How to Send a Press Release in 5 Steps (+ Distribution Tips)
This article is part of a larger series on Press Release.
After writing a press release detailing your newsworthy announcement, the next step is to get it shared by securing coverage in relevant media. To start, build a media list of relevant journalists and outlets, craft your submission email, syndicate to thousands of outlets using a press release distribution service, promote your release on social media for added awareness, and monitor its performance to measure its success.
Speaking of success, you’ll have more luck gaining media attention for your press release by framing your story in a way that is interesting and easy to read. If you haven’t done so already, learn how to write a press release. If you’re pressed for time or want to ensure your news story is written perfectly, get your press release written by an expert and distributed to thousands of journalists with a service like eReleases.
Here is how to submit your press release in five steps.
1. Build a Media List
So, you have a newsworthy announcement, and now it’s time to submit your press release. To start, compile a media list containing the contact information of press contacts in your niche or industry.
To do this, create a spreadsheet with columns for the media outlet name. Add the name of the press contact, their contact information, information about their audience, and submission guidelines. Alternatively, if you don’t have the time to build a media list, use a press release distribution service like eReleases, which will distribute your release to thousands of journalists.
Here are the two sources to use for building your media list:
- Traditional news outlets: A traditional news agency is a newspaper, magazine, television channel, or radio station, and their associated websites. To build a media list of traditional news agencies, consider those in your area first. To find the names of media contacts, visit the agency’s website. If that doesn’t work, try LinkedIn or call the agency to get the contact information of the journalist or reporter you should send your release to.
- Nontraditional news sources: These can include Facebook groups, blogs, business networking organizations, Instagram accounts, and other digital groups. While these may not be official news outlets, they are often more effective at getting the word out about local business news.
Are you struggling to find email addresses? Use an email finder tool to locate the email addresses of journalists and press contacts you think most likely to be interested in your story. To get started, check out the best email finder tools.
2. Write a Submission Email to Send With Your Press Release
In your email, indicate who you are, what business you’re associated with, that you’re submitting a press release, and that you’d like the journalist to consider writing about it. When writing your submission email, keep in mind that it’s crucial not to assume the reporter knows why their audience wants to know about your announcement, so you need to give them an important reason to cover the story. For help getting started, use this email template:
Dear [Journalist’s Name],
My name is [your name], and I am sending this email on behalf of [company]. I am writing to share a press release with you regarding [topic of press release] to be released on [release date]. You can read the release below.
This news would be important to your audience because [offer a compelling statistic or reason why this would directly affect the journalist’s audience].
Would you share this news with your audience so that they can [include an action like attending the event you’re hosting or buying your book, or how they can benefit from learning about your story]?
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me directly if you have further questions about this story.
Thank you for your consideration.
[Your Full Name]
[Your Phone Number]
[Your Email Address]
Download the template in Docx or PDF file.
Next, email your release to each of the media contacts identified in step one (unless the agency has an online submission form). If your press release is timely, such as the case with a grand opening, submit it at least one to two weeks in advance.
Pro tip: Statistically, the best time to send a press release is between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on weekdays. Editors open one-third of all their emails at this time. Sending it then helps to keep it from getting buried under other emails before the editor has a chance to see it. The best day of the week to send your release is on Thursday, which has the highest open rates.
3. Syndicate Using a Distribution Service
A press release distribution service instantly sends your press release to thousands of reporters, journalists, blogs, influencers, and news outlets. It may be distributed via permanent placement on a news wire, direct emails to journalists or influencers, and targeted social media accounts. Distribution services generally cost from $99 to $199 or more and often include distribution to a set number of outlets as well as the ability to add multimedia, expert reviews, and analytics reports.
To syndicate your release, select a provider and plan, a release date, and a target audience―an industry, location, or demographic, for example. Then, upload your release and multimedia.
Finally, follow the prompts to pay for and finalize your order. From there, depending on your plan and selected services, you may also be collaborating with a press release writer or editor to create a more polished, effective piece for distribution. Once the service has distributed your release, most provide reports showing where your release was published.
Find the right press release distribution service for you by checking out the best press release distribution service.
4. Promote Your Release on Social Media
Once you’ve sent your press release, and it has been published on major publication sites or by key influencers, follow up to ensure these placements boost your credibility with social followers and your target markets. To do so, share the link to your press release, or links to articles that have been published on high-profile sites about your story and advertise them on social media.
Republish your release on your website as a blog article or on a press page that has social sharing buttons. This makes it easy for site visitors to share the article or page on their own social networks.
5. Track Performance Using Analytics and Reports
After distributing your press release, monitor its performance to gauge its effectiveness. If you used a press release distribution service, you will usually get a performance report from the service provider detailing the coverage it received.
If you didn’t use a distribution service, performance can be a bit trickier to assess. However, if you included trackable links in your press release, you can track metrics like backlinks earned, which are sites that include a link back to your site, website traffic, and conversion rate changes.
Pro tip: Easily find your earned backlinks by using this free backlink checker by Ahrefs.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What common press release distribution mistakes do businesses make?
The biggest press release mistake you can make is distributing a press release that doesn’t cover a newsworthy or interesting announcement. This is the leading cause when press releases flop. Other common mistakes include not targeting the right distribution, spamming journalists, and failing to provide the information journalists need to cover your story. Check out the complete list of common press release mistakes.
Where can you submit a press release for free?
Sending a press release doesn’t have to cost you anything. In fact, you can build a media contact list for free, and there are a number of free press release distribution services, such as PRLog, 1888PressRelease, and PR.com. Although with free services the options, quality, and distribution aren’t as robust as a paid service, they can still be a good option if you’re on a budget. Get the full breakdown of the best free press release distribution services.
Are press release distribution services worth it?
If you can afford it and if your news warrants it, paying $200 to $400 to syndicate a release can be a worthwhile investment. If you’re simply installing a new awning on your storefront, it’s probably not necessary. But if you’re opening four new offices in your region, it may be worth the cost—new foot traffic alone may offset syndication costs. You should determine if the likely return on investment would justify the cost.
Sending your press release doesn’t have to be complicated, but that doesn’t mean it won’t feel complex, especially if you’re just learning how to send a press release. If you want to make your life super-easy―like busy businesses often do―the investment in paid distribution services could be well worth the price. Your press release will be distributed to more than 1 million journalists, and you’ll get comprehensive reporting that takes the guesswork out of whether to use a distribution service like eReleases instead of trying to do it yourself.
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