A mat release is an opportunity to frame your brand in the best possible light. It’s important to remember, however, that a mat release isn’t like a traditional ad where you put your branding front and center, as this approach can actually hurt your efforts with mat releases.
The most successful mat releases take a journalistic approach and tone. After all, you don’t want your copy to stick out as self-centered advertising in a sea of objective journalism. Rather, you want it to blend in seamlessly with the content around it. The question to ask yourself: “why should a media outlet run this story?”
These days, your potential audience is savvier than ever before. That’s not to say they don’t want to hear from you and your brand. But it does mean they want to read content that is helpful, informative and insightful.
To that end, avoid taglines, excessive product specs and self-praise. Instead, stick to statistics and research results, as well as tips, advice and how-tos that the typical reader can use in his or her daily life. There are plenty of opportunities to spotlight your brand therein, framed as an as expert on the topic at hand. And if you do include quotes from an expert, these should not be attributed to your PR team or brand manager. Whenever possible, it should come from a true expert in the field – namely those people in your company who make your products or experts that your company relies on for input in shaping your wares.
Likewise, when it comes to an accompanying photo, a highly-stylized product shot is not the way to go. Editors and readers will quickly sniff this out for what it is: advertising. Instead, think of the types of lifestyle images you see in feature stories in your local paper or on your local TV website. More often than not, they speak to the headline and illustrate the points within. Seek to replicate that formula in your mat release. If your brand must be featured in the image, ensure the product is not the sharply focused foreground or floating in white – space. Depict it in a native setting in use by your target audience. The more natural its inclusion, the more visual credibility your story will garner.
If you work with a sponsored editorial content service that specializes in mat release creation and distribution, they can help you tailor your branded content into a format optimized for widespread pick-up in media outlets nationwide.