Media release tips

How can you write a good media release and get it picked up? First consider what your story is. Think about why it’s news now, who it’s relevant to and what the hook is.

What is news?

News is:

  • timely – it’s happening now, has just happened or will occur in the future, or it relates to something currently in the news
  • new – it’s the first time the information has been presented, or it’s a new way of looking at something
  • interesting and relevant to readers, viewers and listeners.

Writing a good media release

We recommend you:

  • use your headline to capture attention – write it like a journalist would (they may well use it)
  • use the town/region in the headline if it’s a local story
  • put your key takeouts in the first paragraph, add the detail later
  • include quotes – journalists are more likely to use these verbatim than other copy
  • keep it short and sharp
  • include contact details and ensure your spokesperson is available
  • provide photos where relevant (make sure you have permission and credit appropriately)
  • always get someone else to review your release for accuracy and typos and do one last check yourself before sending it out.

Sending out your release and getting pick up

Things to keep in mind are listed below.

  • Start off with our media contact list for Wellington and nationwide media outlets.
  • Over time, build up a distribution list of media who have previously covered your stories, and keep adding to it.
  • Think who your audience is for this particular story – and where media interest is likely to lie. Is it local, regional, online, radio, TV, national, international, industry etc? Search online for contact details if you don’t have them.
  • If you have personal contacts in the media, use them.
  • Online news sites like scoop and msn/yahoo/voxy publish media releases as distributed, so make sure you include them.
  • Put your (catchy) headline as the subject line of your email and paste the content of the release directly into the body of the email, plus attach it. Don’t worry about social niceties (“please find attached a release about…”) unless you are making personal contact with an individual journalist.
  • Remember to bcc email addresses if you’re sending to a number of media contacts at the same time (by far the most efficient way of sending out a release).
  • Newsrooms receive hundreds of media releases in their inboxes everyday. Following up with a phone call a day or so after sending out the release (or giving them a heads up before sending it out) can be the difference between getting a story picked up and getting lost in the masses.

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