Clients often approach me with brilliant ideas. Sometimes, these spark dialogue. Sometimes they fuel debate. They might inspire action or be quietly put away for future use.
Such was the case, when my client (Gregory) suggested we consider using a media release to boost his online presence.
After a short exchange, he admitted that he was grateful for the advice given by his PR Doctor, as he fondly refers to me. His idea of sending a media release, as a speedy remedy to boost his business, was quickly put to rest.
“Just as you would want to understand the reason for taking a pill, you should understand the true value of using a media release,” said the PR Doctor.
My first focus is always strategy—a plan of action designed to achieve a particular result.
A media release needs to be a well thought out method that fits with your overall communication plan and is executed as part of your PR strategy.
My advice to him was to make an informed decision before putting the required time and work in to crafting a message to be moved by the media.
To determine if a media release is the right remedy for your message, answer the following questions:
1. What is your specific purpose for sending a media release?
2. What do you hope to accomplish by contacting the media?
3. What audience are you ultimately trying to reach by using the media as a vehicle to carry your message?
I assured Gregory, that if you know your audience and understand clearly what it is you want to say, there are several additional channels to use, and perhaps better ways, to deliver your message aside from using the news media.
What a Media Release Is…
A media release, also known as a press release or news release, is a tool used to reach a news source or the press, in particular, a reporter or journalist who decides if your news is applicable to their chosen audience.
You must keep in mind their goals, as opposed to your own, to be able to target your message properly.
Media outlets receive hundreds of news releases daily and only those that grab the attention of the reporter or editor will provoke a story.
News will arouse emotion, stir response, inspire or motivate action and most importantly; move or impact a massive audience.
Your media release needs to be carefully written to attract attention as news.
Read more…Rules for Writing a Release
Journalists, assigned reporters or freelance writers build a story upon a media release. They are trained to recognize information that is noteworthy and newsworthy, as a basis for crafting a well researched and factual news article or report with large audience appeal.
When you use the media to deliver your message, you surrender control over the message itself, and have no influence on how the story will be presented to the public.
This is an important consideration, as the media can largely affect your audience based on their perception, chosen story angle and influence.
What a Media Release is Not…
A release should not be used for any other reason, aside from generating media interest. Consider the following to determine if your content is newsworthy.
It is not all about you.
News creates interest over a broad spectrum. If your news only affects you, it’s not going to have much mileage and is unlikely to get picked up as a story to be released by a media outlet.
It is not marketing or advertising.
Know the difference. Although news has the potential to affect a wide audience, it is not designed to persuade viewers, readers or listeners, nor drive consumer behavior. News should remain unbiased and objective.
It is not something that has happened in the past.
News happens here and now. It is based on information about current events or events that will take place in the very near future. Don’t release information that is old news.
It is not questionable.
News is based on facts and can be verified for accuracy and legitimacy. Real news can be good or bad. It involves people and affects the masses.
A good question to ask to help qualify your news release is, “Why should anyone care?”
The same question asked and answered by the media can help them to identify a unique twist to a worthwhile article. A successful release is one that is distributed to the right media contact, recognized as news and picked up to be further assigned or developed in to a story.
Learn how to target, write and distribute your news release to increase the likeliness of it gaining the attention it deserves.
Better yet, hire a PR professional, who is trained to do all of the above!
Remember that nowadays, anyone can gather information, share and distribute news directly to their target audience. Today’s new media formats include blogs, forums, video sites and discussion groups that can be used by anyone to deliver information quickly and effectively.
It’s no longer just a handful of journalists that can help you gain worldwide attention.
In Gregory’s case, we began with strategy—reviewing his goals, identifying his target audience and refining his message. We then selected a number of new media channels for reaching out. Most importantly we created digital dialogue by carefully crafting the right words.
His online campaign was executed with a clear purpose and we used a variety of social media tools. While we maintained control over his messages, we were able to see the immediate result and measure the overwhelming positive response from his audience.