A media release should provide journalists with information that is newsworthy, accurate and relevant to their readers.
Once those three boxes are ticked, you should make sure that the headline is simple and informative. No need to be too clever here. Just summarise the content into a headline that underlines the importance of the release.
The first paragraph is the most important, it will determine whether the journalist will bother to read the rest of the release, so include the five W’s (who, what, when, where, and why).
Use strong, quotable quotes in your release, and use the company name in the quote where appropriate, as quotes are used verbatim. Always strive to secure third party quotes from customers and analysts as well, as they add credibility to your announcement.
It is important to make sure that any spokesperson you offer to comment in the release is available for interviews on the day of distribution. It really ticks journalists off when they have to keep pestering to get an interview done, only to be told that they won’t be available until a later date.
Never put ‘for immediate release’ on a press release. If it’s not for immediate release, don’t send it. Similarly, don’t send releases out under embargo. We live in such a connected world now that once information is out there, it’s not going to stay under wraps, so embargoes have been rendered largely meaningless.
Don’t go too long with the release, as journalists probably won’t read it all anyway. Try to keep it to a maximum of two pages, but ideally one. More detail can be provided by a spokesperson during an interview if it is required, or simply attach URLs. Also avoid industry jargon and spell out any acronyms used in the first instance.
Finally, add a boilerplate at the end of the release which includes background information about the company as well as contact details. It is also useful to provide links to other documents that are relevant to the story, as it saves the journalist precious time having to find the info themselves, and anything that makes a journalist’s job that bit easier will be welcomed.
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