This is the third of four posts on how to write a press release. Each post will focus on a different aspect of press release writing. This post focuses on distribution.
First, a quick invitation to our writers from other countries to offer ideas on press release distribution in other countries. Though I have a couple of international clients, there are only two, so I’m sure that others can offer some additional ideas for distribution in the U.K., Europe, Asia, Canada and other markets.
No, distribution isn’t technically “writing,” but if you’ve written it and no one sees it, does it make an impact? No. Maybe the client will be satisfied that the release has been written, but unless it gets some notice, the client is unlike to stay with you long.
Now not all releases will grab the attention of the press, as mentioned in the first of these posts. At times, the release is little more than fodder that is unlikely to get any attention beyond your client, but needs to be written anyway because your client thinks it’s important.
Even good, well-written press releases might not be picked up if the news of the day is particularly heavy, particularly if the release is time sensitive. Releases that are more evergreen may be used by the press in subsequent days, or may be able to be recycled as part of a pitch about a related feature.
To enhance the chance of the release being used, it’s important to target the right press outlets. Typically, PR Newswire, Business Wire, PRWeb.com and Canada Newswire are the top choices because they’re available to all interested press. Most of the information on these services will be picked up by aggregators like Google News, but could be buried in the search engine listings. The wire services are pricey – not a problem for a PR firm of some size, but a serious issue for someone with only a couple of clients.
Another drawback from the wire services above, though I’ve used them all as a journalist, is that there are so many releases that yours could get lost in the noise, even if it is among the best of the day.
So whether these services are too pricey or not, it is good to send electronic releases to targeted press. A quick, though again costly, way to find the right press contacts is through Cision, formerly Bacon’s Information.
But it’s best to rely on your own resources. If the target is the local press, that’s easy enough to find through the newspaper and local electronic media information. If looking to go national or local, determine the end audience that the information should reach (consumers, professionals or a mix), then determine what press reaches those audiences. A little Google research is helpful here. Beyond that, you’ll want to confirm via e-mail phone who should get releases at different publications and Web sites. Just don’t inundate targeted press with releases, otherwise they’ll fall into the background noise of the hundreds of wire-based releases the press sees every day.
What are your thoughts?
Phil Britt is a 30-year writing veteran and has operated his own firm, S&P Enterprises, Inc.,([email protected]) for the last 17 years, with articles appearing in many national publications, primarily in financial services and technology. He has worked with companies and PR firms from around the country, some as a journalist, and others as a subcontractor (never working on the same item “from both sides of the desk.”).
This series on press releases was due to popular demand from the FWJ community. What would you like like to learn about? [email protected]