In my previous article I took a look at contacting and communicating with the print media through the creation and distribution of a media release. In this post, I thought I would give an example of a media release so that you can see the format at work, and then show you the results of the campaign.
Just as a reminder, a media release is the document, taking a specific format, that you prepare to share your news with your chosen media outlet.
Most of my business comes my way by means of referral. In October 2010, I was approached by my friends/associates at Iceberg Events, who were working on an event “roadshow.” SMBiT Professionals (the national industry association for Information Technology service providers to small and medium sized business in Australia) had received a grant from the Australian Government initiative, Enterprise Connect, to roll out a series of free events around Australia with the aim of introducing attendees to the future directions of technology. With a limited database, my publicity brief was to raise awareness in the business communities that were local to the areas of the workshop.
My media releases contained much the same content but were individualised for the particular area to include the location and date of the relevant workshop. I also put out a national media release to the national media that contained all the dates and locations of the six workshops, but did not make reference to a particular location within the body of the media release.
Here’s a PDF of the release I used for the Brisbane event, which you can use as an example for crafting your own media release.
You will notice that I sourced some research about virtualisation to add something timely and newsworthy to the release, so that it wouldn’t give the essence of “just another community event.” The media love statistics too. Take notice of the quotes from the spokesperson. It is not so obvious in this particular example, but I normally try to attribute every paragraph to somebody or some research results (if applicable), unless it is entirely factual (such as the fourth paragraph of the release – what virtualisation refers to).
Everything that could be, in the slightest way, viewed as an opinion or observation, needs to be attributed to a source. This is because the media release is purely a statement about some news from a company, and I, as the PR Consultant, am merely the messenger. If you are writing a media release for your own business, you should still attribute statements to a source, such as yourself, so that the journalist can use your content more readily, and also so that there is no confusion about what is fact and what is an opinion, observation or outlook on a particular topic.
This particular release was longer than normal, mainly because of all the different parties involved. Each of the speakers needed to have a bio and logo included, as did Enterprise Connect. I have copied the points from my last article and repeated them below so you can pick them out of the media release example. Make sure you read over my previous article for more help with this – How To Get Coverage In Print Media
Generally, your media release should include:
The media release needs to answer the following questions where possible, and it’s a good idea to always keep the following in mind when writing it:
I was very pleased with the response from the media. It was picked up by two national newspapers and by the newspaper local to each region, except Brisbane, interestingly. I have included two articles of the national media coverage below. I have not attached the other articles due to copyright purposes. Because I scanned the articles from Business Review Weekly and Australian Financial Review myself, and acknowledge the publication and date, I can use these as I wish. The other articles were collected by my media monitoring service, and provided to me as a PDF. These are for my use only, and I can’t use them in a public capacity, such as on a website or blog.
At this point, I would like to interject and talk a little about media monitoring.
As a public relations specialist, I subscribe to a media monitoring service, and what this does is collect all the newspaper articles that contain key words I pre-select. I set up a file for each of my clients, and the coverage I wish it to scan, and then it sends the clips to me as PDFs as they appear. This is a very handy tool to have, simply because journalists usually don’t give any indication that they plan to use your media release and publish a story on you. Sometimes they even do it independently of a media release! So, it’s very difficult to predict if and when a story will appear. Even if you are contacted for a photo and interview, your story may be held back due to a number of reasons, and it may not even be published at all.
From a professional point of view, it’s essential that I subscribe to media monitoring services, but as an individual person or business, you may just have to keep your eyes open across the publications you knew you initially contacted.
The results across all the publications were fairly standard, in that parts of the media release was quoted almost word for word – something that, as I mentioned, happens frequently for me due to my journalistic background. The client queried why the website and details of the workshops were not quoted in the national articles. Unfortunately, as discussed in my last post, there are no guarantees with the media. They can take as much or as little as they like from the information you provide. Interested parties will presumably google the event. Sometimes they even phone the journalist for more information.
I was very pleased overall with the media coverage of the events. As you can imagine, media coverage of any event or organisation or product can never guarantee an end result. In other words, you can never predict an outcome (whether people will pick up the phone and call you as a result of a news story), and this is outside of my power of influence. This is why I always build other publicity aspects into my clients’ campaigns, to ensure a well rounded and far reaching effect. I will give examples of some of these in blog posts that follow.
In the next blog post, I will be looking at TV, radio and online news outlets. Until then, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you a wonderful festive season and happy, safe holidays!