One of the first things we recommend you do when you want to start interacting with the media is media training. This should help you think very carefully about your value proposition and how to articulate it and it should also equip you with the skills required to handle yourself well in media interviews.

One of the next steps is to start communicating with the media and many people often start by sending media releases. If you are like some of the financial services executives we train, you may never have to write a media release yourself, but you should still know how they are crafted – because well-written releases will grab a journalist’s attention – and grabbing a journalists’s attention is the very first step towards building a media profile.

What is a media release?
A media release alerts the media to an event, a launch, a development or a new product , anything you, as the business putting out the release, could reasonably describe as “news”. The media release is a tool for putting your business news on a journalist’s radar and making it interesting enough for them to write up. It must therefore be a short, snappy introduction to a topic that could spark the interest of their audiences. Like all things in life, some topics are more likely to generate interest than others.

Brevity is the key to a great media release – journalists are not looking for the whole enchilada here. They want enough information so that they could run it as a straight news story, but with enough unanswered points to give them room to move and make the story their own. Keep it to one page if you can. Another reason for brevity is you want journalists to call. You want to give them a reason to contact you to make a connection and start a relationship. So provide good quality content, but don’t hand over everything you have!

What do you want and who do you want to talk to?
Before you start tapping the keyboard, you need to understand your own reasons for writing a media release. Is it to attract new clients/customers? Is it to position your business as a happening place, is it to help develop you, as the business owner, as a thought leader? You also need to know your audience. Who do you really want to talk to? Try to imagine an “ideal” member or members of your audience. Get really specific.

Think about things like:

  • How old is this person?
  • What gender?
  • How much do they earn?
  • What do they do for a living?
  • Where do they work?
  • Where do they live?
  • Where were they born?
  • Optimist or pessimist? Extrovert or introvert?
  • In a relationship? Single? It?s complicated?
  • Kids or no kids?
  • Interests and hobbies?
  • Coffee or tea? Wine or beer??Vegan or meat lover?

You get the idea? The more information you know about your “ideal” audience, the easier it will be to write for them. Now that you know who they are, give them names. It will help you feel very connected to them.

Media release topics

New products, services, innovations and staff you introduce to your business are likely to be good topics for media releases. For example, a new financial planning model that differs in remuneration structure, or the way it evaluates planner performance and customer satisfaction measures, from what is already available in the market, should generate media interest, but, obviously, only with those journalists who are working in this space.

Other media release topics may be more generic –  a how-to or tips list giving consumers insight on how to, for example, pick a great fund manager, what their home loan provider should be doing for them, or how to know if they are getting value from an adviser. These types of media releases may be interesting for a broader audience and therefore might appeal to more general consumer media outlets interested in material to add to an existing feature article, to fill a corner, or to build a bigger story around.

Next time we will outline a step-by-step process to writing a media release.

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