Writing a Media Release that Makes the News

Writing a media release is a science but getting it into print is an art! A media release can add power to your PR for free — not to mention getting your brand, news and company in front of many eyes fast. The trouble is journalists are time-poor, detail- hungry and bombarded by media releases by the minute. The cutting room floor of a newsroom is home to countless media releases that are lucky if they’ve had their title read — not the fate you want for your news story. So this post is about how to write a media release that gets noticed.Here are top tips for writing a media release that gets into print or broadcast:

1. Make your media release news, not marketing

Editors and journalists are not in the business of free marketing. Writing an advertisement thinly disguised as a media release will cost you. Not only will you fail to make it into print but you’ll lose credibility for future media release coverage. Journalists and editors are often community focused, be it the public at large or a niche group. So what you need in your media release is hard news that:

  • solves a genuine need for your audience
  • offers fresh and relevant information
  • adds unique value to readers in some way.
The key is to separate what is big news to your company from what is newsworthy to your public.Now here is a golden rule: never send out a media release for the sake of it. Wait for a story that holds true news value. You’ll enjoy greater print potential and media relationship building.

2. Hit hard in the headline when writing a media release

Your headline is ‘first base’ when it comes to writing a media release. Get an editor to read past this and the print potential jumps. But fail at this first hurdle and it’s all over. Your headline must be a succinct, compelling summary of your key message. What is your unique news point? Why should your reader read on? Your headline should express all this in just a few words.

3. The first paragraph of your media release must say it all

Writing an effective media release means capturing the essence of your story in that first paragraph. Oftentimes an editor will run your headline and first paragraph only. The rest of your release may be cut entirely for space reasons. Now here is the punch line – a strong first paragraph comprises one or two sentences at the most. So you must get really clear about your news point.Use the who, what, where, when, why and how framework to hone your first paragraph.

4. Back up the claims when writing a media release

Sweeping, unsubstantiated sales claims have no place in your media release. Editors and journalists won’t run a story unless they’re sure of its factual integrity. So appoint a credible company spokesperson and support your story with quotations and details. Always have your spokesperson approve their quotes before dispatching your media release! Many editors will print these verbatim without ever speaking directly to the source. In fact, quotes are a great timesaver for deadline-driven editors and can boost your publication chances.

5. Lose the fluff when writing a media release

News space is valuable real estate, so editors want to get straight to the facts. Strip out hype when writing a media release and present neutral factual information. Develop a corporate media release template if you don’t already have one.

Standard presentation is:




<<first paragraph>>

<<body copy>>


<<your contact details>>

<<spokesperson’s contact details>>

It’s good practice to dispatch your media release via email including details of photo and interview opportunities.

A print-worthy media release begins with a strong story and finishes with savvy writing. There are plenty of strategies for getting your media release into print too. Like targeting your editors and journalists, writing for online publication and more…but we’ll cover this in another post.