13 Tips for How to Distribute a Press Release Effectively
The number one way to earn media coverage of a press release is by having an audience-relevant story with a compelling angle. However, there are additional tips for how to distribute a press release effectively, such as optimizing it before distribution, sending it to the right people, and boosting your story’s exposure after it’s released. Keep reading for more than a dozen essential press release distribution tips.
To save time, use a press release distribution service like Newswire, whose multi-tier editorial process ensures the quality of your announcement. You’ll get guaranteed placements in thousands of outlets and targeted email distribution to journalists interested in stories like yours.
Here are 13 tips on how to distribute a press release to get maximum exposure:
Optimize Your Press Release for Distribution
Setting your story up for success before sending your press release out is key if you want to capture the media’s attention and that of your intended audience. These press release distribution tips make it easier for journalists to provide their own coverage, enrich your announcement for increased engagement, and pique their interest with compelling details.
1. Follow Correct Press Release Formatting
For your press release to be taken seriously by journalists, you need to follow proper press release formatting. Press releases follow a strict industry format—failure to stick to it can cost your chance of landing press coverage. The correct press release format includes a header and headline, a dateline and lead paragraph, supporting paragraphs, and a boilerplate.
To ensure you have all the right components, you can also opt to use an all-in-one press release writing and distribution service like eReleases. Experienced public relations (PR) professionals will write your announcement following the standard format journalists expect and then distribute your announcement to the largest U.S. database of media outlets and journalists.
2. Include Images, Graphics, or Video
Multi-media content (e.g., images, graphics, videos, and so on) makes your story more likely to engage your audience and earn media coverage. In fact, press releases with images are seven times more likely to be covered by the media than those without. Adding media elements can help you tell a more well-rounded and engaging story, which in turn, increases your odds of getting picked up by media outlets.
Be careful to include only images or videos supporting your stories, such as your company’s logo or photos of your product or space, and stay within copyright laws. When it’s time to send your press release, opt for a service like EIN Presswire. EIN Presswire tops our list of the best press release distribution services, partly because you can embed an image or video in your press release for free.
3. Craft an Interesting Press Release Email Pitch
Before sending out your press release to journalists by email, you’ll first need to craft a pitch. This will essentially be the body of the email you’ll send out to journalists with your press release attached. A good pitch is essential, as it acts as your first point of contact with journalists, and will determine whether or not they open and read your press release.
To craft a compelling pitch, research the publication’s audience and characteristics, such as demographics, interests, and concerns. Then, after your intro, concisely explain your story and why it’s valuable and interesting to that audience. This is important, as journalists decide a story’s newsworthiness based on the value it gives their audience.
Close the email with your contact information, an invitation to connect, and thank them for their time. Our guide on how to send a press release further details the process step-by-step.
4. Send It at the Right Time
One of the most effective press release distribution tips is nailing the timing of your press release sendout. Not only should you indicate your release date in your header, but it’s also helpful to determine which day and time to distribute your release to make the greatest impact. A 2022 study by Prowly covering over 55,000 press releases determined some of the most optimal times for sending a press release. Here’s what they found:
- Thursdays have the highest email open rate of 26%
- Wednesdays and Fridays are the worst days for sending a press release, as 85% get lost in inboxes
- The best time to send a press release to editors is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
When you send your press release, make sure to give journalists enough time to write their stories on it and to reach out to you as needed. For radio and television stations, send your press release a week prior to when you want your story covered. For newspapers, pitch three weeks in advance, and for magazines, send three to six months ahead if you can.
For more guidance on what to do to set your press release up for success, read our list of press release best practices.
Distribute Your Press Release to the Right People
A crucial element of how to distribute a press release effectively is getting it to the right people. This can be done in several ways, whether you opt to distribute your media announcement manually or choose a press release distribution platform to send it out for you. Read the five press release distribution tips below, keeping in mind that it’s best to use all of these tactics in conjunction to get maximum exposure for your story.
