Sending a Press Release to a Journalist: The Basics Explained

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The press release turned 116 this year. In October 1906, a man named Ivy Lee was the very first person to issue a press release. Today, many public relations (PR) specialists consider Lee to be the founder of modern PR.

In its most basic form, a press release is an official statement from an organization to media representatives and general consumers. The organization itself issues the release, meaning press releases are primary sources.

If you are considering sending a press release to the media, you probably have a lot of questions. Today, we want to help answer all your press release distribution questions in this guide.

Are you curious about the do’s and don’ts of distributing a press release to journalists in 2022? Then keep reading because we are about to explain everything you need to know to get started.

How to Send a Press Release to Journalists

The benefits of press releases are countless. They can help you get a foothold with media representatives, improve your brand recognition, and even increase your bottom line.

But before you ever send out your first press release, you must first ensure that your announcement is actually newsworthy. In other words, is the topic of your press release entertaining enough for the general public to want to read it?

If the answer to this question is no, go back to the drawing board. Do not start writing the press release until you find a topical reason for issuing it. Once you do, you can get started with the following steps.

Step 1: Create Your Press Release

By now, you may be wondering: how do you know if a press release is topical and, thus, eligible for distribution? Journalists look at the following factors to determine newsworthiness:

  • Time: Is your press release announcement current?
  • Location: Does your announcement impact people locally?
  • People: Are celebrities or other noteworthy individuals involved in your news?
  • Shock Value: Does the press release detail a shocking or scandalous piece of news?
  • Human Interest: Is there a heartwarming story at the heart of your press release?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, your press release is probably newsworthy. But press releases that tick multiple of the above boxes can be an even easier pitch for your organization.

Step 2: Pitch Your Press Release

Speaking of pitching, the next step in the process is to pitch your press release via email. And before you create a mass email campaign for all the journalists you know, you need to understand how to pitch.

A good pitch is always personalized. Make sure to address the journalist by name. If you want to go above and beyond, you can also include a reference as to why you are emailing that journalist in particular.

Next, make sure your pitch includes key journalistic information. For example, you need to explain the who, what, where, when, why, and how of your press release. Use a few quotes from your release to beef up your claims.

Finally, make sure to include a CTA at the end. CTA stands for Call To Action. A CTA can be as general as “get back to me at your earliest convenience.” Or you can use a more targeted CTA (e.g., “would you consider featuring our announcement in one of your upcoming articles?”).

Step 3: Follow Up About Your Press Release

The last and arguably most important step during distribution is the follow-up. Why? Because journalists are extremely busy, especially considering there are 6 PR professionals for every journalist in the US these days.

So, say you do not hear back from a single journalist after a few days. You may think the journalist has simply passed on your idea. However, this is not always the case.

To weed out the non-responders from the busier journalists, send a follow-up email. Your follow-up email does not have to be as lengthy as your original pitch. Ask the journalist if he is still interested in your story, and that’s it!

The Best Journalists to Send Your Press Release To

The best journalists to send your press release to depend on the news. If you have a story that features a famous individual, you may be able to go more general. Otherwise, industry- or locally-focused journalists are ideal.

Why do we say that you may ask? You want to get your release in front of your audience. And unless you work for Twitter or some other major company, odds are you have a more niche customer base.

Additionally, it can be much easier to get your press release featured in a local or niche publication. You will experience much less competition. And you may just find a better return on investment when you use this strategy.

How to Find Journalists

Finding journalists and their contact information is one of the most difficult parts of the distribution process. Luckily, most modern journalists include their information on social platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter.

You could also consider outsourcing this part of the process. At e-releases, we help small businesses like yours reach out to the right media representatives. Our National PR Newswire Distribution platform can streamline this process.

Sending a Press Release?

Issuing press releases is a great strategy for businesses looking to increase brand awareness. And as long as you follow these tips, you can start creating press releases for your company with ease.

Need help sending a press release for your organization? E-releases specializes in online press release writing and distribution for small businesses like yours. Contact us today to learn more about our services.

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