The 10 Secrets of Writing and Pitching Winning Media Releases

The 10 Secrets of Writing and Pitching Winning Media Releases

By Thomas Murrell MBA, CSP International Business Speaker

I'm often asked, “How do you get so much media coverage for your clients?”

My answer, “Because I've worked in the media for nearly 30 years and I know the rules of the game.”

Also because there are many stories, many angles, and many opportunities for unpaid media coverage.

Small business owners and larger companies often blindly begin their capital raising program, new project or marketing campaign with little or no regard for the steps and the process of getting media.

They don't understand the link between media coverage and the secret formula that visibility + credibility = profitability.

They don't understand that PR can create leverage and momentum prior to launching a new product, project or capital raising effort.

Why? Because they are so focused internally and on paid advertising, mandates or roadshows that they do not see the external PR opportunities.

Over my 30 year career, a lot has changed in the media.

We've seen the rise of social media and content marketing.

To be successful, not just as a one off but constantly, you need to get inside the mind of media relations professionals.

How they target media channels, how they understand news values, how they know media cycles and deadlines,  and when and how to pitch.

They essentially think like a journalist.

A journalists favorite question is “So what who cares?”

Be able to provide a compelling answer to this that is of interest to their audiences and you’ll have greater success.
So here are the 10 Secrets of Writing and Pitching Winning Media Releases.

**1. Plan and Clearly title it a 'News Release' or 'Media Release'**

Avoid calling it a 'Press Release' - this just gets electronic and social media offside.

Plan and aim for a clear direct transmission of the message.

**2. Date the release**

Timeliness and immediacy are critical news values.

Make key points. Use short sentences and paragraphs.

Minimum waffle, maximum everyday language.

Positive and active words and phrases.

**3. Use letterhead**

This provides credibility. 

**4. Keep to one page**

Journalists are unlikely to read past a page. A second page can often get lost on the fax. If you need to provide more information for a complex subject use a 'Fact Sheet' or 'Media Backgrounder'.

**5. Use a title to grab the attention of the journalist. **

Keep this to one line and no more than 5 words. Less is best.

**6. Have Structure. **

Remember it is a stylized piece of writing following a set formula.

The formula is the essence of your story/news in the first sentence - it must grab the reader (news editor).

Often there is little difference between a release and published story. Read the paper to see how a reporter does it.

Here is the secret formula based on a pyramid model.

**7. Use quotable quotes from the spokesperson. **

These provide credibility, emotional connection and color.

**8. Put the most important information first**

Again journalists are time poor and you want to get their attention within the first line?

**9. Call to Action**

What do you want audiences to do after reading your media release?

**10.    Always include a contact number**

Often known as a "boilerplate" and comes after ENDS or ### which means this is where the public information finishes.

Office and mobile, email, skype, social media and website address so the journalist can get more details if interested.

Want to know more? Please consider:

**Tuesday October 22nd 2013, HLB Mann Judd, L4, 130 Stirling Street, Perth Australia** __Writing and Pitching Winning Media Releases__
[* Numbers limited so book here].

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