Geoffrey Stackhouse, Managing Director, Clarity Solutions
My journalist mates complain constantly that media releases are getting longer and more trivial. Most lack any news values and are instantly deleted.
So it’s a breath of fresh air to see the Australian Labor Party occasionally issuing short, snappy and to the point statements. Could it be the start of a new trend of transparency and honesty in politics?
The record for the most elegant and concise media release ever written goes to Anthony Albanese's comment on Sydney Airport Corporation chairman, Max Moore-Wilton’s, proposed retirement. It had just one word: "Good".
Bill Shorten was a bit less short but shamelessly on message with just three sentences to mark Christine Milne’s retirement from politics.
“Labor’s priority is to protect living standards, jobs and a secure economic future. The Greens have other priorities. I’m proud to lead the only political party that gives members a say in choosing their leader.”
I’m a big fan of clarity. No one, least of all journalists, have the time or energy to wade through pages of gratuitous waffle.
And because Twitter is the #1 source of breaking news if you want to be heard you have to say it in as few words as possible.
So, here’s this week's challenge for all our media people.
Make the first draft of your media release a tweet. Then pad it out if it’s absolutely essential.
You'd be surprised at how much better the result is. And in a fraction of the time.
We do run a popular course on how to write a media release, but here are my top three tips.
1. Focus on news values – particularly impact and currency.
2. Don't tell me what has happened, tell me what it means.
3. Include a quote that sings. Leave out the marketing spiel, speak with passion and use colourful language.