How To Write a Media Release That Gets Noticed

5
(3)

Media Releases Are One Of The Fundamental PR Building Blocks. Media Releases allow us to produce news and stories in a format that newsrooms and editors can use as it stands, or as a base which they can grow into a bigger feature, article, programme or series.

How to Write a Media Release: A Very Short Media Release
A Very Short Media Release

Media Releases tell the Who, What, Why When, Where and How of a story (often referred to as 5Ws and 1 H). The secret is to deliver a headline that encourages people to read the first paragraph. The first paragraph then delivers the whole story in a couple of sentences at most. Next comes an expansion of the story, a quote or two from someone of interest and finally we add contact details and some background in a section entitled Notes for Editors. The whole story should ideally be on one side of A4 with the Notes to Editors running onto the second page.

Media Releases can be used to provide information on all types of story. From providing news of a new product or member of staff and other business milestones to mergers, new inventions, … anything that is newsworthy can go into a media release.

How To Write a Media Release: The Detail

Media Releases or Press Releases? What’s The Difference?

Media Releases were previously known as Press Releases. That was when most news was printed in the “press”, today the Internet allows us to promote our stories to radio, TV, podcasts, social media, and related media. It can be produced in written, audio or video format. Hence it’s now called a media release. Even if your story is only for the printed media the format is the same as a media release.

Does a Media Release Guarantee Coverage?

No. What a media release does is ensure your story gets in front of a journalist. It definitely doesn’t guarantee they will run the story. Many stories get “spiked” and are never used due to lack of space, lack of interest, more important stories taking precedence ( I had a huge story breaking the day the Queen Mother died. With her death my story also died. Her death was far more important than my story.)

What you will get by sending stories is noticed. Maybe not always right away, but your name and contact details are likely to be recorded for future reference. So media releases are worth considering and is why knowing How To Write a Media Release is important.

How To Write a Media Release: Media Release Format

Below is a typical media release format with notes. You can use this format for virtually any story.

Date AND Immediate Release or Embargoed Until Date …Note 1

Title … Note 2

Opening Paragraph 5W & 1 H …Note 3

Expansion Paragraph … Note 4

Quotes …Note 5

Optional Closing Paragraph … Note 6

Ends … Note 7

Notes to Editors … Note 8

Attachments – Images, Videos etc. … Note 9

Explanation of Notes

Note 1. Journalists are busy and don’t want to chase old stories. By putting the date on your story you are ensuring they know its current.

If you then say Immediate Release they know they can publish immediately.

The Embargo Date is used when you want to inform the journalist but don’t want anything published before it actually happens. Journalists normally honour this and might use the information to attend an event (though this is more likely if you are very famous or the event is earth-shattering). However, if you attach the speech that is being given by someone well-known don’t be surprised if there is an earlier story that says what is expected to be said. Politicians often distribute speeches in advance as it gives the journalist time to absorb the story and the politician time to amend the speech if they detect adverse comment.

Note 2. The Title is to whet the journalists’ appetite. It’s not the headline you want using in the paper. The sub-editor will write that.

Succinct headlines that tell a story are the objective. E.g Man Bites Dog. This is a headline that will intrigue a journalist as its different. The objective is to get them reading the rest of the release. Poor headline kill stories as the rest of the release is never read.

Note 3. The opening paragraph expands on the headline. It should be short and succinct, no more than two short sentences. It’s an art form.

What you need to say include here is the Who, What, Why, When, Where and How of the story.

Note 4. This expansion paragraph reiterates the opening paragraph but goes into more detail.

Think of each paragraph as telling the story in more detail. The opening paragraph has worked if it could be published on its own. So the expansion paragraph is there to add more body and information.

Note 5. Journalists love quotes and opinion. So, quote the CEO, the designer, the scientist, or whoever is important in the story. But make sure it is the most important person from the stories perspective. It’s not always the CEO!

Where journalists are covering a breaking story and can’t easily contact the people involved they use other people to give an “expert” view. For example, the Daily Mirror recently contacted me for advice on Harry and Meghan’s social media options.

Note 6. The closing paragraph is optional. People are often tempted to add one and can’t stop writing. They tend to drift off-topic and the story suffers. A Media Release should never exceed one page of A4. So think carefully before adding this paragraph. If there’s additional info you feel is important add it in the Notes to Editors.

Note 7. At the end of the story write the word Ends. This is an old convention from the days when releases were sent by post. It ensured the journalist knew they had the whole story and a piece of paper hadn’t been mislaid. With most release now going by email it’s no longer essential .. but still good practice.

Adding a word count here helps journalists to know how much space the story will take if they add your cop as it stands. Well written copy is often used as sent by some journalists .. especially if their deadline is approaching.

Note 8. Notes to Editors can go over the page and isn’t included in your one side of A4 length target. In these notes you can add something about things like your business, eg, Stefan Drew Associated was started in 2005 and mainly serves the education sector in the UK, Europe, South Africa and the US.

More importantly, provide a contact name and number(s). And ensure the people nominated aren’t on holiday or otherwise unobtainable .. the number is there to ensure they can fact check or contact you in future if they have a breaking story and want a quote. I’ve seen many greats stories fail because the nominated person is not available … beware.

Ensure you mention any images or videos you’ve attached .. so they don’t miss them.

Note 9. Include your images or videos as attachments to your email. Don’t embed your images in your media release. It compresses them too much and makes them unusable in many print processes … especially “glossy” magazines (you can see published sample images at the foot of the Interviews page on this site).

