You are about to launch a business or an entertainment project. What is the most effective way of providing information and disseminate news about your project or business and gain publicity in the media? The answer is a media release. A media release is part of media kit that the most important element for film marketing procress.
This post will use PR expert Andrea Holland’s Lynda video and the 3rd edition published ‘Public Relations writing’ book (2017) written by James Mahoney as the references to dig into the topic.
Why is media release important?
Imagining you are launching a new entertainment project, it may be a film, an event, a show and so on, but no-one shows up or care about it. This is not because the audience has no interested in your project, it is just because you don’t have a little help from the media. Okay, let keep using your imagination, you are now launching a new film, for example, and tons of news, broadcast channels and even blogs and social media talk about it. Yes, a huge success. So now, you may think of how to catch journalists’ attention when you need to gain the interest of the media outlet, and also provide them with the nice and positive angle of your story. If you do it correctly, it enhances your visibility, disseminates your information and supports your project or business in term of sales and marketing.
In brief, media release is a tool to draw public attention to noteworthy news you want to the world to know. For example, you, an independent film festival organiser, want to get the public attention to your film festival, you may think of a media release like LA Film Festival 2018 media release distributed on PR Newswire.
What is a media release?
Some people may think that media release is a whole story like what you read on a blog or newspaper. No, it’s not. It is simply a document sharing important, timely and contextual information objectively with media. And how it becomes a larger story, it is the journalists’ job. It simply answers 4W questions – who, what, when, where, and especially the most important question, WHY.
A normal media release is generally maximum 2 pages including headline, date, logo, boilerplate, background of information and contact detail. And keeping in mind, you need to carefully choose your words. Journalists are typically busy. If it’s too long or has nothing interesting, it will not be read, and you waste your time.
The media release at first was just used for contacting journalists, then it is all about SEO and now, it is perceived as a form of PR played in a small part of a larger multi-channel strategy. And the rise of social and digital media today, this is plenty of ways to disperse your information to the media outlet.
Media release isn’t media alert
A media alert is merely like an invitation, even though it contains information details similar to a media release. It is the announcement as a short version of the media release, simple, straightforward and no reporting language. A media alert is basically an invitation to the media, not attract them to write a story about it.
Let take an example. If you just simply invite journalists to your film premiere, that is media alert. This is because you only need a short, simple and direct piece of information. If you make a film using a cutting-edge technology and it may change a whole film industry, many experts talk about it, yes, this is media release. This is because you have a story need to be told, this will attract the journalists and give them the reason why they should pay attention to it.
Here is the example of a media alert for a film premiere.
The media alerts are usually used in Press room in Film Festivals, take a look at LA Harbor International Film Festival, you can see lots of examples of media alerts. You can also check on medianet for more media alert examples.
Media release, on the other hand, is usually around two page long.
To read the entire media release, click here.
Where to distribute your media release
A journalist or a media outlet you know will be a great choice to send out your media release. You may consider a platform such as Just Reach Out or Medianet (for Australia) to access journalists’ database. Good email pitch to a right journalist will get your news to where you want it to go to. Check the post about how to write a great email pitch here.
If you don’t know any, there are some platforms that you can distribute your media release such as PRWeb, Pitch Engine, PRNewswire. Social media are the great tools to assist you if you are looking for a free-friendly platform. Post your media release with hashtags on Twitter, Google Alert or on Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. However, you need to build a strong online presence for doing so. HARO is a platform that allows you to provide sources for journalists, and from there, you build up your online presence as an industry expert and earn a backlink to your website.
So now you know why you need a media release, and start to write one for your new business or projects.