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How to write a Media Release & get coverage.

Lady Business.
Write a media release

[FREE TEMPLATE] Free publicity is great publicity. So why not boost your profile with media coverage? You’ve worked hard in your business and you have achieved a lot… it’s time to scream it from the rooftops! (And yes… YOU ARE newsworthy! We just need to find the right angle!)

Getting media coverage for your business or event is surprisingly easy, particularly if you live in regional Australia. All journalists have a story quota to achieve and apart from the doom and gloom of worldwide media reports, journos LOVE a feel-good local success story – just like yours.  

There are two types of media releases:

  1. Media Release:  Submitted with supplied photos – for news & magazines.
  2. Media Opportunity: Where you set a time and place “opportunity” for journalists and camera crew to attend a location to interview you.

Types of story angles:

  • New product – Especially if you have designed the product yourself.
  • New service – Particularly if its solving a problem for the area
  • Exporting success story – Are you selling your product overseas?
  • Local success story – How your business has grown & how many people it now employs
  • Performance story – Have you won awards or reached a milestone?
  • Charity involvement – How are you raising funds or being involved in a charity?
  • Upcoming event, group meet up or free information night

Your media release should cover no more than three key messages.

  • The angle for the news story.
  • Back it up with some evidence – actual statistics are best
  • Include a direct quote to be used in the story.

Make sure your media release is clear, concise and easily understood.

Journalists are busy, time poor and sometimes inundated with stories. It’s important that your media release is formatted correctly, the information is clear and the story is concise:

  • One page ONLY – journos don’t have time to read multiple pages.
  • Include the date the media release is sent at the top
  • State the words “For Immediate Release” if the story can be broadcast straight away or “Embargoed until…” if you wish for the story to be released to the public at a later date.
  • Show a clear heading which sums up your story angle.
  • The first paragraph needs to contain all the information – many journos or editors won’t read the entire release, so make the first one count!
  • Ensure your media release covers the 5 W’s – WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE and WHY.
  • Write like a journalist. Avoid writing in the first person or writing what you think and how you feel.
  • Include a direct quote from the person or persons involved.
  • Send a high-resolution photos – make sure they are clear and crisp for publication.
  • Contact details for the spokesperson to be listed clearly at the bottom of the page.
  • If you are an agency writing on behalf of a client, include your clients logo and contact details. Your client should be the contact person for media – unless you are the spokesperson being interviewed on their behalf.

For media opportunities:

  • Tell them where they will be filming – paint the picture, so they can visualise it
  • Tell them who they will be interviewing on camera – so they can prepare questions
  • Clearly state at the bottom of the page the time and location for the media op. Link to the exact location on Google Maps is ideal.  
  • Send a high-resolution photo –if they can’t make it to the op, they could forward your story to another department. Don’t waste the opportunity for coverage!

Timing is everything!

Think about a week in the life of a journalist. Monday will be filled with stories from the weekend and Fridays will be wrapping up stories from the week and covering upcoming weekend events. For this reason, its best practice to send “good news story” media releases on Tuesday’s or Wednesday’s.

Media opportunities are best sent on Tuesdays and Wednesdays also, with the opportunity scheduled the next day. Its best to avoid scheduling media opportunities on Mondays or Fridays.  

It is best to schedule media opportunities between 10am and 2pm. This allows time for journo’s and camera crews to get organised in the morning and gives them plenty of time to get back to the studios to produce the spot in the afternoons.

Consider what is happening in the world! If there is a major world event or local story that is consuming the newsrooms… HOLD OFF! The chances of your story being picked up are vastly reduced due to airtime. Similarly, events such as ANZAC day, Easter, Christmas and Elections take over newsrooms. Absolutely avoid these events!

What to expect during a Media Opportunity – TV interview.

Journalists should contact you the day before, or the day of the media opportunity, to confirm their attendance. If they have conflicting media ops, they may schedule an alternative time.

Before the event, make sure you rehearse your key points and learn your statistics.

As soon as you see the journalist and camera man, introduce yourself, thank them for coming and run through what you have planned. Give them room to suggest how they want the interview to run.

Breathe, relax and remember to smile! Talk directly to the journalist and answer the questions. If you have anything further to add, do it at the end, so you make sure you have everything you need on camera.

Types of media:

TV News – Australia wide news, local news – will only attend media ops to film themselves.

Morning & evening shows – Sunrise, Today Show, Morning Show, Studio 10, The Project. Will arrange a producer & camera crew to attend your location.

Commercial Radio – News readers will read from your media release.  

Talk back radio – Radio announcers will have you in the studio and interview you for a segment.

Newspapers – Australia wide newspapers, Metro newspapers & local newspapers. Will print your supplied high-resolution photo & write a story from your media release.  

Online Newspapers, Social News & Blogs – Will use your high res photo (or up to 5 of them) and write a story from your media release. Best to include a link to your website.

Who to contact:

For regional areas: Have a think about the other local newspapers, magazines and social media news pages. Do you research, pick up the phone and simply ask “Who is the best person to receive media releases” and Don’t be shy! They will happily answer the question.

For metro areas: With so many stories hitting the TV Newsrooms, chances are unless your story is ground-breaking – you probably won’t get TV coverage. But have a think about the local area newspapers, magazines and social media news pages.  

Leah Bramich
Leah Bramich

Leah is a degree qualified marketing professional with over 17 years experience across Marketing, Media and PR. She has owned several successful start-ups and understands first hand the difficulty business owners face in building a successful small business empire. As the Founder of Lady Business, she hopes to inspire and educate women who are on their own business journey.

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