Now you know why you should be using media releases to gain free publicity, it’s time to look at HOW to write a media release.

Writing a media release, also known as a press release, is a daunting task for most business owners. Not only do you need to identify a newsworthy story, your release needs to be written to professional standard and follow the expected format.

Grab my checklist of 31 Great Reasons for Your Business to Distribute a Media Release.

The elements of a professional media release

There’s an art to preparing a media release but don’t let that put you off. There are four essential components you need to focus on. Include these components or risk having the release sent to trash without ever being read.

THE HEADING: This is your first chance to reel them in so make it informative and bold! Clever is good but only if the topic is still clear. You should also include the release date and state that it is ‘for immediate release’ in caps at the top of the page. 

THE DETAILS: Who, what, where, when, why, and how. Incorporate all this information into your first paragraph. Don’t try to make it a mysterious, literary opening – stick to the facts as often an editor will only read this paragraph. Put simply, you want to start with your conclusion.

THE STORY: Each of the following paragraphs will elaborate on the first paragraph in order of importance. Share the most important information first and work down from there. Use quotes to bring the story to life and give the journalist something to base their story around; make the quotes interesting enough to stand alone. It’s possible that they will be reproduced without the context of the rest of your release.

THE CONTACT DETAILS: Include your details and make sure you’re contactable. If a journalist can’t reach you for further information when they need to, you’ll probably miss your chance. Along with your phone and email address, include a website address. Is there a photo opportunity such as a launch or ceremony? Include the details here.

So you know how to write a media release and want to see the format in action. Have a look at this Media Release I wrote for a local school (and here it is in the paper).

Providing background information

Take all the information and use it to form a concise story. Whatever happens, don’t be tempted to include the life story of your business or organisation in the body of the media release. Keep it to one page (200-250 words).

The appropriate way to include background information is on a second page or through a link with your contact details. If you have a media kit, fact sheet or bio, include this on the following page or link to it with your contact details.

Making sure your media release gets the attention it deserves

Compile a list of all the people and publications that are suitable. Who would be interested in your story? Is there anyone you would benefit from being associated with? Think of the widest range of potential receivers before narrowing it down to the most suitable targets.

Try the local paper, radio station and relevant trade publications, but why not send it to bloggers, podcasters or influencers in your niche? If you’re having an event, invite them along to share the love and let their voice build your reputation.

Keep in mind that local news outlets are understaffed and love local content. If you can supply a newsworthy story and a picture or photo opportunity, there’s a good chance you’ll get coverage.

Now that you know how to write a media release – don’t forget this step!

Your media release MUST be personally addressed with a tailored email. Don’t waste your time writing a beautiful media release only to misspell a name or address it to the wrong department. It will never be read if you do.