Week 10 reading: Writing a Media Release
For this week, I will touch more on media releases as per the reading mentioned above, its advantages and disadvantages.
So what is a media release? To freshen up everyone's memory, including mine, media release is like a short newspaper article which is send to various media outlets/channels to gain their interest in the hope that they will publish it. Normally, media releases are only a page long and consists of interesting facts.
I find that journalists and PR practitioners generally need and are inter-dependent on one another for story suggestions and sources – like a sort of mutual independence. It works both ways in a way that PR practitioners would provide journalists with news to which then, only the journalists can decide whether to publish them or not. PR practitioners would have to bear in mind that the news they provide have to be either 1. newsworthy, 2. related to the coverage area or, 3. both. It is also important to bear in mind that journalists receive hundreds of releases daily with more than 70% of them ending in the waste bins, therefore, it is very important to present an excellent media release which interests a number of people.
What are the benefits of writing and issuing media releases? One answer would be that it is ‘free advertising’ should the journalist decide the release is worthy enough for publication. Especially in product advertising in magazines where there is little or no budget, publishing a release is definitely beneficial for the company as they do not have to fork out a single cent – free publicity. In other words, media or press releases are powerful tools to build business awareness.
According to the reading, there are more advantages of using a release such as:
- enables you to inform a number of reporters/publications at the same time
- saves time
- helps the reporter get the facts right
However, there are always two sides to a coin. Writing media releases also have its fair share of disadvantages. Unless you know how to write well and have the basic knowledge of putting up several information in a piece of paper, then it is likely that you will not get your desired outcome. Also, since only 30% of releases received by journalists each day are used, the chances of having yours chucked in the waste bin are very high.
So just hope it is a quiet news day the day that you send in your media release because only then, the chances of having it published is higher!