service it provides and where it is located. It is similar to the “About Us” page many company websites have.
Date: Day Month, Year
Introduction: stating who, what, where when, why and how.
Body paragraphs following inverted pyramid style, with quotes.
Contact details with at least name, title, phone number and email.
About the organisation (boiler plate)