Building Your List

The next step, once you know how to craft perfect press releases, is to build your list of potential contacts. This is the critical part of your press release strategy.

While it is true that websites exist where you can submit press releases and while there are a number of different strategies you can use to get the media to cover your story, ultimately the best strategy by far is to build lasting relationships with journalists and other members of the press. By approaching the right outlets, by getting their attention, you can then drastically increase their chances of covering your story. You might not be well known by the general public yet, but you are well known to them.

Upload a press release to a press release site and you might get a few bites. But if you send press releases to a list of genuinely engaged and interested writers, presenters and editors, then you will stand a good chance of being featured.

 

Finding Contacts

The first thing to do then, is to build your list. This will begin with a research stage. Do a Google search and try to find what the largest magazines, websites and other media are in your niche. At the same time, try to look for some of the smaller and lesser known sites and publications (more on this in a moment!).

On most websites, you’ll be able to find a contact page and a ‘meet the team’ page. Likewise, most magazines will normally list their writing staff and contributors on the front pages. Remember: you need to ensure that you are targeting the right person, so look to see if they have a specialist topic. If they don’t, then look to see what content they’ve contributed thus far. You might notice that there are some common subject matters that they often deal with.

If this doesn’t work, there are other ways to track down email addresses. You can look at WhoIs information for instance, to see who owns a site domain. Likewise, you can look on social media: most big publications and websites will have prominent social media accounts for their contributors which helps them to interact with their readers and subscribers.

You can also look on LinkedIn, try looking up a specific publication or brand and find the individuals who work there. LinkedIn is a powerful tool for networking, especially because it lets you see who you indirectly know – and this allows you to gain an introduction or even send an unsolicited message!

Some websites will even have a page specifically for submitting stories, which can be related to yourself or to others!

 

Seeding

Press release seeding via e-mail means sending out your press releases to the correct portions of the market and the correct media outlets. In other words, you are going to sew your seeds among specific demographics and target audiences, and you are going to do this by creating a list of your recipients and then by creating cross-sections of that list in order to target specific groups.

By sewing your seeds this way, you can accomplish more market diffusion and effectively penetrate smaller markets. We can liken this to a go to market strategy. Go to market means that you are finding your target audience and then making sure that the content you create and the marketing you manage is designed in such a way as to reach that market. Often it is said that the perfect business model is simply to solve a problem for a specific group and then to ensure that you are able to present said group with your solution. They will then pay you for that solution. This requires that you identify the target audience first and then that you find the means to present your solution.

copyright: Kittiphan @ fotolia.com
copyright: Kittiphan @ fotolia.com
And this is where seeding makes sense: you approach the right outlets with your news in order to gain the correct exposure to the right groups and you gain enough of a spread in order to penetrate the market. This way, even if only a few of your recipients cover the story, the hope is that you’ll still be able to reach into a variety of different markets and audiences and spread the word through as many people as possible.

At the same time, the aim is also to approach both bigger and smaller outlets. This is useful because smaller brands are more likely to cover your story because they will be excited to be contacted by you. Again, let’s use the example of a game developer. If you were a small ‘indie developer’, that would mean that you made and published a game yourself and then tried to get word out. Indie publishers can sometimes struggle to get attention from big publications. But if they contact smaller YouTubers and independent blogs, then they can get some ‘lets play’ videos and reviews. This in turn can then be enough publicity for a bigger publication to look into them.

For those in internet marketing, this essentially works like email segmentation. You’ll be taking your long list of contacts and then dividing it based on demographic, based on engagement and based on other factors. This will impact the specific messages that you send, the way you design your approach etc.