What Makes a Media Release Effective

Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Mark Roy.

Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Mark Roy.

My goal for the past several years has been to guide authors in The Digital Age and teach how to create a strong author brand capable of driving book sales. Social media is important, but we all know it’s also cluttered with competition because there are few if any gatekeepers.

There are no threshold guardians approving who can and cannot have a Facebook page or even a blog. Granted, a social media platform is powerful, but a key component is time. On-line platforms rarely yield instant results and time is what will eventually give us advantage.

Traditional media outlets are a different story. Many people still watch the news, read the paper, listen to radio and pick up magazines. These forms of media are a highly valuable asset to any platform because the audience knows that not just anybody can gain access. Results can come faster and be far more wide-spread. Yet, how do we get our foot in the door?

W.A.N.A. International is committed to helping writers in every aspect of their careers and we hire those who are proven experts in their fields. Today, W.A.N.A. International Instructor Lisa Hall-Wilson is here to offer a few tips on how to earn media attention for you or your book.

Take it away, Lisa!

***

What makes a media release effective? It gets you the attention you’re looking for. A great media release puts cheeks in the seats, gets coverage, gets the interview. It’s that simple.

I’ve been a professional freelance writer for almost five years. In that time, I’ve worked from some stellar and deplorable media releases. I’ve written media releases picked up by local print and radio media, and large national and daily media. A certain aspect of getting your story picked up is simple timing – what else is going on?

But there are ways to tip the scales in your favor! In my class on Thursday I’ll be giving the inside scoop on how to write an effective media release (including a proven template) but here are 3 quick tips to get you started!

What’s The Story?

When planning your media release, remember editors and radio hosts want to report on the news. Show me the money, baby! Give them something they can report on. They want news. Your feel good, I’m-so-proud-of-myself media release is not going to get you the desired attention. What about your book, your upcoming appearance, is news worthy? Why should that editor’s readers care?

Be honest with yourself!

The Greatest Story Ever Told Is Released <- not news

Local Author Releases Debut Novel <- this is news on a slow day

Local Author Wins National Writing Prize <- this is news on most days

Think Like A Journalist

Reporters, editors, and radio hosts are busy people who work in a fast-paced world. If your media release doesn’t clearly answer the who, what, when, where, why of the story in less than a page you’re probably out of luck unless you’re a big name.

Ask yourself this question: If I had to write an article promoting this event, what would I need to know to write the story?

The Power of Free

Many many times, I’ve had editors simply run my media release. They might shorten it, add a photo, rearrange a couple paragraphs – but they run it verbatim. Do I get credit? No. Do I care? No. These editors have space to fill. They’re looking for well-written clean copy their readers are interested in. You fill those needs, offer that content for FREE and your chances of being picked up increase exponentially.

How To Write An Effective Media Release – Thursday April 10th – 7PM NY Time

Whether you’re looking to expand the services you offer as a freelance writer, or you’re looking to get the attention of an editor, journalist, radio host, or book blogger about your book release, writing effective media releases is essential. Learn what gets a journalist’s or editor’s attention, what information to include, who to send it to, how to format your media release, and how to tip the scales in your favor to get the coverage you’re looking for.

And do it all the WANA way!

This class is recorded for later listening pleasure. Attendees will also receive a proven media release template.

Lisa Hall-Wilson

Lisa Hall-Wilson

 Lisa Hall-Wilson is an award-winning freelance journalist with over 100 published articles, is a syndicated columnist, author and blogger. She’s worked from stellar and deplorable media releases, and knows what a reporter is looking for. She’s had media releases picked up by local and national print and radio media, and written media releases, media kits, and provided publicity support to dozens of local and national events for small businesses and non-profits such as World Vision Canada.

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  1. #1 by Kerry Ascione on April 9, 2014 - 10:11 am

    I just signed up; it’s very timely for me. I have a book coming out on or about April 30th called Have Home Will Travel, The Ultimate International Home Exchange Guide For Families. I’ll need to create some kick butt media releases! There is a time discrepancy, Kristen’s blog says the class starts at 7pm and the write up of the class says 7:30pm? Also, what URL do we visit for the class?

