This article is part of a larger series on Press Release.
The number one way to increase the chance your press releases will get covered by the media is to ensure it is well-written and has a compelling story. However, there are additional simple press release distribution tips you can follow to help you target your desired audience and follow up after sending your press release, which can increase the likelihood of press coverage.
These tips are simple, but do take time to do well. Alternatively, another option to ensure your press release will get seen by thousands of outlets is to use a press release distribution service that uses targeting, such as Newswire. This guarantees that your press release will not only get in front of journalists, but the right journalists.
Here are 15 press release distribution tips to help your news get maximum exposure:
1. Send Your Press Release to Influencers & Bloggers
If you know of high profile influencers or bloggers who would likely get excited by the newsworthy announcement contained in your press release, it’s worth sending your press release to them. Like journalists, they are always looking for topics to share and discuss with their audiences; share your press release with them and they may share your news with their followers.
When you contact influencers and bloggers directly, don’t simply send a copy of your formal press release. Instead, send a short message briefly summarizing your news and invite them to reach out for more information, or ask if you can send them a copy of your release.
Another way to reach influencers and bloggers is to use distribution services that distribute press releases to bloggers and influencers via targeting, such as PRWeb. This is often more effective, since bloggers have chosen to be on these lists because they want to receive press releases with announcements like yours.
2. Include Images, Graphics, or Video
Press releases images are seven times more likely to be covered by the media than those without, and a video boosts your story’s chances of coverage by 1,400%. The reason behind these statistics is that multimedia elements give journalists a more well-rounded and engaging story to tell. So, to increase your odds of press coverage, make journalists’ jobs easier by including images, graphics, or video.
Keep in mind that when emailing a press release to individual journalists, you will usually attach a press release and its accompanying multimedia. However, large attachments can be frustrating to recipients or blocked by email servers.
Don’t make the media jump through extra hoops to see your press release and its multimedia. Instead, use a press release distribution service where you can include an image for free, such as Send2Press, to ensure that journalists will be able to easily view your media as well as your press release.
3. Target Outlets That Reach Your Audience
Look for a distribution service that offers access to outlets that reach your intended audience. For example, if your audience matches the demographics of Twitter users, look for outlets that offer press release publication to industry- or location-specific Twitter handles. If your audience is local, use press release distribution services that target distribution by location to local radio and television stations and print media like local newspapers and magazines.
4. Use a Service to Write Your Press Release
Having a well-crafted press release that shares a compelling announcement is foundational to landing press. Not only does your press release need to be interesting, it also needs to follow the industry standard formatting and structure.
For this reason, you might prefer to leave it to the experts and use a press release writing service to write and format a press release on your behalf. There are a number of service providers, but the most affordable is Send2Press, with pricing as low as $89 per release.
For more information, check out the best press release writing services.
5. Send Your Release to Journalists, Not Newsrooms
Sending your press release to a generic email address or using a web form may mean an interested journalist never even sees it. Instead of sending your press release to generic emails like email@example.com, send it directly to the journalists who, in all probability, will be interested in covering your story.
Therefore, identify those journalists who are most likely to cover your story and publish it to reach your intended audience. Then, send your press release directly to those journalists with a pitch that explains why it is valuable to the audience.
For example, let’s say you are launching a new marketing firm in your city. You might look for journalists who cover stories about businesses in local newspapers or trade magazines. Email your press release to those individuals directly instead of emailing them to a generic email address or submitting them using a web form.
6. Maintain Your Media Contact List
Before emailing your press release to a list of media contacts, it’s worth checking the health of your list using an email verification tool like NeverBounce or Breadcrumbs. These tools determine if your list contains out-of-date or inaccurate information, such as email addresses that no longer exist.
From there, update the information on your list. You can also fill in any gaps by using the internet to find incomplete contact information, such as finding a contact’s email via LinkedIn or using an email finder like Hunter.