5. Choose the Right Press Release Distribution Service for Your Business
Ultimately, what’s most important in terms of where to distribute press releases is that you choose a service that reaches your desired audience, which you can define by their industry, location, or interests, among others. Distribution platforms like EIN Presswire, eReleases, and Newswire provide mass and targeted distribution for press releases.
Which platform is best for you comes down to factors like your budget, target audience, whether you need additional services like press release editing or writing, and what type of press release you’re sending. Here are some to consider:
- Newswire: Best for those needing multilayer targeting by location, industry, and more
- eReleases: Best for businesses prioritizing mass distribution to several media outlets
- PR Distribution: Best for businesses targeting international media professionals
- Linking News: Best for those prioritizing brand awareness via white-labeled releases
- Fiverr: Best for businesses on a budget needing press release writing and distribution packages
Still unsure which to choose? Read our guide to the best press release distribution services for small businesses.
6. Build Win-Win Relationships With Journalists
Part of how to distribute a press release effectively starts with building media connections. Just like you, journalists have goals they need to meet regularly. They can help you meet your goals by covering your news, and chances are you have a lot to offer them as well, such as sources for stories, quotes, and others.
Here are some simple ways to build win-win relationships with journalists:
- Engage on social media: Follow journalists on social media who cover stories like yours and boost their engagement by occasionally commenting, sharing, and liking their posts, especially if you have meaningful insights to share.
- Offer them valuable sources: As you follow journalists’ stories, pay attention to any subjects you might be able to provide valuable sources on. With the source’s permission, offer to connect the two.
- Personalize your pitch: While the general body of your pitch may be the same email to email, personalize your email’s greeting and tailor the angle to the audience of each journalist.
- Express appreciation: Send a thank-you email or note anytime a member of the press provides additional coverage of your announcement. Going forward, send an advance media release giving them first dibs on covering future stories.
Our article detailing how to get a story on the news offers several more tips for national and local press release distribution, including building a contact list and engaging with journalists.
7. Keep Your Media Contact List Updated
Before emailing your press release to a list of media contacts, it’s worth checking the health of your list using email finding and verification tools like SendThat. It will determine if your list contains out-of-date or inaccurate information, such as email addresses that no longer exist, and give you the ability to find email addresses.
Here are some other digital tools use can use to locate journalists’ email addresses:
- Email finders: There are cheap and free email finder tools like Hunter.io that locate email addresses from business databases and the internet. While an entire list should not be built this way, it can be helpful in instances where an existing contact’s email is no longer active.
- LinkedIn: Navigate to the contact’s LinkedIn profile, check the user’s contact information, and send them a message if you need to. However, do this sparingly as it can make you appear unprofessional and risk being reported for spam.
- Prowly: Prowly is PR and media relations software. Paid plans include access to a contact information database with over a million media professionals worldwide. You can source contacts from the database and add them to your list, and then send your press release to them through the platform.
Another option is to contact publications by phone and ask for the journalist’s contact information. If they have a social media page, go ahead and drop them a message. Any point of contact is always worth trying—just be sure to communicate professionally and politely.
8. Email Your Release to Journalists, Not Newsrooms
Distributing press releases to a generic email address like email@example.com (or through online web forms) doesn’t guarantee journalists will see and read your announcement. Instead, it’s best to send your press release directly to the journalists who will most likely be interested in your story.
Research journalists who regularly write stories in your subject area and publish them to your target audience, then send your press release directly to their email addresses. For example, if you were launching a new restaurant in your area, you might directly connect with reporters and bloggers who cover food topics instead of sending it to a generic publication email address or web form.
Learn what other press release mistakes to avoid when distributing a press release.
9. Send Your Press Release to Influencers & Bloggers
In addition to sending your story to journalists and media outlets through a distribution service, reach out to influencers and bloggers who create content in your subject area. In some cases, they have a direct connection with large numbers of members of your target audience and can easily share your news with them.
When contacting influencers and bloggers directly, send a short message summarizing your news. Invite them to reach out for more information and ask if you can send them a copy of your release. If your press release isn’t yet live, note that the story hasn’t gone live yet to entice them to offer a “breaking story” to their followers.
