In the era of digital marketing, attention spans are now shorter than ever – 8.25 seconds to be exact. Many may think that the media release has had its day but that isn’t the case.
Writing an effective media release is important. The reader should be engaged from the first sentence. A well-written media release is still one of the most useful communication tools.
Here are our 10 steps to writing an effective media release:
- Ensure a story is newsworthy
You need to have something new and important to say. If your client simply wants to promote a product, then a newsworthy angle has to be created in order for content to be engaging.
- Target a media sector
A media release should be written with a target audience in mind. Be sure to tailor the release to the readership of that publication you will be distributing it to.
- Answer the six questions
Every media release should answer the six questions – who, what, where, when, why and how. Every release should provide the answer to these questions, no matter how short the release, they are factual pieces of writing.
- Structure the media release
- Have a clear headline that informs media what the story is about
- Paragraph 1: sums up the whole story
- Paragraph 2: why is it important?
- Paragraph 3: specific details
- Paragraph 4: relevant quote to add credibility
- Paragraph 5: how reader can find more details
- Write a newsworthy headline
The headline is crucial, it is the first thing that the audience will read. Media release headlines not only inform the reader what the story is about but they are also a sales pitch to the media – it is just as important to grab the editor’s attention as it is your target audience.
- Write in the third person
As you are not writing to your target audience directly, you need to write your media release in the third person.
- Summarise the story in the opening paragraph
The opening paragraph gives a fuller explanation of what the story is about. It is important to get all the key information across without saying too much too soon. An effective opening paragraph should be able to stand alone.
- Put the story into context
The first paragraph is informing the reader who and what has happened, the second and third paragraphs then give the reader more detail and explain the why and how behind it.
- Focus on one story per media release
A media release should focus on one story, if you have two stories then this should be on two different media releases. Be sure to recognise when one story ends and another one begins. If you want to add extra information, put it under a ‘notes to editors’ at the end of the media release.
- Write a decent quote
Make sure the quote is credible and informative. It is important to say something worthwhile and keep to the point. The media loves credible quotes but one that is too lengthy or irrelevant can put readers off and the media release won’t be as effective.