Press release distribution is the process of sending your press release directly to journalists who are interested in your story. You can also distribute it via the use of newswires that syndicate it to different sites and locations.
It is a critical step for businesses to gain exposure and earn media coverage. Through time, it remains as a valuable communication tool for brands. When done right, it can provide you with numerous opportunities.
One media pickup can get your story to become viral. If done frequently, it can develop your branding and authority which is important to potential customers and investors. You’ll also improve sales that will grow your business and position you as a leader in your industry.
Before discussing the tips that can help you in distributing releases, let’s first go back to the basic terms to understand the process better:
What is a Press Release?
☞ A release is a document issued by a business or an organization to promote their product, event or service. After writing, it should be distributed to relevant journalists, bloggers and media outlets to gain mentions or publicity.
☞ A release is sent to pique the interest of the media, issue a statement and share it with your target audience. Marketers and PR distribution pros must know how to write a newsworthy and relevant content. If it is interesting and relevant to their readers, they are more likely to pick your story.
☞ A release follows a standard. It has a format and very formulaic in nature. There are 11 sections in a release.
Following the format will increase the chance that the media will cover your story. A format gives your content consistency, makes it easy to understand and increases its readability.
11 Sections of a Release:
1. Dateline and Company Logo.
☞ Indicate the date and location of your release. They must be in bold letters, while the location should be capitalized. It gives the media a hint that your story is new and relevant.
☞ Follow the Associated Press (AP) Style Guide. Be careful in writing the location.
☞ In case you are sending an announcement in advance, write the word “EMBARGOED (date). It ensures that the news will not be published until the specified date. Don’t forget to use your official company logo and place it at the upper right corner of your content.
● The headline tells what your news is about. It should include the hook of your story to make sure that it grabs the media’s attention.
● It should answer the question, Why the readers should care? Write headlines of not more than 10 words or less than 170 characters. This will make you comprise the key points in a concise manner.
● Don’t forget to include the keywords. It gives the audience and search engines a clue to what your news is.
● Remember that it is your key to gain reads. Aim to grab the attention of the press with the help of the headline. Otherwise, they are going to toss it and move on to other releases with a catchy headline.
● A subheading can be written if you have more ideas to add but the headline could no longer accommodate it. It builds curiosity, giving readers more reason to click to your story. Deliver it in not more than 350 characters.
● A good subheading will get the readers to continue reading the rest of the story. It plays the role of providing information and interest.
The lede (lead) paragraph is the first paragraph of a release. Therefore, it must contain the key facts of your announcement.
It must cover the answers to:
This is your opportunity to impress the journalist reading it. Or else, you will lose your chance to earn mentions or publicity.
Keep it under 25 words or less. Get straight to the point. You must deliver the key message in just a few words.
Journalists don’t have plenty of time to check releases. If your lede is placed somewhere else, don’t be surprised if it gets deleted.
4. The Body of The Release.
The body of the release comprises the second and third paragraphs. Here, you need to supply additional information in your story. The details will give your story some justice and why the media would consider it.
Remember to complete the information in your story. Journalists aren’t going to consider it if it looks invalid.
Keep it detailed and compelling. Do not repeat ideas that are mentioned already, and make sure it flows naturally to the next paragraph.
Your release should include quotes from company executives to provide insights about your announcement. This strengthens your claims and humanizes your story.
Choose the spokesperson carefully. They should be someone who has high credibility and will provide perspectives. Don’t forget that they may be asked to be interviewed later if a journalist gets interested in your story.
Write it as plain and as natural as possible. It shouldn’t sound copied from a site or a robot is the one speaking. Include their full name and position when mentioning them for the first time.
6. The Body Copy.
It includes your key message and other information. The body copy can discuss where your product is available or when it will come out, other technical details of your product and website (link).
7. The Closing Quote.
You can conclude your release with a closing quote. It should come from a third-party source that provides your story more weight.
8. The Closing Paragraph.
The closing paragraph should be an endorsement of your business, such as an interesting trend or market data, an endorsement from a trade organization, or a plan concerning the future of your business. It gives your business more credibility and justifies why the media must give you publicity.
9. The end.
Always end your release with the word “END.” It gives the readers and the media the signal that it is the end of your content and that they haven’t missed anything.
Just in case that you have two pages, end the first page with the word “—MORE—” You can also end a release with three hashtags (###).
10. Media contact.
This portion includes the contact information of the person who can be contacted by the media. Write their full name, email address, and contact number. Make sure that it is updated because you don’t want to miss any media opportunity just because they can’t contact you.
11. The boilerplate or notes to the editor.
The boilerplate tells who the company is, what it does, and what it offers. It can include added information that can be used by the journalist.
