Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Tea & Tips for writing media/press releases from a PR Expert


Welcome back to my Wednesday mini series filled with marketing tips from my PR expert friend , Rachel Burks.

If you missed Rachel's previous posts in this series, you can catch up by clicking the links here:

Tips for writing media releases

Public Relations – what’s it all about?

You may have the best business idea ever, but that’s no good if people haven’t heard of you.

Public relations or PR offers a cost effective way to boost your profile in the local, national and trade media.  As a business or organisation, attracting customers who will buy your product or service is paramount.  PR returns some excellent results at relatively low costs when compared to buying paid for advertising space.

PR is how you publicise and build enthusiasm for your business in your market place and, in successfully doing so, creating widespread awareness and boost sales.

Media or press releases

We call them media releases because they can be sent to many different types of media – such as radio, TV and websites as well as newspapers and magazines.

How to write a media release

Your releases need to include the following information:                   

  • Who is involved?
  • Why are they involved?
  • What are they doing?
  • How are they doing it?
  • When is it taking place?
  • Where is it taking place?

The headline, which must not include too many large words or be difficult to understand, must grab the media’s attention and the first paragraph must provide the ‘hook’ to make them want to read more.

On average a typical newspaper will receive more than 100 media releases a day and in order to stand a chance at having yours printed it needs to stand out and be easy to understand.

Use simple and easy to understand words and short sentences. Do not use jargon or complex ideas.

If the journalist is interested in what you have written they will be able to see why their reader, listener or viewer will also be interested and then they will use your release.

Interview each other to find out what the who, why, what, how, when and where of the story is. Write these down and establish what the headline and the hook for your story should be and why – what’s different, what’s unusual, what would make people interested?

The media release should be no more than 300 words, cover no more than two pages and include quotes from named people complete with their titles or a description of who they are for example, the organiser, the member of staff involved, the Principal etc.

It may be a good idea to look at newspapers and see what stories you are interested in and identify why you read them and what made you look at them. Pull out the who, what, where, when, how and why.

There also needs to be contact details for someone who is happy to talk to the media should they call. You also need to consider photography and whether there is an opportunity for this – would it enhance your story, if you are trying to pre-publicise an event could you mock up a shot and if so what?

Thank you Rachel – next week she will be sharing some Tea and Tips with me about how to take news worthy photography, I hope you can join us.

Best wishes