I’ve written and spoken about how to write media releases many times (I even give away a report to new subscribers to my newsletter). I thought it was about time to revisit the topic because it’s even harder to get noticed by the media now than ever before.
Journalists receive hundreds of emailed media releases every day so there must be something that makes yours climb to the top of this heap. I’ll share some ways to ensure this happens with you here.
Make is newsworthy
The opening of your store or book launch is newsworthy to you, but not necessarily to a journalist. The local media will most likely be interested in this story because their audience likes knowing what is happening in their area, but to appeal to national and industry media you’ll need to do some more work. Think about why you are opening the store in that location – are you responding to demand for a physical store in that suburb because people can’t find what they need online? Or is your book answering burning questions or providing information no other book does? Drill right down to what makes your news interesting to each segment of the media (Hint: each media outlet will have a slightly different idea of what newsworthy is.)
Write a great headline
Your headline must say what your news is in a few words, preferably not more than one line. The headline will also be the subject line of your email so this is the first thing the journalist will see of your media release (ie “Media Release: [insert headline]”). Make a good first impression with something clear, brief and to the point.
Structure your media release like a news story
Journalists are busier now than ever before. There are less of them to publish more content across print and online publications. This means the easier you make their job, the more likely they will be to take notice of what you have to say.
Write your media release like a good news story with an introduction that sums up your release in 15-20 words, followed by 3-4 body paragraphs that explain one point each. You don’t need to go into lots of detail and bog the journalist down with facts. Just include the major points.
Don’t forget quotes
Intersperse quotes with the body paragraphs to provide insightful expertise about the point you have mentioned. The person quoted should not be explaining facts (these are included in the body of the release), but offering an opinion about those facts. For example, “February 29 is a date that occurs every four years,” is a fact, however a marriage celebrant might be quoted as saying, “I am expecting an influx of wedding bookings after February 29 because women traditionally propose to men on this day”. (Hint: don’t quote your expert using jargon or too-technical language.)
Introduce your release
Before you launch straight into your media release, start your email by addressing the journalist by their (correctly-spelled) name and then give a short one-paragraph introduction that shows you understand how your release fits with their publication. Include your release under this introduction.
Once you have your attention-grabbing headline, an introduction that sums everything up, body paragraphs and insightful quotes, don’t forget to include the ways the journalist can find out more at the end. At the very least put your website, a contact phone number and email. Add social media handles too if you’re likely to be online.
This is a good spot to include a low-resolution version of the photos you have to illustrate your story. Offer to send high res versions if they are interested. (Hint: once you’ve sent your media release to the journalist don’t forget to follow up within a few days and, possibly, the following week.)
It is unlikely that every journalist your send your media release to will respond, but the more research you do about the publication, the better your hit rate will be.