The dos and don’ts of media release copywriting

There’s no denying that media exposure can do wonders for your brand.  Press coverage showcases your business to the masses, delivers your message and generates leads.  But advertising can be an expensive strategy in the long-term.  I believe that a better business plan is to earn regular press coverage by writing juicy media release copy that the journalists just can’t say no to.

Here’s a bit of truth, journalists work long hours, for mediocre pay and exist in a constant state of stress due to ongoing looming deadlines.  There’s no doubt that they have a love and a passion for their job, but all of their dreams come true when someone (you or I) delivers an interesting and newsworthy story right into their lap in the form of a perfectly crafted media release. 

So how do you write a media release that stops the overworked and underpaid journo in their tracks? 

Follow these simple steps and your story will be the next big scoop.

Create a headline that demands attention

Forget wishy washy snore-worthy headlines.  This is your chance to spark interest and grab attention, so make it great. Stick to one line –  headlines need to be short and snappy.

Tell your story

When you’re brainstorming media release topics you can throw the sales pitch out of the window.  A good story is one that falls into one of the following categories:

  • Timely
  • Impactful
  • Proximity
  • Human Interest
  • Conflict
  • The odd/unusual

Think about what makes you or your business different, what do you do that doesn’t necessarily earn you money?

Once you have established what you’re writing about, be sure to include the following:

  • Who?
  • What?
  • Where?
  • When?
  • Why?
  • How?

This is journalism 101, so make sure that all of this information can be easily found within your media release. 

Make it as easy as possible for the journalist to publish your media release.

Stick to a reasonable word count 

One page or roughly 400 words is about right so be clear and concise.

Prove what you’re saying with expert quotes

Naturally you or your company spokesperson will provide quotes for inclusion within the media release, but consider adding comments from a third-party industry expert.  This gives credibility to your story and proves that your release is more than just a sales pitch.  Another option is to include facts and statistics as further evidence.


Proof read

There’s nothing more irritating than reading copy with spelling or grammatical errors.  Journalists simply do not have time to be correcting your mistakes.  Enlist the help of an editor or proof reader to ensure that the quality of your copy is to a high standard.


Include high-res images

It’s highly unlikely that any piece of editorial will be published without images to accompany it.  A simple Dropbox link will suffice.  If you don’t provide images then the journalist will either have to source pictures themselves, or, more likely, will put your media release to the bottom of the pile.


Provide contact info

Make sure that your release includes reliable contact information.  If you haven’t already, nominate a member of your team to handle enquiries.  Journlaists and editors may get in touch to fact check, obtain additional info or line up an interview with your talent.


Distribute your media release

Once you have sent out your release by email allow at least two days before you begin to follow up with the newsrooms.  When you do follow up don’t say, ‘will you be publishing a story?’ instead simply introduce yourself, check that they have received your release and ask whether they need any further information at this stage.  That’s it.  Don’t harass them with further calls or spam them with emails.  Building a rapport with the newsrooms takes time but once they know who you are, and that you send through quality content, you will begin to have some success. 




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