A common mistake with many press releases is they stop just short of presenting all possible elements of a ‘full and useable story’ to journalists and editors.
Having taken careful pains to craft a release to be as effective as possible – as covered in our blog articles with tips on headlines and content and angles – the key here is to turn to the important idea that you can support your release with images, video and infographics, as well as directional pointers and links to add context and information.
Look for opportunities
In the increasingly pressured pursuit of and hunger for ready-to-use stories the attitude to adopt has to be to think about how to round out your release, ensuring it facilitates access to sources that will help tell the story – most importantly visually as well as textually.
That means that as you are planning for and drafting your release you need to look for these types of opportunities to round out the story you’re telling.
When you step back and think of the issue or topic that’s the strongest angle for your release, is there a relevant image or video or audio file that could drive home the messages you want to convey and enhance its interest value?
One name for this is the umbrella descriptor of ‘digital assets’, or it can be described in terms of the specific option of multimedia news releases.
- For event related releases have you explored the photo opportunities and potential? Is there a proactive image you can attach that will directly relate to the event, or can you arrange ahead of time to place images on an accessible image platform?
- If the story is centred on the achievement of an individual is there a colourful photo of that person (or small group of people) that’s immediately available to complement the release?
- If your release is heavy on data-driven information or statistics, could these be communicated most clearly by an infographic or visual illustration?
- If the release relates to a location or series of locations around Australia, could it be supplemented with a link to a map?
A simple checklist not to forget
Adding assets to enrich your release isn’t something that has to be complicated.
Fortunately it’s very rare that an organisation doesn’t already have a go-to bank of images that form part of its communications and own website publishing activity at their fingertips. So before thinking you don’t have something to match the content of your release, it pays to check out the multimedia resource you already have access to.
The process of putting a multimedia news release together is becoming simpler and the case for doing so more and more compelling.
To put an asset rich icing on the cake of your release you just need to remember a few other things that are on the wish-lists of journalists to make their life easier and to strengthen the release’s useability:
- The prospect of a photo being used will automatically be maximised if you include a good caption. No photos should be sent without a caption, and if necessary a photo credit.
- Captioning videos is also becoming expected and is often favoured for social media use.
- Embedded links at key points in a release are fine, but you can also strengthen your release if you bullet point the links as full or abbreviated URLs at the bottom of the release.
- When your release is about a newly published research report or survey results it is most helpful if you provide a source link or actually attach the source report or survey. This will ensure the journalist gets instant access to what they need to understand the full content of your release and as a basis for their own story research. You do yourself a favour by doing the journalist or editor that favour.
* This article was contributed by AAP Medianet’s media team members, Stephen Olsen and Jason Loewenthal.