Whether it’s an E-Book, training session or workshop, devising a great course to educate your market is only half the task at hand. The next step is ensuring your resource reaches as wide an audience as possible, and this comes down to good old fashioned PR.
Publicity is critical to alerting not only your general audience to a learning opportunity, but also for educating those beyond your contact list and ultimately increasing your market share.
And few things do this quite so effectively as the media release.
PR and networking “go-to girl” Linda Reed-Enever shares her insight into drafting a compelling media release and why it’s a skill no market educator should be without.
Why a media release
Done well, a media release not only alerts reporters to a new story, it cements your position… Click To Tweet. It tells reporters: “I’m here, I’m available, and I’m doing something new”.
Importantly, any story that’s picked up is likely to engage an audience well outside your usual parameters. And the truth is the rise of the 24-hour newsroom and a host of online news sites sees reporters keenly seeking out fresh faces, industry insights, and new leads.
It’s also equally true, however, that crafting a news release takes time, effort and skill, so here are the top tips for creating a newsworthy release.
Creating your release
News releases work to a very specific format, allowing the journalist reading them to cut to the chase and know exactly what’s in it for them and their audience.
The headline is all about grabbing their attention, the first paragraph is about the essential details and the subsequent information becomes less important as the story progresses.
A media release contains:
- An attention grabbing headline
- First paragraph revealing who, what, when, where, how or why
- Subsequent paragraphs working down through the order of important information
- Clear quotes attributed to an authority within your company
- Contact details for further information or interview
Top tips for a great release
- Write a great headline that is short and snappy to grab attention. It should include points from your release and sum up its subject.
- The first paragraph is called ‘the lead’. It is the most important part of the release and should contain the strongest key message it where the who, what, when, where, and why of the story lives.
- Journalists and Editors see many releases and may not read beyond the first paragraph, so it is important that it contains all the necessary and relevant information.
- After the lead, each remaining paragraph should be less important than the one that precedes it. When your release is written this way, the story can, if necessary, be trimmed from the bottom up.
- Keep each paragraph self-contained. That way, regardless of how many paragraphs are deleted, the story should still make complete sense.
- Keep your media release to one page (maximum 400 -500 words). The aim is to encourage a reporter to pursue your story, not to overwhelm or bore them with detail.
- Finish with the contact details and the company boilerplate. The boilerplate is your media “elevator pitch.” It reveals essential information about your company and product offerings to a reader who may have no prior knowledge of them.
Where to from here?
So you’ve written a fabulous release, cross checked it to ensure the details are accurate and the text is grammatically correct, what now?
Well next it comes down to the pitch…and you have a few choices of how to undertake this at your disposal.
- Direct pitching
Chances are you’re aware of online or real-world media outlets who would have an interest in your story. These are the places where your audience is likely to “hang out”, sharing relevant industry insights and information.
Find the journalist or editor responsible for your target area and pitch your story directly to them via email, and follow up with a phone call.
- Newsrooms and alert services
Fortunately it’s not just about who you know. There are a host of resources such as Media Connections for you to share your story and… Click To TweetKnown as newsrooms or alert services, they allow you to post a story and the media is immediately alerted to items relating to them.
Regardless of which path you take, and arguably it should be both, the aim is to position your story, expertise and brand in front of the media in the aim of having it told to their audience.
Educating your market is imperative to telling consumers who you are, what you do and why you do it, establishing your expertise along the way. But education doesn’t stop at training, e-books and seminars. These are simply the tools.
Instead, the big picture involves reaching a wide audience to let them know what you’re doing. Critical to this is PR. So why not embrace one of the strongest weapons in the PR arsenal telling your story to the media, and ultimately your audience, through a well-crafted, insightful media release?
About the Author
Linda Reed-Enever is the founder of innovative PR agency ThoughtSpot PR and the highly successful media distribution outlet Media Connections. She is also the brains behind business networking and resources site businessbusinessbusiness.com.au. Each day Linda works with business to connect them with opportunity, hone their media message and have their story told across traditional and digital platforms.