Here are some ways to use digital tools to find a journalist’s email address:
- LinkedIn: Many people publish their email address on their LinkedIn profile; navigate to the contact’s LinkedIn profile and check the user’s contact information. If it’s not there, you can also send a direct message via LinkedIn. However, do this sparingly as it can make you appear unprofessional and run the risk of being reported for spam.
- Email finders: A number of free email finder tools scrape email addresses from the internet. While an entire list should not be built this way, it can be helpful in instances where one of your existing contact’s email is no longer active. Learn more about the best email finder tools.
7. Pick Up the Phone & Ask for Missing Contact Information
If all else fails, locate the contact page on the website of the publication where your preferred contact works. Call the number listed and ask for the journalist’s contact information―the worst that can happen is the person says no. In that case, consider sending a direct message via social media asking the journalist for their email address to send your press release.
8. Choose a Distribution Service With Targeting Options
Mass distribution of a press release without targeting often results in little engagement and may even result in your press release going straight to journalists’ spam folders. Look for distribution services that offer industry-specific, subscribing-journalist email lists and the ability to target publishing by industry and location at a minimum. Other great targeting features include demographic targeting and targeting by reader interest.
Here are press release services with targeted distribution:
- Newswire: Best for targeting by location
- eReleases: Best for targeting by industry
- Send2Press: Cheapest for targeting by state
For help choosing the right one for your business, get the full breakdown of the best press release distribution services.
9. Make Your Pitch Valuable to Journalists’ Audiences
Journalists publish stories they know their audiences will engage with and value. Your job is to make sure to communicate the value your story has for the journalist’s audience. To do this, it’s important for you to research and understand a publication’s audience before submitting your release.
Many publications describe the characteristics of their audiences on their website. On the other hand, if you can’t find this kind of information on a publication’s website, you can call or email the publication’s advertising department. Ask for information about their audience, such as demographics, industries, education, interests, or expectations.
In your pitch, explain why your news is valuable and interesting based on the information you know about the journalist’s audience. Close the email with your contact information, an invitation to connect to answer questions, and thank them for their time.
Finally, before pressing send, attach your release or paste it directly under your pitch, as well as any multimedia that accompanies it. Check out our step-by-step instructions on how to write a press release that is effective, newsworthy, and compelling.
10. Send Your Release at the Right Time
Maximizing the effectiveness of your press release includes nailing the timing for sending it. Not only should you determine whether it will be for immediate release vs embargoed for a future date, you also want to identify which day of the week and which time of day your release should be distributed for the greatest impact.
A study by Prowly, a public relations customer relationship management (CRM) provider, analyzed more than 55,000 press releases to find press release distribution tips for the best days and times to send one. Here’s what their study revealed:
- Thursdays have the highest average open rate of 26%
- Wednesdays and Fridays are the worst days to send your release, with 85% of press release emails not opened
- Editors open 33% of emails between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Most importantly, send your press release sufficiently in advance so journalists can craft their stories and follow up with you for additional questions as needed. For a radio or television station, send it seven days prior to when you want your story covered. For newspapers, pitch three weeks beforehand, and for magazines, send your release three to six months before your release date if you can. Magazines, in particular, plan editorial calendars far in advance.
11. Promote Key Placements on Social Media
After issuing your release, follow up with a social media release. A social media press release includes one (or more) photos or a video, a 90-character or less description (depending on the social media channel) to grab attention, and a link to the full release.
To capture the attention of readers scrolling a social media feed, begin your press release with “BREAKING:” or “Just announced:” and then summarize your news. Add the hashtag #pressrelease to make your release easily discoverable by journalists.
For even more attention and credibility, include a link to a key placement where your release was published. For example, if you are a financial firm and your news was picked up by Bloomberg, link to your release on that publication’s website, and tag the publication and the reporter who covered it in your social media press announcement.
Pro tip: For added traction, consider creating different versions of your social media press release by mixing and matching associated videos, images, links, and descriptions, and then publishing them at optimal times. Using a tool like Buffer can help you determine the best time to publish your social media release depending on when your audience is most engaged.
