There’s a rumour floating around the internet that the media release is ‘dead’. That the digital age has killed it and there’s no point investing time and energy to write one anymore.
Your Media release matters – just ask Google
The rumours aren’t true. There’s still a place for your media release in the digital age.
Content marketing, you might have heard of it (everywhere), is the big news for business and brands right now. Your media release forms an essential form of content, as part of your overall strategy.
Just like Google indexes your company’s website, blog and social media, so too does it index your media release.
Why choose to write a media release?
It’s all about you. The golden rule of content marketing is to focus on your audience’s needs, sometimes to the extent that you don’t mention your brand at all. The advantage of writing a media release is that the format gives you permission to write about your brand and business.
It captures the attention of the mainstream media. The goal of a media release is to capture the attention of the media, predominantly the mainstream media. How do you write for the mainstream media? Just ask them! Huffington Post, CBS News and The Guardian all publish tips and guidelines for writing media releases.
Can be accessible via Google. Third tier wire services such as PR Newswire are effective tools for making media releases accessible by Google, with the added bonus of also being available directly to consumers who are actively searching for information about your products or industry.
Context is more important than ever. The latest revision of the Google search algorithm looks at more than just keywords: it also assesses the context and relevance of those keywords.
If your media release doesn’t contain contextual information, your ranking may be penalised as a result. Google alerts and Google News both include media releases in results listings – but only if the content is high quality.
And that’s the other thing – quality is key to gain more exposure with every word.
So what makes a quality media release?
- Write a good title. Your title should be interesting but succinct. It needs to capture your audience’s attention.
- The content needs to be newsworthy. Your audience needs to care about what you’re sharing. If you can’t answer the question “so what?” then you need to reassess the content of your media release.
- The content must be well written. Make sure your cover the technical aspects – spelling, grammar, and punctuation – but also check the readability of the release. Avoid using techno-babble, business jargon, clichés, and buzzwords.
Beyond these basic qualities, a media release needs to be tailored to the news format.
- Write your media release like a journalist. Mimic the style and tone of the journalist or publication you are sending the release to. This may mean writing multiple personalised releases or limiting the number of publications you send the release to.
- Make their job easy. the less work the journalist needs to do, the more likely they are to publish.
- Include interesting quotes that elaborate on the information provided rather than just repeating it.
- Back up your claims with data. Provide the results of product testing and/or consumer feedback. The data may not be published, but it proves the legitimacy of your claims.
- Consider including the media release in a larger media kit. Provide high-quality photos for publication, include contact details for a company spokesperson, and offer short bios of company figures and the history of the company or product itself. The kit should be offered separately from the release while still being accessible; including a link to additional ‘media resources’ that are available on the company web page is just one easy option.
You’re not on your own
One of the greatest things about the digital age is that you can access a wealth of information, guides, how-to’s, checklists and cheat sheets without leaving your office. There are also several agencies and freelancers competing for you attention so they can help you with your marketing – including media releases.
Aside from the guides provided by mainstream media (linked to above) there are several blogs, podcasts and marketing agencies providing free information about how to make the most from your media release (including the Copy Collective!).
To make things easier for you, I’ve included some resources that we’ve found useful.
How to Use the Modern Press Release by Copyblogger, a software and training organisation that’s been going strong since 2006.
6 Top Ways to Get an Editor to Print Your Story by Danial Hatch, a freelance journalist and commercial writer.
Think like a Publisher; Act like a Journalist by Sarah Mitchell, a content marketing consultant and cohost of the Lush Digital podcast “Brand Newsroom”.
New Tools for Press Release Marketing by Lee Odden, a search optimisation and marketing expert.
And then there’s us, The Copy Collective. Co-owners Dominique and Maureen both have long histories in journalism. The rest of us are professional writers whose versatile copywriting skills range from fundraising, marketing and online copywriting to corporate and government writing, feature and speech writing, as well as editing and so much more. No matter what your business is, we’re bound to have an expert writer who can cover it. With our networks and know-how, we can help you make the most of your media releases.