Another way is using distribution services targeting bloggers and influencers, such as PRWeb. This is often more effective since bloggers have chosen to be on these lists because they want to receive press releases like yours.
Boost Press Release Exposure After Distribution
Distributing your release isn’t the end of the process, especially if you want to garner maximum exposure for your story and brand. The press release distribution tips below include ways to further extend the reach of your news, including more ways to reach your target audience. Here are some ways to ensure your press release’s long-term, post-distribution success.
10. Follow Up With Journalists After Distributing a Press Release
Once you’ve submitted your press release, give the journalist time to read it through. Then, as a rule, send a follow-up email within three days. For press releases that need to be published immediately or within days, it’s OK to follow up even sooner.
Your goal is to make the journalist’s job easier every step of the way, so when you’re following up, be respectful and position your email as a courtesy. Remind them of who you are, your press release, the most important points of your story, and that you are reaching out to see if they have any additional questions.
Pro tip: Helpful tools like Prowly’s PR software store your media contact list, making it easy to send personalized pitches and follow up afterward. In addition, Media Monitoring tools track press hits to generate reports showing who covered your story and how many views it got.
11. Share Your Press Release on Social Media
After your press release is published, share it on social media to reach more members of your audience and boost your brand’s credibility with followers. Depending on the social media marketing channel, add relevant photos or a video, a short, attention-grabbing caption, relevant hashtags, and a link to the published release. Also, tag the publication and the journalist who covered it in your post for added reach.
Consider creating different versions of your social media press release to add traction and help determine the best social media strategy for your business. Different content combinations work for different platforms—mix and match your photos, images, links, and descriptions, and publish them at optimal times.
Pro tip: Tools like Buffer can help you determine the best time to publish your social media release based on when your audience is most engaged.
12. Gain Traction With Paid Social Media
Once your press release is published, consider boosting posts or creating ads that target your ideal audience on paid social media advertising platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn. Advanced targeting tools ensure your news gets more reach among the ideal customer types you want to engage.
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 guide to Facebook advertising.
13. Track Your Press Release’s Analytics
In addition to knowing how to distribute a press release effectively, it’s essential to keep track of its performance. Press release analytics provide valuable insights that can help fine-tune future PR efforts. Metrics to track include the number of media outlets your story was published in, the audience demographics of those outlets, the type of media that garnered the most engagement, and the most effective keywords, among others.
To do this, look for a distribution service like Newswire that gives you comprehensive performance analytics. It provides in-depth data on audience engagement (click-through rates, multimedia views, plays, page views, or reads), media coverage garnered, audience demographics such as location, and performance metrics like search engine rankings.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How do I distribute a press release for free?
The most basic way to distribute a press release for free is to build a list of media contacts and send it to them directly, as well as publish your press release on your own website, social media channels, and via email. However, there are also free press release distribution services available. PRLog is the best free service for small business press releases, while NewswireToday.com offers free press release distribution for nonprofits.
What is the best way to send a press release?
The best way to send a press release is to adopt a multifaceted approach. This includes sending a pitch email directly to your chosen journalists, as well as mass and targeted distribution through a press release service like EIN Presswire. It should also have post-distribution support like social media marketing and inclusion in your email newsletters. Finally, you should publish a copy of your press release to your website on a dedicated press page or as a blog post.
How do you structure a press release?
Press releases should follow the format journalists expect, such as an AP-style press release. The structure of a press release includes a header with contact information and a release date followed by a headline and subheadline. Below that will be the lead paragraph and supporting paragraphs, followed by a press release boilerplate, a media contact, and supplemental materials, like links to multimedia files.
Learning how to distribute a press release effectively entails making it easier (and more likely) for journalists to cover your news. In turn, this improves your chances of landing coverage and increases exposure for your story and brand, giving you more return on investment for your public relations efforts.
The best way to distribute press releases for maximum exposure is with a press release distribution service like eReleases. They boast the largest database of U.S. media and journalists, offer advanced targeting, two-tier editorial reviews, and have the ability to add PR expert press release writing to your plan.