Writing the Media Release

Even through the fast shifts toward online media, the press release remains a staple of the strategic communication industry. However, it has taken on two similar but divergent forms: the media release and the story release. A media release (or news release, or press release) is the traditional format for announcements to the media. Conversely, a story release is a journalistic-style feature story, often written for consumers on the web, that could also be used and amended by a reporter.

This post deals with the traditional media release to be followed by a post on the story release.

Seitel’s The Practice of Public Relations (2011) suggests that the traditional media release contains certain essential components. Here are the 10 I look for in a quality media release:

  1. Focus: a media release should have one, and only one, topic. If two topics need to be released, write two releases.
  2. Newsworthiness: each release should have an element of interest that would inspire a reporter to write about the topic.
  3. Lede: the release’s first sentence should contain the facts describing the “who, what, when, where, and why” of the topic.
  4. Headline:  a headline sets the tone and agenda for a media release and should be written in active stylewith a verb.
  5. Neither puffery nor jargon: releases should not include exclamatory or technical language.
  6. Nourishing Quotes: each release should contain one or two quotes that could be used by a reporter to bolster the story.
  7. Boilerplate: the end of each release should be home to a company description and/or descriptions of any specific entities described in the release.
  8. Media Contact: the release should indicate who a reporter could contact for further information.
  9. Perfect Grammar: spelling, punctuation, and grammar are fundamentally important. A media release should contain zero errors.
  10. Brevity: media releases should be short and free of wasted words.

3 comments

  1. Great succinct way to describe a press release. In the digital world adding hyperlinks to previous stories, photo downloads, Youtube videos etc… helps both you and the journalist. The journalist has all the information they need at their finger tips and you have all the click through/open data available to analyze. It is a win win!

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