Director of WriteRelease , Wendy Cramer, has provided information on how to write good media releases.
Good media releases are structured to make it easy for an editor or journalist to find each piece of crucial information, beginning with the release date.
If a product/service is being launched and the news has to go out to the media before the launch, make sure that an embargo date is included.
This means that the publication cannot publish the details of the release until after the specified date. It does, however, give them time to get a story together to coincide with the launch.
The headline is the critical part of the piece. It should not be too long, ideally six to eight words, and not longer than 10. The piece of information that will be of interest to editors and potential customer – the news angle – should be captured in this headline.
The first paragraph of the release will be the introduction. Within this first sentence, the readers need to be encouraged to read on by expanding on the news angle introduced by the headline as well as including key words that customers will be looking for.
The main body of the release should consist of well-spaced paragraphs that are no longer than two sentences – this makes it easier for editors (and the target audience) to read.
Within this body copy, cover the features of the product/service/company announcement and then align the features to the benefits customers will experience.
Also ensure that any facts surrounding the announcement are included to back up the claims – editors will respond better to this than empty claims.
Near the end of the body copy, it is worth including some of the information structured as a quote from a qualified member of the company who is acting as spokesperson. Make sure their full name and position within the business is included.
Towards the end, also include some general background information on the company. Not all editors will want to read through this, so putting it at the end of the release means they can opt in or out.
And put in the contact details. As it is not known when an editor is going to get in touch regarding the press release, it is good to put the contact name of someone who is generally available – not a CEO who is nearly always interstate.