29/12/2016 Uncategorized 0
Make the most of your media releases

Want to get your media release noticed? Use these guidelines to maximise the impact of your media release.

1. Write in order of importance

Read any news article and you will see that the most important and relevant information is included in the opening lines.

Just like a news article, a media release should follow the same structure of prioritising the most important information. Details should be included later.

In the hands of an expert, the opening paragraph of a news article is somewhat of an art form. Years ago at university I remember journalism students spending an entire study unit on how to write the first paragraph of an article.

Primarily, the art of the introductory sentence boils down to including  the who, what, when, where and why in an interesting but brief manner.

For example, an opening sentence might be:

“Local children are set to enjoy a new playground thanks to months of hard work by  a group of volunteers.”

The remaining contents should then elaborate on the details.

2. Keep the story interesting

No one wants to read a boring story. This includes editors. Particularly if they receive multiple media releases on a daily basis.

News articles will only get published if they are relevant and interesting to their readers.

So how can you make your media release interesting?

One of the most effective ways is to feature aspects of “human” interest. In other words, bring a personal story or human feelings into your article.

For example, a media release  might have as its main point that a local business is raising funds for charity. The story could be made to be more interesting if the article outlined why staff chose to fundraise for that particular cause. Alternatively the media release could include a personal story of someone who had been helped by the charity.

One way to improve the human interest value, is to include direct quotes from people. For example:

“The parent is happy that the children have a fun and safe playground,” is much less effective than:

“I am so happy to see the children having fun in their new, safer playground,” said the parent.

It is also important to forward the media release to the appropriate editors and publications who are likely to be interested in your story.

Additionally, make sure that you also publish your media release on the information outlets that you control, in order to reach stakeholders who are already interested in you. This might include emails, newsletters, company publications, mail or social media.

3. Keep your information short and snappy

Try to keep your media release to one page. Put yourself in the journalist’s shoes. They simply do not have the time to read through pages of copy about your particular story.

4. Make sure you draw editors and readers in with a good headline.

First impressions count. Often editors will not read past a poor headline, they just have too many other things to deal with. Think about what it is that makes your story interesting and try to reflect this in the headline.

For example:

“Volunteers team up to give kinder kids a safer play area” carries more interest than:

“Working bee for kindergarten playground.”

Also ensure that your headline is accurate. Just as a headlines can entice readers they also form expectations. A headline that does not reflect the true substance of your media release will turn readers off when they actually read the article.

5. Use a short, engaging headline

Use the headline to summarise the essence of your story. Tailor headlines for a busy newsroom, by keeping them brief. Often journalists and editors only have time to briefly scan a media release, and will rely on the headline to give them the substance of the story.

Sometimes it is easier to write your headline last, once you have written your entire article.

6. A sub headline can highlight valuable details

If you are struggling to summarise your release in the headline, you can always elaborate with a sub headline.

7. Avoid business jargon

Do not use names or terms that readers may not be aware of. The journalist may not be aware of what you are saying too. Avoid loading your text with lots of adjectives and big words. Instead use plain English, that gets the message across and minimises the chances of any misunderstandings.

8. Write using an “active voice”

Use active rather than passive voice when writing media releases. Active voice conveys a sense of immediacy and accuracy. Basically, writing in active voice means to write about the subject performing the action. An example of an active voice is:

“The child used the slide,” (active voice).

An example of passive voice is:

“The slide was used by the child,” (passive voice).

Also make sure the release is written in the third person. In other words, write about yourself as if you were another person, using pronouns such as “he” and “she”. Do not include words such as “we” or “I”, unless they are in a direct quotation.

Happy writing.

emma reeves copywriter

Do you want more information? Do you need a copywriter? Contact me.

Follow me for more info and resources