The advantages of using a media release are abundant and it has become the most popular and accepted way of communicating with the media. If written in the correct style, the release may be used word for word in local or trade media. It makes the author actually think about what should be said and to check their facts, a good media release should always be truthful. A media release also allows circulation between a number of journalists, reporters and publications simultaneously (Tymson, Lazar & Lazar, 2006).
Media releases should be written with the media in mind, not just your client’s interests. It is especially important to be clear, concise and to the point when issuing a media release. By sending a journalist irrelevant information or something that is not quite newsworthy, will not only waste of their time but yours as well.
‘Different media report stories in different ways. For example, look at the same story reported in the Australian Financial Review and Melbourne’s Herald Sun and you will clearly see that the tone, placement and angle is quite different’ (Tymson, Lazar & Lazar, 2006). Additionally, pursuing the correct media for your story is necessary for a successful release. A story may be extremely well written and informative but if you are targeting the wrong audience, it is often bound to fail.
A media release should be structured in the following order:
- Headline – Summarises key points and be catchy and strong.
- Lead – Includes the who, what, when, where, why and how.
- Body – Prioritise information, beginning with what is most important. Use short sentences and paragraphs and always write in third person.
- End – Summarise essential background information of the subject of the release. Conclude with the word “ends” and display contact details for further information.
Badlanguage.net has constructed a list of 62 Ways to Improve Your Press Releases.
Emailing is readily active in our lives, almost like second nature and allows public relations practitioners to be able ‘to deliver the right story to the right media outlet efficiently and cost effectively like never before’ (Tymson, Lazar & Lazar, 2006). In saying this however, there are also many cons of using emails to deliver a media release as it is not uncommon for an email to become lost, filtered or ignored. Although journalists like to be pitched in their own individual ways and it is important to build and maintain relationships with them to find out exactly how. Some prefer phone calls, some hate phone calls and only accept emails and others prefer a combination of the two.
Tymson, C., Lazar, P., & Lazar, R. (2006). Writing a Media Release, In The New Australian and New Zealand Public Relations Manual (5th ed., pp. 528-540). Manly, NSW: Tymson Communications.
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