  2. #2 by ugiridharaprasad on April 9, 2014 - 10:20 am

    Reblogged this on ugiridharaprasad.

  3. #3 by Lisa Hall-Wilson on April 9, 2014 - 10:24 am

    Hi Kerry! Looking forward to meeting you. The class starts at 7:30PM That’s my mistake. Sorry. You should’ve gotten an email with the login and password for the class. If you didn’t, email support@wanaintl.com

  4. #4 by Rii the Wordsmith on April 9, 2014 - 10:28 am

    What kind of media usually publishes stuff about writers, though? I feel like, unless there’s some extraordinary JK Rowling story, writers don’t usually show up on the news I watch. I’m perhaps kind of disconnected from a lot of media in the world, so maybe it’s obvious – either way, I don’t know who I would approach for this sort of thing.

  5. #7 by Lisa Hall-Wilson on April 9, 2014 - 10:56 am

    Newspapers and magazines are always in need of fresh content. If you have a news worthy angle often you’ll get a media release picked up. Maybe the story isn’t about you, but about an issue you talk about in your book?

  6. #8 by Maryann Miller (@maryannwrites) on April 9, 2014 - 11:05 am

    I learned some time back about the importance of giving the newspapers a complete story and have had good luck getting press releases published promoting events at the local art center. However, I find it harder to do effective releases for my books, but I think that is only because it is so much easier to promote other people and other things. I suspect I am not alone in that. :-)

  7. #9 by Tam Francis on April 9, 2014 - 2:40 pm

    Thanks Kristin and Lisa. This is interesting and not something I’d thought of. I’m wondering how this combines with social media. Is it a big blitz? Ahhhh, so far to go…

    • #10 by Author Kristen Lamb on April 9, 2014 - 2:47 pm

      In my POV it is just another brick in a sturdy platform. But Lisa is more qualified to answer this.

  8. #11 by KellyRaeBooks on April 9, 2014 - 3:09 pm

    Reblogged this on Kelly Rae & Jocelyn Bell Books and commented:
    Another great blog post. Kristen Lamb and the WANA Team are always so informative and helpful. As much as I have read this week about how reviews/reviewers are scaring writers away, it sure is nice to be reminded that the writing community itself, is full of kind and generous souls looking out for each other.

    Writing is a solitary thing, but branding, marketing and sales are definitely a community effort.

    For informative posts and news that really matters to writers this bog is a must follow!

    Have a gorgeous day!

  9. #12 by Doré Bak on April 9, 2014 - 3:39 pm

    I was about to just simply give this blog a quick gloss over, but was immediately captivated by its rich content and clear style. I’m a follower now. Writing a novel (albeit short one) and finally self-publishing is a completely satisfying endeavor. I have no doubt of that, but I soon discover there’s more to writing yet still, writing to market my books. I find this blog most helpful. Kristin and Lisa, thank you.

  10. #13 by symplysilent on April 9, 2014 - 4:28 pm

    You make it sound like writing a 27 word logline, or a 100 word Flash Fiction. It’s a puzzle isn’t it? And there aren’t any edges to start with. Ha.

  11. #14 by Charlotte Gerber, Mystery Author on April 9, 2014 - 9:09 pm

    Reblogged this on Charlotte Gerber and commented:
    Great info for authors…

  12. #15 by Gry Ranfelt on April 11, 2014 - 12:59 am

    Argh, I wish I’d seen this class sooner D:

  13. #16 by Martha Carr on April 14, 2014 - 9:52 am

    Keeping things local in some ways – even with the bigger outlets has really helped me sell a piece to an editor. Have a lot of success, even with fiction – I pull out themes from the book that I can write about with some authority, some interesting angles, and something very, very current.

  1. Queries, Press Releases, MindMaps & Email Marketing for Writers - Social Media Just for Writers

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