What is the Difference Between a MAT Release and a Press Release?

Are you stuck deciding whether to take advantage of a press release or a MAT release to distribute your branded content? Both can be very helpful in getting your brand’s message across, but there are distinct differences between the two.

Depending on your needs, you might lean more toward one type of branded content over the other. Press releases are cheap and easy to distribute, so they seem to get more attention than MAT releases. But MAT releases offer many positives, like guaranteed placements and consumer-focused messaging.

No matter which type of branded content you choose, it’s important to understand the differences to best inform your decision.

What is branded content?

Branded content is a marketing strategy that utilizes a variety of content formats that share your brand’s story. This type of content connects with the audience by sharing your business’s purpose instead of promoting products or services.

MAT release vs. press release

What is a press release?

While MAT releases and press releases are both forms of branded content, there are key differences between the two.

A press release is usually a written piece of content that contains news about a brand or a product and is distributed to editors and journalists through a newswire. A press release:

  • Is written for journalists who might write about the brand’s news
  • Is usually free aside from a fee for newswire distribution
  • How do you distribute a press release? It is earned content, so there is no guarantee of coverage or placements
  • Focuses on newsworthiness of the content to increase the likelihood of editor pickup

Press release example

What is a MAT release?

A MAT release, or matte release, is a paid media tactic that guarantees media coverage through a publisher network that partners with the MAT distribution company. A MAT release:

  • Is written for consumers and contains useful, lightly branded information
  • Is paid, controlled media
  • Guarantees media coverage in a network of publishers
  • Focuses on the consumer and how the lightly branded content might be of interest to the general public

MAT release example

Controlled Media

Controlled media is in popular demand, especially with the influx of uncontrolled content on the internet. MAT releases are an option that enables brands to deliver on controlled media, which allows for brands to own the message they’re sending out and decide how they want to tell their story. MAT releases almost never get altered from their final client-approved version, making them about as controlled as if the brand were to post the content itself.

Press releases don’t have that luxury. They rely on an editor to find the story interesting enough to write about, and if they do decide to write about the brand, the editor can take any angle on the story they want to. The brand has no control over the story whatsoever.

Placements on Media Sites

The goal of both MAT releases and press releases is to gain awareness around something related to the brand. Since press releases aren’t guaranteed to get picked up by editors, you might not get any placements on media sites by writing a press release. Press releases can also be posted on the brand’s site but are usually buried on a media page.

With a MAT release, you’re guaranteed to get placements on top publisher sites in the distribution company’s network of publishers. The MAT release lives on a special page of the site that can be accessed with just a few clicks from the home page. In most cases, MAT releases can also be found using the site’s search function, making them easily accessible to their audience.

Audience

Press releases must focus their audience on journalists. This can be frustrating for brands because they can’t tailor their message to their target audience. They are working strictly toward getting picked up by publications, so newsworthiness and public interest are the focus.

MAT releases can be geared straight to the consumer. They are lightly branded with a few brand mentions but usually include evergreen content that is useful, interesting and informative. The brand can write for their audience directly.

Metrics

Press releases and MAT releases can deliver placement and audience metrics on things like click-through rates and engagement, which is a great perk of both.

MAT releases take metrics a step further as they can be amplified to drive traffic and consumer engagement to highly targeted audiences. Press releases can’t be targeted because of their audience base — they are written for journalists, so a brand wouldn’t be able to target a specific audience.

Which distribution is right for you?

Press releases and MAT releases are both great distribution techniques that can result in stronger brand awareness and publicity, but which is a better fit for your integrated marketing plan? Choosing which to invest in can be tricky, so it’s important to consider both options carefully.

Brandpoint offers a variety of branded content services. Paired with our top-tier publisher network, our Guaranteed Media Placement distribution products might be the answer to your needs. Get in touch today for more information on how to start your next distribution with Brandpoint.

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