How to write a media release that works
You need a media release that’s attention-grabbing, engaging, professional and makes things as easy as possible for the person writing your story.
Words by Natalie O’Driscoll

A quality media release could be the difference between your story being picked up by a media outlet or not. In today’s busy media landscape, with staggering amounts of content being put out every second, you’ll need a media release that’s attention-grabbing, engaging, professional and makes things as easy as possible for the person writing your story.

Here’s how to write a media release that really works.

Spend time on your heading

Headings need to include the major points, and be catchy and engaging. It’s the first thing that people will read, so it’s worth taking the time to do well. Write the content first, then write down a sentence that captures the key message of the press release. Then spend some time re-working it, moving it around, tweaking and looking for opportunities to add flair like alliteration or a pun. Make it bold and a larger font, too.

Summarise first

The first paragraph, or ‘lead’, should summarise the rest of the press release in no more than about two or three sentences. It’s where you add a little more detail than the heading, leaving the fleshing out for the body of the presser.

Stick to the KISS principle

Keep It Simple Stupid. Don’t use words the majority of people won’t understand, jargon or obscure terms, and don’t use acronyms without first using the full term and then putting the acronym in brackets after its first appearance. From then on you can just use the acronym. Your language needs to be clear and easily understandable by everyone.

Include quotes

Media outlets are busy and won’t always have time to interview someone. Including quotes from relevant stakeholders within your press release means that a busy journalist that can take them and make a complete story without having to get back in touch with you.

Include a link to quality imagery

See above. Pretty much every story that is published across all mediums will have an image to accompany it. Make it easy for the person receiving it by supplying a link to a folder of decent resolution imagery in a range of orientations for them to use (no grainy phone pics!). Name the files with photographer credit, if applicable.

Edit, spellcheck, then edit again

Nothing screams ‘amateur’ like spelling and grammatical errors or typos in media releases. After you’ve written it and checked it, run the spell and grammar check on your word processor. Then get at least one other person to read it for you with their fresh eyes. Then edit it one last time to make sure it’s perfect. 

Have one section for necessary details

These could be dates, times, prices, addresses, websites, phone numbers, emails, links, and your contact details for press enquiries, among other things. Even if you’ve mentioned some of these details within the body of the press release, it’s a good idea to have a section under the body with all these details grouped together and summarised in one spot. Quick note: It is then customary to finish the release with –ends- so the journalist knows it has finished.

Add a boiler plate

A boiler plate is a paragraph at the bottom of the media release that gives the recipient information on the event, person or company that the press release is about. Essentially it’s a summary of the main subject, so that the person writing the story doesn’t have to google relevant information about the presser’s subject in order to include background in the story.