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

When an IT journalist receives a Microsoft press release titled ‘Windows 10 Fall Creators Update and Mixed Reality Headsets Available Today[10]’, they know they’re not an accidental CC in that day’s circular. The technical nature of the headline lets them know the media release is tailored to their readers’ interests. So they pick it up[11]. Although Microsoft may also issue a media release titled ‘Fruit distributor gets sweet taste of success in the cloud[12]’, they’ll send this one to reporters who have a more general readership (and perhaps a focus on business logistics).

“You have to know me and what I write about, not just pitch a story because it’s about business,” says Thompson, who focuses on business and economics. Charles Fleming from The Los Angeles Times concurs: “Pitch me something that shows you know my publication and my area of coverage, and that you read it often enough to know that we already did this story a week ago.”

What’s in it for them?

As you finalise your headline and start working on the all-important lead paragraph – you’ve got 60 seconds, remember – consider how you might frame your media release to make it more interesting to the reporter and their readers.

Can you tie it to that day’s headlines? Could you link the announcement of a new team to broader trends in your industry? Or frame the service you’re launching as a means of improving public happiness, productivity or health?

In Greentarget’s report, the press releases journalists find most valuable contain thought leadership material like reports, studies or surveys. The least valuable? Personnel changes –unless the release comes from, say, your nation’s government or a ubiquitous global corporation.

Make the reporter’s life easier

A great media release does a lot of the journalist’s work for them – remember, they’re under-resourced and oversupplied. Include infographics, relevant images and newsworthy quotes. According to the Zeno Group and Muck Rack survey, 41 per cent of journalists consider how shareable a story is on social media when deciding whether to publish, so keep it brief and don’t hesitate to include video content.

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