You can include other information like the history of your business, statistical information, and links to reports. While the mentioned are the 11 critical parts of a release, you can also include the following elements in your copy:
● Images add interest, break full text and improve the readability and shareability of your content. They play a huge role in improving the message of your story.
● They make the content compelling and easy to understand. Although not compulsory, it is recommended to be incorporated in your release if you want more eyes on it.
● Carefully choose images to include. It should be relevant to the story. Avoid using stock images because they don’t add any context to your announcement.
● If you are promoting a new product that is new in the market, you don’t want people guessing what your product looks like. By including the actual photo of your product, you can get more attention to your news.
● Don’t forget to tag the photo and write a good description using relevant keywords. It optimizes your release, making it visible on Google Images.
☞ Videos are other elements that you can include in your story. If images are worth a thousand words, a video is worth a million.
☞ It summarizes the story, giving the audience a clear view of your announcement. Videos are recommended to boost conversion rates. Studies have shown that it can increase the conversions by 80 percent.
☞ Further, Google and other search engines love videos. It’s because it drives engagement. Including it in your release can boost its visibility in search results.
☞ When introducing a new product, a demo or a short video can boost your brand’s credibility and trust. People are more likely to move into the buying cycle after seeing a video.
☞ Videos make content shareable. It is what pushes people to share your release on social media.
● A release contains one to two links to provide audience with more information about your organization or announcement. Don’t include too many links because Google can flag you as spam. Ensure that the links in your release have a “no follow” attribute to avoid being penalized by Google.
● Hyperlinks are methods to drive interaction. Use keywords instead of a general term “click here” or “subscribe here.” It suggests the search engines what the link is.
● By providing links to a landing page on your site, you are giving opportunities to your audience to interact with you. The moment they click the link, it encourages them to take actions.
● The tone of your release should be factual and straightforward. Concentrate on facts.
● Do not use clichés, adjectives, and industry jargons. Use simple language that your readers use for a better understanding.
● Write it using the third person. Exceptions are quotes where you use the first person.
When writing a release avoid the top three most common mistakes often committed by PR professionals:
● Wrong format and length.
Your release should follow the format standard for all releases. It is written in using the inverted pyramid style.
Keep the length to 300 up to 500 words. It should fit up to two pages only.
● Wrong file type and format.
It should be written in Word document and not PDF format. Copy and paste it in the email. Do not attach anything in the email.
● Wrong spelling, grammar and punctuations.
● Your content should be a ready-to-publish copy. Make sure to check the spelling, grammar and punctuations before submitting it to avoid getting deleted.
● You want to impress journalists, right? Proofread it before your submission.
What is press release distribution?
☞ Press release distribution is the process of sending releases to a wide network of media outlets and journalists. Distributing a release can get your business name out in the public.
☞ Newswires distribute your content to various platforms including newspapers, magazines, radios, televisions and trade journals. Your story can also appear on major search engines (Google, Yahoo, and Bing) and Google News.
☞ Wire companies offer different plans depending on features, add-ons, analytic reports, and distribution. Journalists can receive your news via email or newsfeeds if they are subscribed to the newswire.
☞ When distributing your release directly to journalists, make sure to personalize your pitch. Build relationships with them prior to distribution. They are more likely to pick up a story if they are familiar with a brand.
☞ Mind the timing of distributing your releases. Send it from Tuesdays to Thursdays. Avoid slow PR days like Monday and Friday as well as weekends and holidays.
☞ Consider the time of sending. The most popular time to send it is between 8:00 and 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. just before journalists meet their editors.
☞ Don’t send it too early because they are not yet on their desk. Journalists have the habit of deleting emails before their work hours. Just the same, avoid sending it after the office hours.
☞ Avoid email blasting. You are just wasting your time and effort if you send it to irrelevant media.
☞ Submitting an exclusive story can boost your opportunity to earn coverage. Journalists are delighted to receive breaking and exclusive stories because they take pride if they are the first one to write it.
☞ You can also increase the odds of getting media coverage if you submit a press kit along with your content. By making their loads easier and their work faster, they are more likely to consider you.
☞ When submitting your release via newswires, use relevant keywords to optimize it on the search engines. It increases your visibility and gives the audience a hint that your content is relevant for them.
☞ While you may have finished writing and distributing your release, your work isn’t over yet. Monitoring its results is crucial in its success.
☞ You need to know if it is effective and if you are reaching your goals. Tracking your results gives you a clue of the media outlets receptive to your story, the number of clicks and site traffic you received, or the journalists who covered you.
☞ Tracking your campaign can help you improve your future campaigns. It will give you insights on what worked and what didn’t.
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