While media relations is only one part of your overall PR campaign, and being able to write a great media release (also known as Press Release) can make or break the success of your outreach. There is a lot of a competition out there and your release has to be relevant and timely. Done well, it can be a great way of getting information to media outlets about your announcement. Here are a few tips to consider when writing your upcoming media release:
Develop strong messaging
This means writing down the defining points about your brand, organization, and announcement. You have to be able to identify which are the most important and which are the least important, so you know which information to include in the media release. Journalists see a huge amount of these every day, so being concise is key!
Find a relevant hook
The hook is meant to capture interest – it’s what makes your announcement unique. Just because something is happening with you doesn’t mean it’s going to interest anyone else. You have to make the story interesting to a wide range of people, especially in your target audience. You could include statistical research on a topic that people want to hear about, or even a human-interest aspect to the story. For example, you could be partnering up with a charity or community group.
Use a killer headline
Put yourself in the mindset of a journalist and develop a headline that could work as a great news article headline. Keep it short and attention-grabbing. Click-bait is a little too far, as you want people to read beyond the headline, but spinning it correctly can help hugely. Say you have some interesting data on a relatively dull sounding topic, like Microsoft Excel. The data shows that millions have been lost through a wrong formula or keystroke, so highlight that rather than focussing on the program it was done in, or how.
Get to the point
This is the most important aspect of your content and you shouldn’t wait to get it out. By the end of the first paragraph who, what, when, where, why, and how should be answered. Any more than this is just fluff, any less and you haven’t included enough information. The rest of the release is there as supporting information.
Include an enticing quote
You should have a spokesperson that is ready to speak to the media should they call. The media often use quotes when they are covering a story and if you give them a great quote as part of your release it makes it easier for them. This means your quote should use some of your key messages and they should not be background information.
Keep it short
A media release should be easy to read and quick. Media outlets often get hundreds of releases daily, so you need to make it easy for them to get through yours. If you can keep it to one page that’s best.
Revise, revise, revise
You should never send out a release without reviewing it first. Make sure you have no spelling or grammar errors and that the flow of the release makes sense. Grammatical or spelling mistakes are the worst, as they make your whole company look completely unprofessional, and will be picked up on rather than the content of the release. Any time you can get someone else to review the content for you is even better!
Include contact information
Make sure the media has some way to reach you. It’s best to include more than one way for them to get a hold of you. Include the name of the contact person and their phone number and email.
Watch your tone
This isn’t a marketing sales piece, so avoid the hype and jargon you would include when selling your products and services. Write in the present tense and focus on the facts of the story you are telling rather than a sales pitch.