Media – Preparing a Winning Strategy – Writing a Media ReleaseThe ability to compile an informative, enticing and well-written media release is an invaluable one for community groups and organisations to possess.
Competition for news space or air-time is always fierce when it comes to media coverage, and any ability you have to get your group's story, event, announcement or message into the media – and out to the public – should be used to advantage.
That is where a good media release can come to the fore.
Why Use a Media Release?The short answer is to get free publicity – and this sort of publicity can be invaluable to the many community groups or organisations who have tight (or no) marketing and promotional budgets.
And having that free publicity appear in the editorial or "news" sections of the media makes it all the better – one of the benefits of publicity over paid advertising is that readers, listeners and viewers attach a greater credibility to something they see in the media as opposed to that same item being promoted through a paid ad.
Not only that, using a press release to gain publicity helps your group or organisation get the word out not just to your own members, supporters, donors and volunteers, but to potential supporters, members, volunteers and donors – providing opportunities for growth.
Preparing to Write a Media ReleasePreparation is vital when it comes to writing an effective, attractive and enticing media release.
The closer you get to a media release that not only grabs the attention of those in the newsroom but and needs little work to turn into a story - the better chance you'll have of seeing it run.
Your preparation should include:
Writing Your Media Release
Grab them Early On – the HeadlineIt is vital when writing your group's media release to attract the journalist's interest right away. That is why the headline is so important.
You should put a bit of kick, and a bit of creativity, into the headline.
Use a famous name, a bad pun, an attractive turn of phrase, a big funding figure – just make sure the journalist reads on and doesn't instantly throw your release away. Half the battled is fought over the headline and opening paragraph.
Keep it short and in active voice: "Wildlife Rescued From Jackhammers" grabs attention better than "Kangaroos have been taken away from park under threat from developer."
Just under the headline you need to put down when the release date is. It is best practice to only send something out if it is FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE.
This doesn't mean that you only send out media releases immediately before your event or announcement – you can send out releases saying "The Big Day is Coming" – but you want the media to tell people now that it's still some way off.
If you are providing a release so they can prepare a story ahead of the date you are making the announcement you need to say for example STRICTLY EMBARGOED. NOT TO BE RUN BEFORE 6AM ON MARCH 30, 2001
Telling the Story – The Body of the ReleaseWithout doubt the first couple of paragraphs are the most important part of the release.
If the headline has got the media interested, then you need to win them over entirely in the first couple of paragraphs.
Here are 10 tips to make sure your release "keeps 'em reading".
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