How To Write a Media Release: The Practical Details

Here’s a sample Media Release I used in 2011

Media Release

May 30th, 2011 Immediate Release

Marketing Magician to Demonstrate Free Marketing

BBC Marketing Magician, Stefan Drew, is returning to the Algarve with another demonstration of ways to market Portuguese based businesses. With two events at the Holiday Inn Algarve, his emphasis will be on how to use existing marketing methods more effectively and the hundreds of free marketing ideas that any business can use.

Stefan will demonstrate some simple marketing techniques that focus on how both low cost and free marketing can be used to boost profits, as well as how to get a much better response from paid-for marketing. These are the methods that have seen his small business gain customers in more than 100 countries and is the reason the BBC and international media regularly interview him.

The demonstrations will take place on June 22nd at the Holiday Inn in Armação de Pêra. The event entitled, Online Business Marketing for the Non-Technical was recently run in the UK where it attracted nearly 200 people without any money being spent on marketing.

Stefan commented, “A lot of businesses tell me that their marketing is both expensive and not terribly effective. With hundreds of free marketing tools available, and many ways in which they can make their existing marketing far more cost-effective, this needn’t be the case as we prove with our events.

For example, my most recent UK event attracted nearly 200 people and nothing was spent on marketing. When I arranged my first Algarve based event, I did it from my UK office and yet we had 50 businesses attend. I did it to prove a point and I would normally recommend a blend of free marketing and traditional marketing as they reinforce one another and are extremely effective. The Algarve marketing campaign won me an award. My aim now is to ensure Portuguese based businesses get rewarded for all their hard work.”

This year Stefan is working with the Holiday Inn and Helen Jones of Pelican Business Services to promote the event. Tickets can be booked via Helen on +351 282 760 548 or online at http://tinyurl.com/AlgarveEvent

Ends 341 words

More details from Stefan Drew on +44 (0) 7904 897 929

Notes to Editors

Photos will be available following the event.

Having advised businesses on both sides of the Atlantic, in Africa, Asia and Australia Stefan’s work has been published in over 50 countries and he has subscribers to his regular Marketing Newsletter on every continent except Antarctica (which he is currently working on)!

Stefan is also regularly called upon to contribute to programmes on the BBC who refer to him as the Marketing Magician.

Stefan recommends businesses use the hundreds of free and low-cost marketing methods available to businesses of all sizes; these include free advertising, Google Maps, search engines, free directories, subscription newsletters and SEO etc.

Previously Head of Press, Publicity and Marketing at the Contributions Agency Stefan also directed marketing for a number of large colleges before opening Stefan Drew Associates in 2005. Despite spending little money on marketing his business has grown rapidly year on year; a fact Stefan puts down to implementing his own advice.

Stefan’s clients range from sole traders and SMEs to corporates and include household names in the public and private sector.

Stefan Drew is a Fellow of the Institute of Consultants

I’ll be writing more about How To Write a Media Release in future posts. In the meantime, you might want to consider the following page which gives more information about PR.


Media Release FAQs

How Do I Write a Media Release?

There is a standard layout for media releases that make it easier for journalists to check out your story and include it in their publication or website.
Full details are given at https://www.mediaset.co.uk/how-to-write-a-media-release-that-gets-noticed/
What is a media release.

What is a Media Release?

A Media Release is a short one-page statement or Announcement that is sent to the media to inform them about businesses or individuals news.
Full details are given at https://www.mediaset.co.uk/how-to-write-a-media-release-that-gets-noticed/

Is a Press Release the Same as A Media Release?

Yes. The name, Media Release, is the updated name that recognises that news needs to go to more than the printed press, it needs to go to the extended media industry.

How Do You Write a Media Release?

Essentially a Media Release details the Who, What, Why, Where, When and How of a story. There is a traditional format that still works extremely well today and I go into the full details at https://www.mediaset.co.uk/how-to-write-a-media-release-that-gets-noticed/ 250

What Format Should a Media Release be Written In?

There is a traditional format that is still widely used today because it works so well. It details the Who, What, Why, Where, When and How of the news or story the writer is making available to the media.
There are more details at https://www.mediaset.co.uk/how-to-write-a-media-release-that-gets-noticed/

What is a Press Release?

A Press Release is an old name for a Media Release. Both aim to tell a story to the media but the term media release is now more common as it recognises that news is also required by all the media and not just the print media.
There are more details at https://www.mediaset.co.uk/how-to-write-a-media-release-that-gets-noticed/

What is included in a Media Release?

Essentially a Media Release details the Who, What, Why, Where, When and How of a story. There is a traditional format that still works extremely well today and I go into the full details at https://www.mediaset.co.uk/how-to-write-a-media-release-that-gets-noticed/

Is there an Alternative to a Media Release?

Yes, though they are less commonly used. Stories, comment or opinion to tell or support a story can be provided in audio or video format. This is ideal when sent to radio or TV, especially when newsjacking is the tactic being used.
More details at https://www.mediaset.co.uk/how-to-write-a-media-release-that-gets-noticed/

What Structure should a Media Release follow?

The traditional structure is the date and embargo date, headline, a succinct opening paragraph which tells the whole story, an expansion paragraph, quotes and then Notes to Editors. The format s flexible however and more details are given at https://www.mediaset.co.uk/how-to-write-a-media-release-that-gets-noticed/

Show me a Media Release Template

There is a Media Release Template at https://www.mediaset.co.uk/how-to-write-a-media-release-that-gets-noticed/

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 5 / 5. Vote count: 3

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

Please follow and like us:

You may also like...