12. Gain Traction With Paid Social Ads
Once you’ve published your release, you can reach more of your target audience by promoting it on social media. For example, Twitter’s Promoted Tweets can be targeted to reach specific news networks and their audiences. Simply use your Twitter account login information to log into Twitter Ads and use the prompts to target your desired audience. For a step-by-step guide on using Facebook ads, read our ultimate guide to Facebook advertising.
13. Take Full Advantage of Press Release Analytics
Tracking press release performance after distribution allows you to gather valuable insights. You can find out whether it reached the right audience, what types of media were most engaging, audience demographics, and whether your release got additional exposure through search engines.
These insights can then be applied to future tactics. For instance, you can use them to identify the best channels and ways to retarget your audience, how to nurture leads into buyers, which types of products and services interest your readers, and press release distribution tips that can boost the performance of future press releases.
To do this, look for a press release distribution service that tells you more than just where your press release was published. Ideally, they can also provide in-depth data such as how audiences engaged (click-through rates, multimedia views and plays, pageviews, or reads), the types of people reached (ages, locations, incomes, marital statuses, and interests), and performance metrics like search engine rankings.
14. Follow Up With Journalists After Sending Your Release
Once you’ve submitted your press release, give the journalist some time to read it and decide what information they may still need. Then, as a rule, follow up within three days. For press releases that need to be published immediately or within days, it’s OK to follow up even sooner. The vast majority of journalists (77%) prefer email for follow up.
Remember—your job is to make the journalist’s job easier every step of the way. So, when you follow up, position your follow-up email as a courtesy. Remind them of who you are, that you sent a release a few days prior, and that you are reaching out to see if they still have questions about the story.
Pro tip: To make it easier and more effective, there are helpful tools to remove the guesswork. Prowly’s PR Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software allows you to store information about your contacts and send personalized emails based on that information. From there, you can see whether journalists have read your initial pitch and position your follow-up emails accordingly.
15. Send Thank-you Notes
When a journalist covers your news, send a courtesy email telling them you appreciate the coverage. Or stand out by mailing a handwritten thank-you note to them at their publication’s address. This address can usually be found on the publication’s website.
In your note, tell them you would like to be of equal assistance to them and so are available if they need quotes in the future for their pieces. Additionally, share a link to their story on social media to help it reach more people.
Bonus: Develop Win-Win Relationships With Responding Journalists
Just as you have goals for your business, journalists have deadlines and career goals they strive to meet on a daily basis. They can help you meet your goals by covering your stories, and chances are you have a lot to offer them as well. For example, you can offer them sources for future stories, quotes, and help boost their online engagement. In doing so, you build a win-win relationship that could lead to additional assistance from them in reaching your goals.
Here are some simple ways to build win-win relationships with journalists:
- Engage on social media: Follow journalists on social media who cover your stories (or stories like yours) and boost their engagement by commenting, sharing, and liking their posts. Don’t comment on everything they share; instead, comment when you can add something meaningful to a conversation to help precipitate more engagement.
- Offer them valuable sources: As you follow journalists’ careers and stories, pay attention to any series they may be writing or topics they cover over a period of time, and reach out if you have a source you think will be valuable to them. With the source’s permission, offer to introduce the two.
Ultimately, the best press release distribution tips boil down to tactics that make the jobs of journalists easier. This improves the odds that your press release will get coverage and gain more traction when published. Choosing the right distribution service, carefully targeting your release, tracking results, and continuing to promote after distribution increases the chance that your press release will be covered by members of the media.
For maximum exposure, use a press release distribution service. The best distribution services get your press release in front of the journalists who are interested in covering topics like yours. For instance, Newswire offers multilayer targeting to ensure your press releases reach the right people in the right places.
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- Make sure you’re not making one of these all-too-common press release mistakes before sending your press release.
- To appear more credible, use a professional email address (i.e., firstname.lastname@example.org). If you don’t have one, learn how to get a free business email address.
- Ready to go? Take the next step and learn how to send a press release.