How and when to distribute your press release
No matter how well you’ve written your press release, getting it into the right hands is critical to its success. By following these seven steps to distribute your press release, you’ll be on your way to PR success!
Ensure your draft press release allows readers to quickly see the name of your company, contact person and title of the release – consider placing the title in all caps and making the company logo prominent.
Create a media list or make appropriate calls to verify the accuracy of your list. Tailor your list to include outlets who are most likely to be interested in your release, then classify the news item as local, regional or national to help you narrow down your list.
Decide whether you’ll mail or email your release. If emailing, consider sending a PDF file rather than a word doc. that can be altered by others.
Plan the timing of your release – ideal times are early in the day or on slow news days e.g. not when there is a natural disaster or when a major news or local story has broken. Mid-week is often the best time to send a release.
Send your release to the targeted group by fax, mail or email.
Be prepared to answer any media questions regarding your release – No matter how many journalists love your press release, it won’t do you any good if they can’t reach you to discuss the story!
Follow-up with a few media outlets if your release announced an event and you need to know which members of the media will attend.
If you don’t have access to your own media list, and you’re not sure where to start, you may like to consider hiring a professional to distribute your release. When choosing a distribution site, avoid free sites, as these generally are ineffective and can annoy reporters who don’t like to receive unsolicited releases. Don’t attach your business or name to a shady company that promised something of value for nothing!
Tips & Warnings
- If you choose to hire a professional, make sure you ask for references and examples of their work.
- Brevity is desirable, both in your release and in responses to reporters. Give the most important information in the first paragraph of your press release, and repeat it again when you speak to a reporter on the phone or by e-mail.
- Only reach out to one reporter per news outlet. If you e-mail your release to every sports reporter at your local paper, it’s likely that none of them will pick up your story.
- Don’t put reporters on your email lists unless they ask to be added. Spamming a journalist is a sure way to get all of your future releases trashed upon receipt.