How to write a media release
Media releases are used by businesses and individuals to disseminate information to the news media. You might want to use a media release when you have important information you want the public to know about.
Prepare your media release
There are a few essential details that should be included in your media release.
- The date
- A heading, for example, “Launceston’s Favorite Pet Names.”
- The name and details of someone who journalists can contact for follow ups or an interview.
Find your angle
Find an interesting, exciting or fresh angle that is likely to grab a journalist’s eye. An angle is a certain way of looking at something
More often than not, the angle that will interest them is one that directly impacts their readers.
For example, a national study of favorite pet names is interesting but it’s much more likely to be picked up by The Launceston Examiner if you can give them the local angle, that is, which pet names are most popular in the north of Tasmania.
Write your lead
The lead is the first paragraph of your media release. It should contain all the essential elements of the story, as well as the most interesting or entertaining parts of the story.
Include the who, what, where, when, why and how in this paragraph. But be careful not to jam so much information into the first paragraph so that it becomes long-winded and off-putting to the reader.
For example, “A national study has revealed Launceston’s top ten favorite pet names.”
After the first paragraph, every paragraph should be less important than the one preceding it.This is called the “inverted pyramid” and is often used by journalists to write news stories.
It means the most interesting or important information will be the first words journalists read.
(Image courtesy: http://dalisantosatms.blogspot.com.au/2015/03/inverted-pyramid-structure.html)
Quotes will add colour to your media release, and journalists will often pull quotes from media releases to use in their stories. So include them often and early on.
KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid)
Paragraphs and sentences should be short and easily digestible.
Cut out unnecessary words to make your sentences shorter. For example, “the children who are in the building” can be shortened to, “The children in the building.”
Use “said” rather than words like “exclaimed” or “announced.”
Journalists are inundated with press releases and yours is more likely to stand out if it is has an uncomplicated structure and is easy to understand.
This How To was prepared by UTAS Jourmalism student Charlotte Burgess