If you are looking to gain media coverage for your business and build your reputation, then being able to write a good media release is really important.
Media releases (more commonly known as press releases) are short and compelling stories to be sent to targeted journalists. The goal is to get your story picked up by publications. Gaining news coverage in this way has a variety of benefits, which you can learn more about in our dedicated blog post on Digital PR.
Journalists can receive hundreds of media releases every day, so it’s important that yours stands out. Here are our top media release tips to help your business grow and thrive with public relations.
Ask yourself, what’s my story?
Our number one public relations tip is to ensure you have a newsworthy story. It’s important to think of a media release as being a resource for a journalist, rather than an advert for your business. It’s about what you can do for them, rather than what they can do for you!
So, when brainstorming your media release, consider whether your story is of interest to a publication’s readers. There needs to be a purpose behind your media release. For example, perhaps you have launched a new product, won an award or are hosting an event. Think about why your event is of interest to a reader.
The answer to this will depend on the publication you are pitching to, and whether they are regional or national. Regional publications often look for local success stories, whereas national publications want stories that comment on nationally relevant issues that are of interest to a wider audience.
Make your purpose clear in the first paragraph
Now that you have your story and the purpose of your media release, ensure that you make this clear immediately. Your first paragraph should include the 5 W’s – who, what, where, when, and why? This will hook the reader by immediately letting them know what your media release is about.
Ensure that you also make this information clear in the first line of your email. Your email content is just as important as your media release, as it provides a journalist with their first impression of your story.
Include a quote
Journalists love quotes. Quotes can add a human element to a story, as they are the only part of your media release in which you can express an opinion – the rest of the media release must be factual and informative.
So, use a quote to add value for journalists, by elaborating on something you’ve said elsewhere. For example, if you’ve launched a new product, explain who it will be useful for and why.
Also ensure that your quote sounds human. If your quote is overly well-written and polished, they won’t sound genuine. If you are writing a quote on behalf of someone else, take the time to speak to them and consider how they talk. What turns of phrase and what sort of vocabulary do they use? Imagine how your message would be spoken, rather than written on the page.
Add multimedia to your media release
The best media releases will go beyond text, providing the journalist with as much source material as possible.
Multimedia, such as pictures and videos, can help increase engagement. 91% of consumers prefer interactive, visual content to static, text-based content.
Adding multimedia either as an attachment or a hyperlink can help your media release stand out in a journalists’ inbox. Images help to tell a story. Including an original picture can provide further information or a human element, making your story more appealing.
Plus, including links to multimedia content that expands upon your story can help you to land a backlink within news coverage. Let’s imagine you are pitching a data-led story with the headline ‘3/5 Brits admit to hiding chocolate from their partners’. You could create infographics that show your data in an accessible and engaging way. This gives journalists a motive to link to this unique content on your website, as it adds value for their readers.
Choose the right moment
When considering the ‘why’ behind your news story, think about ‘why now?’. There needs to be a reason why it is of interest to readers today. Think about any holidays, awareness days, or seasonal events that are coming up, and whether you can tie your news story into them. This provides an anchor for when your story should be published.
Even better, being reactive to current events is extremely helpful for journalists. Perhaps something big is happening in your industry, or there’s a cultural event going on that’s related to your business in some way.
Plan your media releases ahead, ensuring that you send them out to journalists in plenty of time. If you are pitching a story for a specific event, send this 2-3 weeks ahead. This allows for you to follow up in plenty of time. Sending too far ahead of time can lose your story among pressing, breaking news stories.
- Top media release tip: Christmas is the one, big exception to this rule. Journalists often start planning their content and looking for products to review as early as June. So, your media releases for festive products and services should be sent out over summer to fit journalists’ schedule.
When it comes to writing a media release, the devil is in the detail. These media release tips will get you started on your way to securing PR. But for more in-depth guidance on writing a media release, we offer an e-learning course. If you’d like to learn more about the course before enrolling, do get in touch. We love to natter.