Sending out your press release                                               logo50wd&B.jpg

Your press release is complete and ready for distribution. Now what do you do?

Some large companies with big budgets may opt to hire a distribution company or service, such as PR Newswire, to send out their press releases for a fee. But most businesses wind up delivering the news release themselves. And more often than not this makes the most sense, especially when the goal is to obtain local media coverage or when the subject of the press release relates to a specific audience. Plus, the actual distribution mechanics of getting a press release into the hands of a recipient are pretty simple.

Where to Send It

One key to successful distribution is being smart about who receives your press release, so your first step is simply determining the receivers. The usual suspects include daily and weekly newspapers, trade journals, and business-oriented publications, but magazines, chamber of commerce newsletters, radio and television, as well as online business sites may also be interested in your company's news. However it's not enough to blindly send your press release to any of these organisations. Instead, do some homework. Examine the publications, media outlets, and Web sites in your geographic area or industry and familiarise yourself with their ongoing features, sections, and broadcasts. Expend the energy to learn who's responsible for assigning or editing those segments. You ultimately want to personally direct your press release to these individuals, properly identifying them by correct titles, accurately spelling their names, and determining their preferred method of receiving news releases: by e-mail, fax, or mail.

Who Should Send It

Consider designating an individual within your company with the task of sending out press releases for consistency's sake and so that one person can begin to develop an important rapport with the people behind the news at the publications you're interested in. This person can also be on the lookout for other creative or appropriate outlets that might be interested in your business news, and he or she can create and maintain a media contact list and database for easy access for future releases.

How to Send It

Most media outlets accustomed to receiving press releases state clearly on their Web sites how to submit releases, so follow those directions when available. Otherwise consider a three-pronged approach by using e-mail, fax, and regular mail. It's also a good idea to alert the outlet to which you're sending press material and to follow up after the information is sent to ensure its arrival; that means using the telephone.

In general the best and most immediate way to deliver your press release is by e-mail, and most news organizations prefer that you paste it into the body of an e-mail rather than send as an attachment. Make sure your subject line is informative, short, and interesting. Use as few words as possible and try to make your point simple and clear in the subject line. Don't share your entire media contact list; so either blind cc the information or send out press releases separately to individuals. And make sure your contact knows you or at least that you're sending a news release; otherwise it might end up in the junk mailbox or be considered spam.

You can also fax press releases, and this distribution method is almost as immediate as e-mailing. However unless you alert recipients that a fax is being sent, they may not actually receive it for several hours, and faxes tend to pile up and get lost in the communal pile. And in today's environmentally conscious times, more outlets are looking for ways to save on paper, thus preferring e-mail.

Many companies choose regular mail as their delivery mechanism for press releases. This distribution takes longer than e-mailing or faxing but regular mail can serve as a reliable backup to your e-mailed or faxed press releases.

The bottom line is that many news organisations rely on press releases for their business coverage, but many are inundated with inappropriate submissions that clog up their systems. By determining the proper recipient and respecting the preferred delivery system, you've made the editor's job that much easier and media coverage of your press release that much more likely.

Need tips on writing an effective press release?  Read 'How to write an effective press release' to learn more >>

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