How to send a press release in 6 simple steps
Ah, the press release.
While the merits of sending out press releases is hotly-debated in today’s PR landscape, there’s still no denying that an effective press release can garner media coverage for your client or company.
After spending countless hours digging up info from a colleague or client, tracking down quotes from expert sources and proofreading your press release, it’s finally time to take the next step: distributing it to the media.
Before sending that email (or worse -- picking up the phone for a cold call!), pause and think about the best recipient for your story idea and how to reach them.
We’ve rounded up some tips and tricks to teach you how to send a press release to help you reach the right audiences and deliver your client or company’s message.
1. Write the press release
Crafting a great press release is the first, and arguably one of the most important, steps in effectively getting your story in front of the right journalists.
While most press releases follow the same basic formatting rules, here are a few ways to make sure yours stands out.
Come up with a creative, attention-grabbing headline and sub-headline. Make sure the headline you choose both engages readers and accurately explains the context of the press release.
Get right to the point in the intro using an inverted pyramid writing style. Make sure the first paragraph of your press release addresses all the important points to follow.
Include one or two key quotes when possible. Incorporating quotes from expert sources is a great way to get key elements across in your press release while humanizing the content.
Keep your press release relatively short. Journalists typically don’t have a lot of time to closely read lengthy releases. Stick to just the most important information.
Include contact information so interested reporters can follow up with you for further details, if needed.
2. Do your research
Like a good student, a good PR pro always does their homework.
Become familiar with journalists in your industry by consuming as much news as you can. Find out what they cover and familiarize yourself with their writing style to ensure they’ll be a good fit for your story.
Not sure where to begin? Tools like Muck Rack make sorting and finding the right journalist to target simple.
Muck Rack’s search feature allows you to efficiently search by media outlet, journalist name, keyword and location to find the best reporters for your story in a fraction of the time. Easily add reporters to a media list to save your work, organize key contacts and ensure your data is fresh.
You now have a highly-relevant list of journalists to browse and articles to peruse to get closer to your target reporter.
3. Make a personal connection
The days of sending out blanket press releases are long gone.
Journalists know when your press release and accompanying email isn’t targeted to them and you’ll quickly ruin your relationship before it begins.
With the help of Muck Rack, you’ve already found a selection of journalists that meet your needs and read through their recent work. Use that knowledge to make a personal connection with the reporter in your press release or introductory email, being sure to include the journalist’s name and perhaps a reference to a recent piece they’ve published.
The time spent up front will be worth it when you get a response (and hopefully a piece of coverage to show your client).
4. Hit send!
After crafting a great press release and doing adequate research on the best journalists to target, it’s finally time to send it out!
Wondering how to send a press release?
First things first, know your audience! It might be better not to include the actual press release in your initial outreach, but to pitch first, then send the press release once the journalist shows interest.
If you know you're ready to share the actual release, it’s important to personalize your outreach as much as possible. This means taking the extra time to send out your press release emails one-by-one, personalizing the introduction of each email and then copying and pasting the complete press release below.
5. Follow up (after an appropriate amount of time passes).
Respect a journalist’s right to decide if they are interested in covering the story or not.
Give them a few days to review the press release, and then follow up via email. If you don’t hear from them after a follow-up, assume they aren’t interested in what you’re offering at this time.
PR pros beware: although the phone pitch is a highly-debated industry topic, our recent survey found that 72% of journalists wish PR pros would stop calling them to pitch story ideas.
6. Keep the relationship going
Great news! Your press release was accepted and a story featuring your company or client was published. Your work doesn’t end there.
Thank the reporter you worked with and share their story online. In a world where reporters are evaluated based on the success of their stories, this little bit can go a long way in solidifying your relationship with a journalist.
Muck Rack’s Who Shared My Link tool can show you how widely your story was shared, providing valuable information for your client or brand.
There are many variables in play when it comes to crafting a press release, sending it to the media and tracking the results. Still hungry for more information? Download our eBook How to Craft a Winning PR Pitch for more insights to help you land that story.
Do you have any questions about how to send a press release? Tweet us! We’d be happy to answer your questions.
Curious to learn more about how Muck Rack can help you improve your public relations success? We’d love to tell you more.
Jessica Lawlor is the features editor for the Muck Rack blog and handles PR and social media for Muck Rack.
Photo via Pixabay