After nearly 20 years in the media industry, on both sides of the journalism/PR fence, we’ve got a pretty good idea of how to pull together a great news release that stands out from the crowd and will get picked up. We’re always happy to help people and businesses get their stories out there. But we get that not every business has the resources to hire an expert so we’ve thrown together some tips for anyone following the do-it-yourself media release approach.

Write a great headline

  • A headline has one purpose: to capture a journalist’s attention. Tailor it to your audience and make them care. If your headline doesn’t inspire you to read on, it probably won’t work for anyone else, either. Tailor the headline to your audience and be creative.

Write it well

  • It should go without saying, but we’ll say it anyway: write the most important information first. If you need to cut, do it from the bottom and you won’t lose vital details.

Keep it short

  • Journalists, like the rest of us, are time-poor so don’t overload them; give them screeds of information and they likely won’t read any of it. Give them only what they need – the who, what, where, when and why – and leave it at that.
  • One release, one story angle. Don’t try to cram too much stuff in or you’ll struggle to fully develop your angle. Go for quality, not quantity. Check out these examples.

A picture is worth a thousand words

  • If you can, always include photos, graphics or images with your release. The easier you make it for media the more chance you’ll have of them picking up your story.
  • Images and videos become extra-powerful when it comes to sharing your news digitally, since social networks will automatically generate a preview based on embedded content. Having an attention-grabbing, vibrant image front and centre in your release is an easy way to increase your chances of engagement. It’s a good idea to include landscape and square images that can be adapted to suit different platforms.

Further comment

  • Always include contact details of an agreed spokesperson and make sure they’re available in the immediate aftermath of a release going out.

Timing is everything

  • Choose your distribution time carefully. Friday afternoon, for example, is traditionally not a good time to announce big news. People are winding down for the weekend and not likely to care much. But there are exceptions depending on the publication deadlines of your target media outlets, so factor this into your planning.

Follow these simple tips and you’ll be writing with confidence in no time. But if you’re still stuck for what to write, let us know. We’ll be happy to lend a hand.