Although we have already featured several articles dealing with how to write media releases, an article in the May 2005 issue of PR Influences gives a more detailed list of tips to ensure that media reads and uses your release instead of filing it away - or even worse, throwing it away.
1. Summarize what you want to say in one short statement at the start of your media release before expanding or developing your ideas.
2. Media prefers shorter releases so ensure that your media release is not more than two pages long.
3. Print your media release on only one side of the paper.
4. Your media release should answer the Five Golden Rules: who, what, when, why and where.
5. Your media release should be written using the pyramid approach, with the main news summarized in the first paragraph and subsequent paragraphs containing information of descending importance. Check whether your main story is complete even if paragraphs are deleted from the bottom up. Editors usually only have time to read the first paragraph. Often, space limitations also prompt them to cut releases from the bottom.
6. To gain credibility and avoid sounding like marketing hype, do not pepper your media release with superlatives or too many descriptive words.
7. Use short and simple sentences, with ideally not more than two sentences per paragraph.
8. Get an interesting and relevant quote from someone in your organization, identify him or her by name and title, and put the comment in quotation marks.
9. At the bottom of your media release, include the name and contact details of a person in the organization who can provide additional information when necessary. Ensure that the person will be available to media.
10. Make sure that your media release is thoroughly checked for spelling, grammar and language.
Also make sure that your media release is newsworthy. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of finding the right angle to use. Often, it is useful to know your target media and personalize your media release to suit the needs of specific media organizations.