With the 2021-22 Federal Budget announcement coming up on Tuesday 11 May, now’s the time to get prepared to add your business or organisation’s commentary to the mix.

Medianet are offering several services to assist with your budget campaign, including Media Alert Bulletins in the leadup to and following the announcement. These collations of press releases will be sent directly to the inboxes of thousands of Australian journalists, producers and editors. 

Here are three key tips for optimising your press release to catch the attention of the media:

Display all information clearly and succinctly. 

Journalists will only spend a few moments glancing over your release, so it’s important that the most newsworthy information is highlighted at the top. 

Using bullet points to briefly summarise your key points can also be effective. 

Don’t underestimate the power that well presented data can have too. If explained in a way that highlights their relevance and importance, numbers and stats can be used as the key feature or selling point for a journalist highlighting an issue to their audience, and consequently, for PR agencies and professionals to pitch their stories to the media. 

For some inspiration on how to present your data in a compelling and visually appealing way, have a look at these five great infographics from 2020.

Presenting information in a compelling format will assist in drawing journalists’ attention. Source: New York Times. 

Be prepared.

The news cycle is quick enough on a normal day, but with everyone campaigning to share their take on the budget, interest will move even faster on the 11th. If a journalist tries to contact you for a story but you’re not available or you can’t find the information they need, there’s a pretty high chance they’ll be moving on immediately to another person or topic. 

Before sending your media release, make sure your media contact details are correct, and that there will be a spokesperson for your organisation who can quickly make themselves available should a journalist wish to speak to them. 

In our latest Journalist Spotlight interview, ABC Radio Presenter Warwick Long said honesty about the facts of the press release, and the availability of the media spokesperson are the two key determinants of whether a press release will make it to air. 

“The biggest frustration I have as a radio reporter is when a release is sent out but the talent is unavailable,” Warwick said. 

“All too often I will be interested in pursuing a story but the talent listed in the release is on holidays or in meetings for the rest of the day. So I’ll drop the story.”

Here’s a checklist of elements to proofread before sending your media release, including items to make sure are attached or included and common spelling and grammar mistakes.

Think outside the box.

Your federal budget story does not have to be economics-based. Business, finance and politics journalists are always flat out covering the biggest news items of the budget announcement, but there are plenty of stories to be told that will interest journalists from other beats or rounds too. Think about how the budget will affect people and things beyond the more obvious direct effects, and what unique perspective you or your organisation can provide on this. 

Once you have an angle, consider carefully who you want to pitch your story too. In our 2019 survey of almost 1,000 Australian journalists, we discovered the biggest “bugbear” of journalists when it comes to PR is receiving press releases not relevant to their specific work or subject areas. 

Journalists are far more likely to respond to consider your release if they feel your contact with them is exclusive or at least somewhat personalised and considered. Medianet’s Media Contacts Database contains the profiles and pitching preferences of thousands of Australian journalists, and the Press Release Distribution service also contains over 1,400 lists of relevant journalists which you can use to target your campaign appropriately. 

 

Click here for an interactive display of unique tips on how to best distribute your specific press release, or check out this blog article for some more “do’s and don’ts” of connecting with journalists. 

 

When your campaign is ready for publication, log in to our Press Release Distribution service — your release will automatically be considered for distribution on our Media Alert Bulletin and a feature on our News Hub.