How to Send a Press Release in 4 Steps (+ Distribution Tips)
Press release success is about more than simply writing a press release. Effectively building a media contact list, writing your pitch, planning your submissions, sending your release out, and tracking key metrics make the difference between success and wasted effort. Here’s how to send a press release in four steps—plus tips on how to get more coverage and wider distribution.
1. Write Your Press Release
To write your press release, start by identifying a newsworthy angle for your story. It should be compelling to your intended target audience and the audiences of the journalists you hope to gain coverage from. Then write your announcement using the AP style press release format, which is the one used by media professionals.
To help you save time and effort, read our article detailing how to write a press release, where you can also download our free press release template. It’s preformatted with all the sections needed for standard press release formatting, including a header, headlines, body, and boilerplate.
2. Build a Media Contact List
Compile a contact list of media and press professionals who might be interested in your announcement. Look for journalists who regularly cover stories like yours, publications that write for your niche or industry, and whose audiences align with your target audience. An easy way to compile this list is to create a spreadsheet with the following columns:
- Media outlet name
- Name of journalist or press contact
- Contact information (email address or URL of web form for submitting a story)
- Information about their audience
- Submission guidelines
To find the names of media contacts, visit the agency’s website to find out who to contact for a press release submission. If that doesn’t work, try LinkedIn or call the agency to get the contact information of the reporter you should send your release to.
Many organizations have a specific email address for news releases as well. Here are some sources to use when building a media contact list:
- Traditional news outlets: A traditional news agency is a newspaper, magazine, television channel, radio station, and associated websites. Many list the names of the editorial staff, including email addresses, or offer web forms for online submissions.
- Trade publications: Many industries have digital and print trade publication magazines that regularly cover industry-related news. You can search for a list of relevant trade publications on Google and then research their submission guidelines and writers.
- Journalists: Many journalists have their own websites, publish to sites like Medium, or monetize their articles on platforms like Substack. You can search on these platforms to find journalists who cover stories in your industry or write for audiences similar to yours.
- Non-traditional news sources: These can include Facebook groups, bloggers, business networking organizations, social media influencers, and other digital groups. While these may not be official news outlets, they are often effective at getting the word out about business news.
You can also use an email address lookup tool to locate the email addresses of journalists and press contacts you think are most likely to be interested in your story. Hunter is the best free email finder to locate specific journalists’ addresses, while Prowly has a media contact database with over a million records. For more options, check out our list of the best email finder tools.
Alternatively, if you don’t have the time to build a media list, you can use a service like EIN Presswire. They will distribute your release to thousands of media outlets for $99, including sending it to subscribing journalists by email.
3. Write Your Pitch
The next step in how to send a press release is to write the pitch you’ll use when submitting your story to journalists by email. Your pitch should explain who you are, what business you’re associated with, that you’re submitting a press release, and that you’d like the journalist to consider writing about it.
When writing your email template, don’t assume the reporter knows why their audience wants to learn about your announcement. Ensure your pitch includes your story’s angle—the reason they should cover the story. The angle should clarify how your news impacts their audience and why it matters to the audience you want to reach.
For help getting started, use this press release email template:
Dear [Journalist’s Name],
My name is [your name], and I am sending this email on behalf of [company]. I am writing to share a press release with you regarding [topic of press release] to be released on [release date]. You can read the release below.
This news is important to your audience because [offer a compelling statistic or reason why this would directly affect the journalist’s audience].
Would you share this news with your audience so they can [include an action like attending the event you’re hosting or buying your book, or how they can benefit from learning about your story]?
Please don’t hesitate to contact me directly if you have further questions about this story.
Thank you for your consideration.
[Your Full Name] and [Professional Title]
[Your Phone Number]
[Your Email Address]
[Your Press Release]
4. Send Your Press Release
After you write a press release, build a contact list, and prepare your pitch, it’s time to submit your press release directly to your media list. Do this by sending an email to journalists with your pitch and press release.
Make it easy for them to cover your news by including links to any images, videos, and graphics they could use to cover your story. Also, include a link to your press kit so they can get any background information needed to write a story about your announcement.
Here are some general tips for how far in advance to send a press release based on media outlets and for different types of press releases:
- Traditional media outlets: Send your press release about a week in advance, if possible.
