How to write a media release that won’t go straight to junk

The classic media release format is still going strong. And thanks to email and social media, it doesn’t take an expert – or a huge budget – to get one out into the world. But the low cost of issuing a press release means there’s more competition than ever. This guide explains how to write a media release journalists will want to publish.

What’s the point of a media release?

A media release[1] is your chance to script the public discussion around your company. Although advertising gets your narrative directly into the market, there’s no substitute for the authority of a well-respected publication covering your brand – without being paid to.

Businesses no longer rely on costly wire or postal services to get their news to journalists – that’s what email is for. And because media releases are so cheap and easy to send, companies don’t reserve them for the big news events, or to nip a major incident in the bud[2]. Now, every report, personnel change and new product is worthy of a worldwide memo.

But even as businesses are sending out more media releases, the pool of journalists left to craft them into news stories is contracting and often under-resourced. Editor Group is a stronghold of former journalists, all of whom can attest that reporters have more releases to read and less time to do it. So, often they don’t.

It’s just one reason why some people argue that after a long and successful career, the press release is nearing the end of its life[3].

Alive and kicking

According to a recent Zeno Group and Muck Rack survey[4], just 3 per cent of journalists rely ‘heavily’ on media releases. But the same survey showed that over 30 per cent still rely on them ‘somewhat’.

To adopt the awkward language of statistics, that 30 per cent is not insignificant. Do not underestimate the benefits of communicating with so many journalists. The press release is still a formidable tool in your communications arsenal. You just have to sharpen your writing skills so yours stands above the rest in a journalist’s overcrowded inbox.

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