At some point in the press release development process, you’ll want to think about where to send press releases. After all, you want to ensure that your press release lands in the hands of the appropriate media contacts who can help you communicate with your target audience.
So what’s the best way to do that? Typically, the answer is a combination of direct contact by e-mail with broader outreach via news wire service.
To connect with reporters by e-mail, obviously you’ll need their e-mail addresses. If you don’t subscribe to a media contact database such as Cision, keep a keen eye out for media contact information in places such as at the end of stories, as graphics during TV segments, or on a magazine masthead.
Some best practices to consider when contacting the media by e-mail include:
- Use a third-party e-mail service provider such as MailChimp, which provides the recipients an opportunity to unsubscribe if desired. (Cision also has e-mail distribution with this capability.)
- If using your own e-mail client (e.g., Microsoft Outlook, Gmail):
- Paste the text of your press release in the e-mail, rather than sending an attachment. This saves the media contact a step. In addition, some reporters are wary of opening attachments for fear of viruses.
- Send one e-mail per person.
- If you feel the need to send one e-mail to many recipients, use the bcc field and limit each e-mail to no more than 20 recipients.
In some instances, there are specific e-mail addresses for unique features (such as SmallBizCal@startribune.com for the Minneapolis Star Tribune “On the Docket” business event listing). In other instances, you would visit a specific webpage (such as to submit material for the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal “People on the Move“).
Think about your target audience. Do they live in a specific geographic area? Do they work in a certain industry? This will help you to know which radio programs they listen to, which blogs they read, and more.
If your service or product could appeal to anyone across the U.S. or in other countries, you would want to consider augmenting your direct media contact with a press release distribution via a wire service (e.g. Business Wire, PR Newswire, PRWeb). This also provides your organization’s employees and supporters with an easy way to access and share the news, and could help your website with search engine optimization.
Of course, sending your press release via e-mail and a wire service doesn’t guarantee that your desired media contacts will see your news and act upon it. That’s why follow-up phone calls are important.