Media or press releases? We call them media releases because they can be sent to many different types of media – such as radio, TV and websites as well as newspapers and magazines.
Your releases need to include the following information:
The headline, which must not include too many large words or be difficult to understand, must grab the media’s attention and the first paragraph must provide the ‘hook’ to make them want to read more. On average a typical newspaper will receive more than 100 media releases a day and in order to stand a chance at having yours printed it needs to stand out and be easy to understand.
Use simple and easy to understand words and short sentences. Do not use jargon or complex ideas.
If the journalist is interested in what you have written they will be able to see why their reader, listener or viewer will also be interested and then they will use your release.
Interview each other to find out what the who, why, what, how, when and where of the story is. Write these down and establish what the headline and the hook for your story should be and why – what’s different, what’s unusual, what would make people interested?
The media release should be no more than 300 words, cover no more than two pages and include quotes from named people complete with their titles or a description of who they are for example, the organiser, the member of staff involved, the Principal etc.
It may be a good idea to look at newspapers and see what stories you are interested in and identify why you read them and what made you look at them. Pull out the who, what, where, when, how and why.
There also needs to be contact details for someone who is happy to talk to the media should they call. You also need to consider photography and whether there is an opportunity for this – would it enhance your story, if you are trying to pre-publicise an event could you mock up a shot and if so what?