How to Send a Press Release to a Journalist
The best known tactic to get media coverage for your business’ latest achievement or event is to write a press release. A good press release requires research, an attention catching headline and clear, concise writing, but that’s not all. It doesn’t matter how well written a press release is if it ends up in the wrong hands.
It is just as important to know how to send a press release as it is to know how to write a press release a journalist will read. There are a few steps you can take to ensure your press release gets in front of the right people.
Select Appropriate Media Outlets
The first step is to identify the right media outlets to send your press release to. For example, if you are a small business in the Tampa Bay area, it is not the best idea to reach for big international publications. Instead, it makes the most sense to send your press release to the following local media outlets:
- Tampa Bay Business Journal
- The Tampa Bay Times
- Bay News 9
- NBC 8
- Fox 13
- ABC Action News
- CBS 10 News
- St. Pete Catalyst
- I Love the Burg
- That’s So Tampa
- Creative Loafing
- Green Bench Monthly
- Florida Trend
From there, you will need to take it a step further and identify which media groups from this list would be the most interested in the type of story your press release tells. If your press release is serious and centered around numbers and statistics, then it is probably best to send it to the Tampa Bay Business Journal, the Tampa Bay Times and St. Pete Catalyst. On the other hand, if you are promoting an event or grand opening, I Love the Burg, Green Bench Monthly, That’s So Tampa, Creative Loafing and the Tampa Bay Times are your best bet. If your press release has big impact that centers around the community, there is potential that a televised media outlet like Bay News 9 will pick it up.
Once you’ve narrowed down your list of media groups, you must also identify which section of each media outlet you want to target. The Tampa Bay Times is broken down into many sections. There is News, Politics, Sports, and Things To Do, and within those sections are subsections. If your press release is about a company event, you don’t want to send it to the editor in charge of food reviews or sports coverage. Instead, you should send it to the editor responsible for local events and happenings.
Key players that most people don’t think to send a press release to are bloggers and industry experts. Bloggers with large followings have a big influence on their followers’ actions. This has become especially true with the help of social media. But before sending your press release to a blogger, make sure that they cover content similar to your press release. It is even better if the blogger is considered an industry expert. This will give your press release the credibility it needs to move a large audience.
When you pitch your press release to a journalist, make sure that it is personable and customized to the writer. Journalists are always looking for the next best story, so the best pitch is always simple and to the point. Include an angle that makes your story stand out from all the other unopened pitches in their inbox.
Build a List of Media Contacts
You can find the appropriate journalists for your press release by visiting the websites of the media outlets you’ve selected. Look at stories similar to your own and keep a record of journalists who write those stories. Once you’ve compiled a list, the best way to manage your contacts is by creating an Excel spreadsheet. At Kapok, we have an Excel sheet with a list of organizations and journalists who are the best fit for the press releases we write. Instead of searching for contact information each time we have an announcement, we can reference the list in Excel, which makes the process much faster.
According to media experts from Bay News 9, you need to know a journalist’s beat to get killer media coverage. A journalist’s “beat” is the topic they cover. Making sure that your press release is sent to the right person is just as important, if not more important, as writing a conveying story.
Use a Distribution Service
In addition to sending your press release to local outlets, you can also work with a distribution service. Most free distribution services offer limited exposure, but for a small fee, most can get your press release to the right media outlets. One distribution site we have experience with is eReleases. The process is very easy. Simply creating an account on their website and select the distribution option that is best for you. From there, upload your press release and media files, fill out your contact information and specify your target audience.
This distribution service reaches outlets using PR Newswire, the industry’s best press release distribution network. Depending on the distribution option, you can select up to three different industry targets of your choosing. Using eReleases guarantees that your news is distributed to a minimum of 75 media sites. Prices range from $299 – $499 per release.
The added bonus of using a distribution service is that you don’t need to send multiple personalized pitches one by one. It also puts your press release in front of people you wouldn’t have thought to contact. The downside is that you aren’t able to create lasting relationships with the journalists that pick up your stories. Developing long-term relationships with the people who work at your local media groups is the best way to ensure future coverage.
When was the last time your company sent out a press release? Did you use any of the tips we mentioned above? Leave a comment if you have any other valuable advice.