What the media want you to write in your press release

It’s common for journalists to receive as many as 100 pitches a week. To earn reporters’ attention and hopefully a media story, a press release should contain certain elements. As important: You should also avoid using specific words and phrases that some reporters wish would go away forever. 

We write hundreds of press releases each year, and apply our Media Grade Content® standards to each and every one. A lot of thought goes into every word, every paragraph. We consider the perspective of the reporters who will review the releases as well as their audiences. We want to communicate our clients’ stories in the most valuable, mediagenic way possible.   

Cision, the cloud-based communications company, had a lot to say on this subject in its 2021 Q2 Global State of the Media. The 32-page report reflects responses from 2,700 journalists in 15 countries. Here are some of the findings: 

  1. The majority of reporters (78.3%) want press releases and news announcements. No matter how you initially reach out to the media, be prepared to provide more information in a press release format. 
  2. Reporters want you to help make their jobs easier. Tell a complete story. Include facts and interesting quotes that add perspective. Answer the question that all journalists will ask on behalf of their audiences: “What’s in it for me?” Of the pitches they received, 68.7% of the journalists told Cisions that less than 25% were relevant. 
  3. Avoid writing a release that sounds like a marketing brochure. That’s a big pet peeve for most journalists. Tell a balanced story. Media Relations Agency uses the media’s preferred AP Style to further distinguish our releases as news versus promotional material. 
  4. Never send a release with inaccurate or unsourced information. That’s a sure way to alienate the media. Check your facts. Cite your sources. 
  5. Word choice matters. Journalists are tired of reading the same adjectives in nearly every release. If there was a list of words the media wish you’d never use in a press release, it might include leading, world-class, innovative, unprecedented, cutting-edge and unique.  

There is a lot to take into consideration when writing a press release. Using a fill-in-the-blank template, or even attempting to model your release after one you found online, may backfire. Media Relations Agency offers affordable content packages including a press release package. To put our expertise to work on your behalf, call us at 952-697-5269 or complete this form.  

Written by Robin Miller

Robin will coordinate the writing for your newsletters, social media posts, website, blogs, newsletters and press releases. “I like interviewing clients and spokespeople, hearing their stories, getting to know their personalities and listening to how they phrase their thoughts,” she says. “It’s fun to transform what I’ve learned from those conversations into media-grade content.” Robin enjoys shaping content to ensure that the message will be clearly received. “When someone understands the relevance of what they’re writing and can position it properly for their audience, their work tends to be more convincing and on point. I’m fortunate to have a very diverse background, which gives me a good perspective whenever we bring on a new client.” An IABC- and Mercury-award winner, Robin says her practical experience in the health sciences has proven particularly beneficial as she interprets clients’ scientific information for mainstream media. “But it’s no longer sufficient to write well,” she cautions. “As marketers, we must now comply with the intricacies of digital marketing. That involves a whole set of rules, which are constantly evolving.”

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