- Trade publications: Send your story three to six months ahead (if possible); editorial calendars for magazine-style publications are planned long in advance.
- Journalists, bloggers, and social influencers: Send a media advisory two to three weeks before an event to invite them to attend. Then send the press release a week in advance and follow up with a post-event press announcement.
- Awards: Send as soon as the award is announced publicly.
- Book launch announcements: Publish book press releases one to two months before the launch date, and send a media advisory before any book release launch events. Then, follow up afterward with a post-launch press release.
- Crisis release or trending topics: Send immediately—learn how to write a crisis communication press release.
- Events: Depending on the nature of the occasion and how much time guests and media would need to prepare, you might want to publish an event press release months, weeks, or days in advance.
- New business opening or a new product or service launch: Send two to three weeks in advance.
- New hire press release: Send one to four weeks before the new hire’s start date or just after a prominent new hire has been made.
- Partnerships, acquisitions, and mergers: Send a week in advance to the media with a “HOLD FOR EMBARGO” release date timed to when you want your news to go public.
For more information about what to include and how to submit a press release for various types of announcements, read our article detailing different types of press releases.
Pro tip: Statistically, the best time to submit a press release email is between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on weekdays. Editors open one-third of all their emails at this time. The best day of the week to send your release is Thursday, which has the highest open rates. (Source: Prowly)
Sending your release to journalists manually is time-consuming and doesn’t guarantee the publication of your story. The best way to ensure your press release gets published online is to send it using a press release distribution platform like EIN Presswire.
Mass media distribution platforms instantly send your press release to thousands of reporters, journalists, blogs, and influencers in addition to syndicating publications on news outlets. Some even enable you to email your story directly to editors and reporters who may be interested in covering your news.
To send your press release for mass media placements, select a provider and plan, a release date, and a target audience (an industry, location, or demographic, for example). Then, upload your release and multimedia, select any additional services you want (e.g., direct-to-journalist emails) and complete the checkout process.
Here are our three top picks if you want a mass distribution of your story:
Most affordable plans for mass placement and industry targeting
Widest reach for U.S. media and journalists
Multi-layer location and industry targeting
For more guidance on how to send a press release that earns additional coverage, follow our top press release distribution tips. It provides more details on how to craft a pitch and how (and when) to follow up with journalists after sending a pitch.
Next Steps: Track Performance With Analytics & Reports
After sending your press release, monitor its performance to gauge its success. If you emailed your story directly to journalists, you may have received responses or be able to see how many recipients opened your email, visited a page on your website, or clicked a link in your story.
If you submitted a press release on a platform like EIN Presswire, you’re likely to have access to performance reports of the coverage it received. If not, performance can be a bit trickier to assess. However, if you included trackable links in your press release, you can track metrics like:
- Backlinks earned
- Which websites linked back to yours
- Website traffic produced
Pro tip: Want to know if a press release produced backlinks to your website? Easily find your earned backlinks by using the free backlink checker provided by Semrush.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What common press release distribution mistakes do businesses make?
Common press release distribution mistakes to avoid are failing to target distribution correctly, spamming journalists, and not including a press kit and other information journalists need to cover your story. Check out our complete list of common press release mistakes, and read up on what makes a good press release for ways to make yours stand out.
How do I send a free press release?
To send a free press release, start by building your own media distribution list or use a free distribution platform like PRLog. Although the options, quality, and distribution aren’t as robust as a paid service, a free service can still be a good option. If your budget is super-tight, consider using one of the best free press release distribution services.
Are professional distribution services worth it?
Paying for professional distribution services to syndicate your story can be worth it, especially if you’re looking for maximum placements. If you’re simply installing a new awning on your storefront, it’s probably not necessary. But if you’re opening four new offices in your region, it may be worth the cost as new foot traffic alone may offset distribution costs. Get the full breakdown of the best press release distribution services for small businesses.
With some time and know-how, you can learn how to send a press release that earns media coverage. It’s not complicated, but it can be time-consuming, especially when building a media contact list. Likewise, crafting a pitch email to send to journalists can be intimidating. To save time and make the process easier, investing in paid media targeting through a distribution service could be well worth the price.
For an affordable option, send your press release through EIN Presswire. They top our list of the best press release services for a same-day turnaround, a high word count limit, and media targeting. Get your announcement onto thousands of news sites and emailed to their media subscribers starting under $100.