Distributing Your Press Release: What You Need to Know

By Amanda Bala

In our first article, The Fine Art of Press Release Writing, we explored the proper way to write a press release.  Now that you know how to write a press release, the next important step is to effectively distribute it.  Where do you send it?  Who do you send it to?  And how do you send it?

Who to contact:  In the good old days there were the big 3 of media: newspapers, television stations and radio stations. Nowadays the options seem endless. Although the big 3 are still whom you will most likely send your release to, don’t forget online sources such as blogs, online publications, and for events, online event calendars.  As for the specific folks to send your release to… With print publications (newspapers, magazines) you will most likely want to reach the editor. For radio and television, you will send it to the assignment desk. It is also okay to contact reporters and producers directly.

How to present the press release:  There are a couple of different ways to present a press release.  You can email the press release directly to the media source.  If you choose this option, be sure to have a very strong subject line. Your first goal is to get them to open the email, and without an enticing subject, it could go unopened.  Next, be sure to use the proper formalities in your email, but get right to the point.  The editors and reporters are not going to devote much time to reading the email and you want them to get to the main information of the press release itself.  This being said, be sure to paste the actual press release in the body of the email.  Do not send it as an attachment. You must make it as easy and as fast as possible for the media recipient to get to the story. They are very busy and don’t have time. By sending an attachment, it creates another step they need to go through to read it and that takes time. 

The second way to present a press release is to call the media outlet directly.  When doing this, be enthusiastic yet professional, and have a strong thought out pitch.  A great way to start off is by asking for 30 seconds of their time to pitch them a great story.  Give them the pertinent information quickly and make it interesting!  Do not go into any mundane details.  Again, they do not have the time for that. 

Follow Up:  One thing you need to understand about pitching press releases is that you might not receive a call or email back.  This does not necessarily mean that your press release is not being published.  Sometimes the editor, reporter, etc. simply does not have the time to contact you, but still plans on publishing your release.  It is okay to follow up with one phone call or email.  However, that is it.  The last thing you want is to pester them will multiple phone calls or emails.  This is a quick way to lose contacts and get yourself blacklisted for future press releases. 

Now that you know how to write a press release and the proper way to distribute them, you are on your way.  Take your time, have fun and get ready to get some free publicity!

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