Media releases are the best way to get your message out to the public at large. Media outlets like newspapers, radio stations, television stations and bloggers have bigger audiences than you probably do, and they reach people who probably haven’t heard of your business.
Quick note: Although you’ll still see the term “press release,” radio, television and online outlets don’t use presses like newspapers or magazines do, so it’s best to refer to the whole group as “media.”
When sending media releases, I never keep a static email list of contacts. Turnover is high in journalism, and unless you know each and every journalist you’re contacting, you probably won’t know if they’re still working at the same media outlet they were the last time you sent a release.
This is time consuming, and if you’re the freelance writer, you’ll need to make sure to invoice your clients for this time, or if you’re a business leader contracting the work out, be sure to budget for this part of the freelancer’s time and expense. If you’re doing it yourself, make sure you plan your time accordingly.
I always visit the website of each media outlet I’m sending to. Scan the Contacts section. There will usually be a generic email address to submit press releases. If that’s all they have, use it, but try to find an individual editor or reporter who covers business stories, or whatever niche your business is in, like healthcare or education. You might be able to find a name, but it won’t have the respective email address. If that’s the case, google the person’s name and see if any results show an email addy. If you do find one, be sure to check to make sure it’s current. You never want to send the email to the reporter’s old job.
Send each email individually, as opposed to using Mail Chimp or other email management program. Address it to the reporter and mention the media outlet by name in the first paragraph. You can have a template media release, but be sure to double check the name and company before you hit Send to make sure the email address, salutation and mention of the company aligned. It is so embarrassing when you see that you sent an old email to a new addy.
Copy and paste the message into the body of the email. Never send attachments. Attachments often contain malware and get blocked by Spam filters. They also take up space in the email system. Placing all the text in the body of the message allows the reporter to copy and paste the information without having to retype anything.
Instead of attaching photos, send a link to a place on your website where they can download high resolution images. If you’re sending to a print media outlet like a newspaper or magazine, it’s going to need to be a large file size, usually 1 megabyte or more. Don’t make it too big, though, or it will crash the system. Magazines are going to need really large files, but for most newspapers can get away with 1920 x 1080 pixels.
If you don’t have a website with high-resolution photos, put “Photos available upon request” on the introductory header.
Never send a media release via snail mail, and don’t send it via PDF or JPG. None of these options allow the journalist to copy and paste the text. If you create extra work for them by making them retype verbiage, you increase the likelihood of your message getting overlooked.
With a properly tailored media release, sent to the right person in the right format, you can increase your chances of getting noticed. If you would like help crafting and sending your media releases, send me a private message and we can discuss details.
In the next blog, we’ll go over writing the media release.