How to write a media release that won’t go straight to junk

“National Australia Bank today announced that it will keep open NAB branches located in regional and rural Australia until at least January 2021,” read the opening of NAB’s press release[14] of 20 March 2019. The same day’s Australian Financial Review[15] led with “National Australia Bank will keep its 316 branches in rural and regional areas open until at least January 2021”.

According to NAB’s press release, new hubs opening in regional centres “will employ 73 specialist bankers with local experience in small business and agribusiness”. The AFR report: “73 bankers with experience across small business and agribusiness lending will be employed across these hubs.”

Do you see a pattern here? A well-written media release gives you control over the tone of the published story and – importantly for SEO – its wording.

Beyond journalism

These days, getting a journalist to ‘pick up’ your media release isn’t the end of the road. The internet works in mysterious ways …

Although companies do still issue releases to the media, they usually post the same updates on their own website and social media accounts too. And why wouldn’t they, given 52 per cent of Australians now look to social media for their news[16]? The Pew Research Centre[17] shows a similar situation in the United States, where the number of people using social media to access news surpassed those turning to print in 2019.

Consider the case of console gaming giant Nintendo. In 2015, the company posted a press release[18] introducing its new Vice President of Sales, who shares his name with the in-game antagonist Bowser. The gaming public found this so amusing that even without the aid of traditional journalism, Nintendo’s release got half a million views in a single day. Sixty per cent of those views originated on social media.

Of course, traditional media then picked up the story[19], landing Nintendo in a paradise of free publicity.

Owning social media

Posting on your company’s Facebook page or sending a quick tweet seem like simple ways to get your statement ‘out there’, but some of the old rules – and a few new ones – still apply.

Although broadcasting your own media release eliminates the effort and cost of securing external distribution, it requires a different – and equally demanding – investment.

For maximum shareability, you need to tailor your release to each social media platform – including its formats, tone of voice and user base. You may need to reword one press release multiple times – so it speaks to the interests of your contacts on LinkedIn, strikes a conversational tone with your customers on Facebook and boils down to a brief bon mot your Twitter followers are likely to retweet.

And even though you’re bypassing the journalist, your press release must still be newsworthy, factual, clearly expressed and free of errors. You may have eliminated the messenger, but the work still has to be done.

Be heard above the crowd

The product you’re launching today might be about to revolutionise your customers’ lives. Your company might be publishing the most groundbreaking thought leadership to emerge from your industry in decades. But if you can’t show a reporter in 60 seconds – or a social media user even faster than that – why your news is relevant and interesting, nobody’s going to hear about it.

If you’re struggling to put out a strong media release, don’t know where to start or just don’t have time to worry about it, get in touch. Many of us at Editor Group are former journalists, so we know how to craft great media releases[21] that work for direct-to-social or traditional press distribution.[20]

Read more

How to write a great email subject line[22]

Business storytelling: the good, the bad and the downright disastrous[23]

Four ways to improve your customer marketing [24]


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