Write and Distribute Great Media Releases Write and Distribute Great Media Releases

Historically, only editors at traditional media outlets read press releases. In today’s digital age, press releases have morphed into media releases because distribution is broader.

A media release aims to make an announcement, offer information, or make a statement. Remembering that a media release should not be an advertisement is important. Media releases can be used to announce a product or service and save you money in advertising; however, they should not read like an advertisement.

Potential customers and other stakeholders can access your media releases via search engines, industry websites, consumer websites, social media, blogs, and even your company website.

As a result, writing a media release means communicating directly with your audience instead of simply trying to attract the interest of an editor or reporter.

Basic rules for an effective media release strategy:

  • Create media releases regularly, not just when you have major news to share.
  • Write with potential buyers in mind. Aim to appeal to their needs and interests.
  • Use keywords appropriate for your business so search engines will find you.
  • Link to your website, social media, and blogs so web readers can easily visit your site.
  • Distribute your media release to various online sources so that as many people can view your message.

A good media release informs current or potential customers and helps them find you. For instance, an announcement sharing that you just landed a major new customer may cause other potential customers to learn more about you. The same is true if you win an industry award; while your local newspaper may not be interested, customers may be.

Crafting Your Media Release:

  • Use a standard format. Most media releases follow a consistent format. Check one out online, and you’ll notice contact information appears at the top, along with the date of the release. Write a compelling headline focusing on the benefits of reading the release.

    Summarize the event or news you wish to share in the first paragraph. In subsequent paragraphs, expand on that summary. Focus on journalism’s five "W’s": Who, What, When, Where, and Why.

  • Focus on benefits. The best media releases include news readers can use. If you are launching a new product, detail who the product will benefit and how it will make their lives better.

    If your company won an award, relate the award to what it represents for your customers. Focus on what you want to share,  why it is important to your readers – and how they will benefit from the knowledge they gain.

  • Include quotes. At a minimum, include one or two quotes from company representatives. Include quotes from customers or other parties relevant to the release if appropriate. If you plan to participate in a charitable event, include a quote from the event organizer explaining the importance of the charity or showing how your company will help make a real difference.

    If you land a major customer, let that customer briefly explain why they chose your company. Most will be happy to do so since they will receive publicity from your media release.

  • Stay short and to the point. Most media releases are one page at maximum; some are only two or three paragraphs long. Revise your release until it is clear, concise, and direct.
  • Use the right keywords. Remember, many customers will find your release as the result of a web search, so make it easy. Use the exact keywords in your media release on your website. Ensure you focus on terms your customers use; while you may sell "flatware," many customers may search using the keyword "silverware."
  • Link to your site. Make sure readers can find you. Don’t just include contact information; provide direct links to your website.

Media Release Distribution:

Once your media release is ready, it’s time for distribution. The best way to reach the most significant number of potential readers is to distribute using several sources.

For example, if you hope to attract the interest of a particular newspaper, send your media release to the appropriate editor. Don’t send it as an attachment. Place it in the body of the email. That way, busy editors will be less likely to delete it.

Then, post the release on your website and send it to at least one of the online news release services in the body of your message. Other trade and industry sites might also find and post your release. This will also help search engines find you.

Here are a few of the largest news release distribution services:

Most online news services require a subscription or a per-release fee. Some will limit your release to a geographic area, but most include distribution to sites like Google News worldwide. Since you want the most potential readers and customers, post your releases to a service included on major online news sites.

Most importantly, post the release to your own website and social media. Many online news sites do not keep archives of old media releases. Your release may only be "live" for a few months. Maintaining the release on your site ensures search engines can always find your content.

Keep a list of social media participants and bloggers who write on topics related to your company and distribute your releases to them. Today’s media release can garner a much higher return on investment because the potential outlets for distribution are so much broader.