Getting it into the right hands is the next step. It’s all about distribution. Because you’re probably going to want to leverage several distribution channels, it’s helpful to have a checklist. This handy checklist will help ensure you get your press release into the right hands.
Create a Distribution Timeline
Work backward from the date of the story and determine when you need and want to have your press release in the hands of the media and your audience. This will help you create your distribution plan.
The media, journalists, and reporters, tend to need your press release a day to one full week before you distribute it publicly. They need time to research and write their story. Before you pitch to a media rep, know how much lead time they need. Always distribute to the media before you distribute anywhere else. They won’t be as excited to cover your story if it’s already public knowledge.
Distribution services have an approval process that is generally 24 hours but can be up to 72. When you choose your distribution service, make sure you know the timeframe from submission to distribution.
Social Media, Your Website, and Email – Distribute your press release to these channels on or one day before your event or news. For example, if you’re launching a new product on the 15th and you want to use the press release to drive traffic to your sales page, you’d distribute the release on the 14th or the morning of the 15th. If you want to use the press release to build excitement for the launch, then you’d distribute the press release on or around the 10th to give it a week to go viral and generate excitement.
Distribute the Release to Your Local Media
Pitch Your Press Release to Existing Media Connections – If you have existing connections with the media, reach out to them with your email pitch. Keep in mind that when you’re sending a press release to a media representative they have an audience. Focus your pitch on what their audience has to gain by learning your story. Also, keep their deadlines in mind. When do they publish and how much lead time do they need? If you don’t know this information, ask them or look on their website for their submission guidelines.
Find New Media Connections – Finding new media connections is often a time-consuming process. It requires research and some relationship building. However, this is a great time to start that process.
Consider identifying three local journalists. Look at your local newspaper and research the people who write about your industry. (You can have your VA manage this research project). You might also look at television reporters and connect with one or two that cover your type of story.
Pitch Your Press Release to New Media Connections – It’s okay to do a cold pitch to a journalist or reporter. Again, know their deadlines and give them a week or so lead time. You can find much of this information online, at the newspaper or television channel website. Also, make sure to personalize your pitch. Don’t send the same email to twenty journalists. Make each message unique to the person you’re reaching out to.
Distribute to Trade Publications.
Identify Publications – There may some international or national publications that deal directly with your industry or niche. Like with local media and reporters, you’ll be making a cold pitch and starting the relationship building today. You can find trade publications using the following resources:
Also, try for reference purposes:
Make Your Pitch – If you have connections at industry publications, reach out to them. If not, you can start your search for the right publications at http://www.tradepub.com/. Read a few issues and look for consistent writers or editors to pitch your press release to. Social media is a fantastic second step.
Once you’ve identified a potential journalist, find them on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Look for the publication page on those social sites as well as the reporter’s page or profile. It’s a good source of information and will help you personalize your pitch.
Do not pitch on social media, send an email. The company website should be a wealth of information including phone numbers, emails, and submission guidelines.
Your pitch should include your story, why their audience will find the information valuable, and a little bit about your company. It should also include a link to your media page where they can find more information. Always include your contact information.
Follow Up – Two or three days after you’ve submitted your pitch, follow up with the editors, journalists, and reporters that you’ve submitted a press release to. Find out if they have any questions and if they’re interested in covering your story.
Distribute your release to online press release distribution services. There are several press release sites where you can submit your release. Some include
When looking at press release distribution services, look for one that distributes to the media outlets that you’re aiming for. Also, look for a distribution service that offers social media press release functionality like, follow and share buttons.
There is often an approval process, which means if you want your press release distributed on a specific day, you have to submit it to the service at least a day in advance.
Post on Social Media
If you have a social media page, consider distributing your press release on your page. You can create a separate tab for press releases and media coverage. Be sure to put the hashtag #Pressrelease on your post so people know what it is and aren’t caught off guard by the content. This hashtag also helps the media find your information.
Distribute to Your Email List
You have two options with email. You can wait to share any media coverage you get for your press release with your subscribers. You can also choose to distribute your press release to subscribers. Don’t cut and paste the release into the email. Rather, share a link to the press release. If you want to drive traffic to your website, share that link. If you want to encourage shares and engagement, link to your release on social media or to your release on your chosen distribution service site.
Publish the Release on Your Website
Create a “Media” section on your website and post your press releases with the most recent press release first. Make sure your media section includes:
- Company information
- Past mentions and coverage in the press
- Awards and endorsements
- Downloadable material like white papers, case studies, and videos
- Print-ready images of products and company leaders
- Your contact information
- An RSS feed for media updates
- Email sign up for updates
- Twitter and Facebook Pages dedicated to company news
Each time you write and distribute a press release, your media connections will grow. Your process will become more streamlined and your results will grow. Use this checklist to make the press release distribution process as straight forward and easy as possible.
If you haven’t written your press release yet, don’t forget to download my Free Press Release Template that will help you generate more media and money in less than 30 days.