How to write a media release
If you have news about your business which may be of interest to the media, distributing a media release is a tactic you should consider. A media release (or press release) is a statement which announces your news and is distributed to multiple media outlets at one time. The media may then use the information provided in your media release to write a story.
When is a media release the right choice?
A media release may be the right choice if you have something newsworthy and timely which you’d like to share widely. For example, if you are launching a new product or service, have expanded to a new office location or have appointed a new CEO, a media release may be a good option. There needs to be a hook to grab the attention of the reader so make sure that your news is interesting and new.
When is a media release the wrong choice?
If you don’t have something new to announce, if there is no hook to your story or if your news is better shared exclusively with one media outlet, than a media release will be the wrong choice. If you have a good story to share which isn’t appropriate for a media release you may be able to employ another tactic such as writing an opinion article or pitching for a media interview. This should be assessed on a case by case basis.
How to write a media release
A media release is similar in style to an article written by a journalist. It needs to start with the most important information upfront and build out to the least important information.
An easy way to remember how to structure your media release is to think about the inverted pyramid.
At the top is the lead – the most important information, followed by the body – other important details and finally the tail – the background.
Use a catchy headline
Use a headline which will grab attention immediately.
Identify the hook
Your media release needs to have a hook that makes it interesting for a journalist. This is what makes the media release newsworthy.
Cover the who, what, why, where, how
Make sure to cover off on the who, what, why, where and how of your news. Much of this will be covered in your key messages, so make sure you have developed these first.
Share the facts
A media release is designed to share the facts, not an opinion. Include stats or evidence as much as possible to give credibility to your news. Opinions should be reserved for quotes.
It goes without saying that your media release must be well written. Minimise jargon, be succinct and write in the active voice.
Quotes give the story more colour and provide an opportunity to share an opinion. It’s important to include a quote from your spokesperson as this saves journalists from needing to organise an interview with your spokesperson if they don’t want to.
Boilerplate & contact information
Include some standard information about your company (boilerplate) and contact details at the bottom of the media release.