In a previous blog, I emphasized five specific elements that are essential to developing an impactful media release that will optimize your potential to garner positive coverage.
As a long-overdue follow-up to that blog (http://absolutemarketing.ca/?p=581) the following blog offers guidelines to use for developing your media releases:
1. Think and write like a journalist: Write your media release as a journalist would write it: rigorously and objectively; and keeping to the pertinent details.
Keep your writing style simple (no need for flowery copy required… its news, not a feature story or fiction novel) and use the third-person perspective. A well-written media release can and should be published virtually unchanged because the information is relevant and un-biased.
2. Brevity is king: One to two pages 2 maximum if at all possible. Editors, ect do not have the time or patience to read a novel.
3. Organize & prioritize: The news ‘hook’ must appear in the headline. The headline and first paragraph are critical to the successful pickup of your release.
The information must unfold to communicate a story to the reader; tapering from from the general to the specific (the inverted pyramid) and utilize the 5W’s of media writing (Who, What, When, Where, How).
Performed correctly, and this will develop the reason the reader should care about your story (the WHY).
4. Aim for clarity: You know which benefits your product or service provides, but you need to write for those who may not.
Write from the marketer’s perspective… from the outside looking in. To ensure clarity; have a third-party who is not familiar with your product or service read and review the media release. If they can accurately explain your story back to you; you’re on target with your message. Media, like all successful communication, must be a two-way process.
5. Anticipate and address potential questions or detractions: In effective media writing, the goal is to establish your position and proactively address key questions associated with the content.
6. Don’t excessively blow your own horn: If your media release is not factual or worse; it reads like brash self-aggrandizing self-promotion, you’ll do nothing but irritate journalists and editors for wasting their time.
Later, when you do have a ‘legitimate’ media release, you’ll already be discredited and lessen the possibility of generating positive coverage.
7. Utilize 3rd party quotes: This isn’t mandatory, but it may provide added value and legitimacy to your media release; particularly if it’s a third-party endorsement of your product or service from a respected business, community or opinion leader.
8. Contact information: I’m often shocked when I read a media release that actually contains relevant information to the target readership; and get to the end to learn the author failed to include any contact information.
If possible, work your website address into the top section of the media release along with your company name; and in closing, use the old standby: “for more information, visit our website (insert web address) or contact (BOB) at: phone/email/website, etc.”
In wrapping up remember, a vast majority of media releases go direct to the recycling bins because they are poorly written; contain irrelevant information or a combination of the two.
Journalists, editors and reporters are constantly flooded with information and are charged with the often overwhelming task of filtering out the news from the spam.
So, if you want your message to be heard, make their lives easier.
Tell your story in a manner that unfolds into a relevant story to the target readership and that follows the guidelines outlined here. Do this, and you will greatly increase your chances of success