Churning out a media release

You’re a leader in your field – well known for professional productions, exceptional storytelling and a stellar cast and crew. So why is your story not being told in the media?

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You’re a leader in your field – well known for professional productions, exceptional storytelling and a stellar cast and crew. So why is your story not being told in the media?

The reality is it’s just one of millions of messages in the saturated mass communication world.

These tips are to help you write a media release for the reader. Yes, journalists are readers/human!

And yes, it should be just as scary as an opening night review. Remember – once you’ve publically released it, there is no going back. As soon as you press send or post, someone is reading or retelling it in the media and social media. Hopefully they bite and interview you for the bigger story, but either way, you need to live with your digital legacy forever.

Here are some simple 101s to make every reader, view, like or click count.

KISS – Keep it simple, stupid: Use plain English and avoid jargon! At the same time, don’t assume the reader is stupid.
Keep it short – don’t go over one page.

Headline: Make it interesting and catchy but specific ie 'Festival of Fish Strikes Again'.

Angle: Try to find an interesting angle which will make the journalist want to read more – remember they are constantly bombarded with media releases!

Inverted Pyramid:  It’s an old-school journalism rule, but a goodie. Put the most news worthy and important information in the introduction and first two paragraphs, additional and helpful information in the middle and the ‘nice to have’ general background at the end.

In print, the less important copy will be chopped from the bottom. Even if your media release is published in full on a website – readers have a low attention span.

  • Here are some basic tips for the beginning, middle and end of your media release

Introduction: Get across the essential information, the reason why you are sending this media release.  Put your newsworthy hook in the intro and by paragraph two make sure you’ve answered the basic questions of Who, What, When, Why, How?

Body: Now is your chance to flesh out those facts with more information and colour. Keep it to one point per paragraph, so it’s concise and easily scannable. Include quotes from key people that bring your story to life. Make sure you include their name and title.

End: Now you can tell people more about your background on the project, event and organisation. You can also put more in about your sponsors and related organisations. Include links.

Contact details:  Include your email, phone number and social media contacts. Make sure the contact is contactable!
Your media release is just a teaser – your end goal is that someone calls you to find out the real story, so check your messages regularly - on all platforms.

Triple Check: Not only is it bad form to recall a media release, but it’s also near impossible with the speed of the internet and social media. Make sure your facts are triple checked and it’s signed off within your team. Check you spelling, and, then, your grammer.

* * * Next Steps * * *

Now you've mastered Media Releases 101, you may be ready for the School of hard knocks - but be warned it's not for the faint-hearted!

Written by

Cathy Aronson

30 Nov 2012

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You'll need a strong stomach to digest this! So scull some yoghurt and prepare yourself for a crash course in the school of hard knocks for media releases.