Writing For The Media

Learning the art of press release writing is never an enjoyable experience.  Less so when your teacher is a sceptical journalist whose first reaction is always ‘so what?’

Oh how I suffered at the hands of that hard taskmaster with his red pen and sharp tongue.  What’s the story is always the starting point, write the headline and expand from there answering who, what, where, when, why and how.

Twenty years on I felt I had it pretty much sussed. So how come when I revisited a recent release I found myself reading waffle worthy of an intern?

This is a particularly tricky release – not because of the subject matter – no that’s pretty straight forward.  It’s because it has been around the houses so many times with the marketing, social media and finally the web agencies tweaking it to within an inch of its life.  Why pray tell?  For ‘web optimisation’ of course!

What?  That was never part of my training.  Basically folks what this means is that if a journalist prints my release word for word then the client website will receive a larger number of hits.

Slight problem.  The blooming release is awful no self-respecting journalist would read it, not to mind publishing it!

So I’ve done what I should have done from the very start.  Stripped it back to deliver a compelling piece of copy which will engage the journalist and give me a fighting chance of generating meaningful coverage.

Now how to break it to the client!

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