In many countries in the world still, wire system is not used to circulate news or media release. So how do they distribute their release? Most of the comms specialist use their personal and organization’s network to publish media releases. Besides that, there are some agencies who do liaise with media outlets to get almost hundred per cent coverage.
I found that in western world newswire (example, Canada Newswire, Marketwired, The Canadian Press Wire and many more) services are very popular tool beside personal network and agency service to circulate media releases. In popular news wire sites journalist scan through hundreds of news releases. We, comms professionals, get five to ten seconds to capture journalists’ attention, that is why while using newswire we have to very careful regarding crafting the release.
There are few silly mistakes we make which leads to less traffic on our release. Following mentioned mistakes I think are most important factors which we have take care:
Firstly, we have to think that is it news worthy? We can not simply write a release just for the sake of writing it. Before writing a press release, we have to research the audience demographics of our media release to determine whether or not the information is appropriate. We can definitely contact media offices to find out who reports on this kind of news, which section it would appear in and how that person wants to receive the press release. I would say that our job is to capture the essence of our target audiences’ excitement for the piece of unique news.
We quite often write the headline thinking that what we want to say, rather than what audiences want to hear. We have to think that will it encourage media people to actually read the story? Thumb rule is to keep the headline as one line sentence, which is no longer than 20 to 30 words.
Mistake # 3
Journalists don’t have time to read long press releases. They find themselves lost in too many information. They go through lots of media releases every day before taking decision for publishing, that is why it is very important to keep it in within one and a half page long.
Journalists quite often find that quotes are not worthy to publish. Quotes make opinion, insight, and emotion possible in a press release. The journalist looks for the quote but if they do not find any key message from the quote they lose their interest in the media release. We know that quotes speak about opinion insight and make an emotional bridge with the media release. We have to make sure that added quote should speak about the initiative/revolution that makes it newsworthy. The quote goes at the third paragraph and minimum two quotes from two people will give more authenticity of the report.
Mistake # 5
When we published any research outcomes, sometimes we bombard our news releases with facts and figures and forget to highlight the key message. Our final readers may not be experts on the topic. We have to explain only key findings and key message rather than talking about the whole research study. We can add research links, where interest group can read the whole study.
Sometimes we get so used to with our jargons that we forget that the outside world is not familiar with it. We have to avoid jargons while writing the release and use plain and simple english.
At the end, I would like to say again that we have only five to ten seconds to make an impression. Using popular word and keeping consistency in the write up while highlighting on the key messages will bring the best outcome on our each assignment.