Never heard of a mat release? You are not alone. It’s one of the lesser-known tools of the public relations trade.
Once referred to as matte, they have been in existence pre-internet and were once used to provide content filler to local newspaper across the country. They are still in use today, and more so now that news bureaus have downsized and the need for new and relevant content – referred to as evergreen content – increases with the 24/7 demand for news.
A mat release is a consumer-focused feature article, fully formatted with camera-ready artwork that can be lifted straight by reporters and editors as fillers for daily news editions, digital and print. For public relations professionals, mat releases provide a great opportunity to increase publicity for a brand and to carry messages to the consumer public.
Mat releases can be distributed through wire services, including PR Newswire and Business Wire, which acquired the old distribution service, North American Precis Syndicate or NAPS database.
Keep the release to no more than 700 words with high-quality content. Remember that even though you seek to gain exposure, it is not a commercial for your brand or product.
Ensure the copy will be of interest to the consumer public – provide tips, advice, and guidance. Inform as much as possible.
Follow a feature format and ensure the article will fit in any of the feature sections of daily, local newspapers, from living to health and food sections. Do your research.
Mat releases can be an effective way to gain national exposure for your brand or client without paying for a costly advertising campaign.