The best and most common way of communicating with the media is through preparing and distributing a media release to them. A media release is also known as a press release or a news release.
A media release is a document containing the message you want to tell them. It takes a specific format.
Your media release should include:
· Your business name and logo at the top.
· Your contact details near the top.
· The date.
· A heading that grabs the reader’s attention.
· The news formatted into individual short paragraphs, with the most interesting information summarised in the first paragraph.
· Background information about yourself or your business at the conclusion of the media release with its own heading.
· Check your media release for spelling and grammar. If your media release contains grammatical and spelling errors, it becomes illegible and doesn’t maintain your professional image.
Generally, the media release should not be more than a page, and I cannot stress enough how important it is to summarise the important and interesting information in the first one or two paragraphs. Why? Because journalists receive literally dozens of media releases a day, and do not have the time to read each and every one from top to bottom to work out whether or not it is of interest. They need to know immediately, and if your media release waffles on and on without getting to the point, I can guarantee that it will end up in the bin.
The language you use needs to be simple and to the point. Do not use technical jargon or unnecessary adjectives. Quotes, from yourself or relevant people in your business, are viewed upon favourably by the journalist. The best way to get an idea about how to write it is to read a newspaper – if you can get it to sound like a news article, that is perfect for the journalist. This means they can use much of the media release for the article as it is, without too many alterations.
The media release needs to answer the following questions where possible, and it’s a good idea to always keep the following in mind when writing it:
· What – what is it about, what’s happening?
· When – when is the event taking place or when did it happen?
· Where – is this Australia-wide, or local? What is the location?
· Who – who are the key people, and indeed the business, involved?
· How – what are the details?