How to write a media release that attracts media attention
Writing a media release is one of the best ways to let journalists know about any exciting or important developments in your business or industry - and generate publicity.
But when journalists are bombarded with media releases everyday by other businesses and individuals all vying for their attention, it can sometimes be hard to get noticed.
While your media release isn’t expected to be a perfect print ready story, the more you can do to make a time-poor, deadline-driven journalist’s job a little easier, the better.
So here are eight tips to help you increase the chances of your story being picked up by the media:
1. Make it newsworthy
First and foremost, it must include news. This may seem obvious but so many businesses bombard journalists with media releases that promote themselves and have very little news value. As a result they can start to get a reputation with the media and can end up being ignored.
Look for the human interest in the story you are pitching. Journalists will want to know how people are affected and what the benefits or disadvantages are for them. If you read, watch and listen to the news you will soon see that human interest is a key element in news stories.
2. Write the most important points first
The way you write a media release is vastly different to how you would normally communicate in business. Usually you would build your case, provide reasons, arguments, facts and proof and then finish with a strong conclusion that gives your point of view on the issue and/or your proposed solution.
But this is the opposite with the media. They want your conclusion first. They want to know your opinion or position on the issue and the most important points first. After that they want to hear your facts, statistics, proof and background. So be sure to answer who, what, where, when, why and how within the first two paragraphs.
3. Make your headline and first paragraph gripping
In the same way a journalist has a few seconds to hold their readers attention, you have a few seconds to grab theirs, so make it count. Read through newspapers and magazines to see how they develop their headlines and lead paragraphs for specific stories and be sure to read, listen to or watch the media outlet you intend to target to see how they package their stories.
4. Avoid using industry slang or jargon
It can be easy to think that by using bigger words and industry jargon you will showcase your expertise, but this can often have the opposite effect. News stories need to be understood by everyone, including those that aren’t familiar with your industry. Use short words and simple language.
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5. Make your points sharp and succinct
News articles are short and succinct so make sure you articulate your key points quickly and clearly. Writing in an active voice will also help you to keep your sentences concise. For example, say “the dog chased the cat” as opposed to “the cat was chased by the dog.”
6. Write in third person
When you write your media release make sure it is written in third person. Never use ‘I’, ‘me’, ‘mine’, ‘we’, ‘us’ or ‘ours’, except when applicable in a quote.
7. Keep it short
Keep your paragraphs short, ideally one sentence in length. Also try to keep your media release to one page. Any optional extras (photos, bios, background etc.) can be on the following page, though the media release itself should be kept as short as possible.
Spelling errors can affect your credibility significantly so be sure to proofread your media release very carefully.