The way you write your press release and create your press kit will be determined somewhat by where you send it. You’ll create your own media list to this end, but for now, consider these top targets in a broader sense.
Online PR websites
Choosing Your Recipients © everythingpossible / fotolia.com Very often, you won’t send your press release directly to the journalists or even the sites and magazines that you hope will run your stories. Instead, you will sometimes sent them to sites that store press releases and this is somewhere that smaller news outlets and researchers can then visit in order to get news and to find stories worth featuring.
These sites aren’t as good as directly contacting the media yourself, however they can be useful as an additional means for getting extra coverage. They can also be a useful way to get a link back to your website! Some are free and some are paid. Some of the best include PRLog.org, PR.com, PR-Inside.com and Newsire.com. Consider adding these to your strategy for bonus points.
Types of Recipients
Let´s have a look at the several types of recipients.
Journalists and freelancers
The vast majority of media relations is likely to be conducted via journalists. A journalist of course is a writer or a presenter that will normally work for a specific publication or news outlet. For instance, a journalist might write for a specific magazine or website, or they might present videos on a YouTube channel or even a news channel!
Either way, the role of the journalist is to cover breaking news, to write compelling stories and to otherwise provide content for the outlet that they write or present for. Often, this means working in a fairly independent manner. Often, the journalist will have the idea for the content and will go out to chase it. They will then present this idea or this content to their editors or whoever runs the website or magazine and they will then in turn be given the go-ahead to begin producing that work (or they may not!). Many will in fact be freelance and may even take their ideas to multiple different outlets.
As a brand, you can therefore often find that you actually get more luck by contacting the individual journalists – whether by email, by social media, by LinkedIn or by phone – than you would by contacting the editors.
That said, sometimes you can go straight to the source, which may mean simply writing a letter addressed to a certain website, a certain TV channel, a certain newspaper etc. You can also try writing to the editors or the publishers, who will have more clout over what gets covered by that media source.
What you include in your release might vary slightly depending on the recipient. For instance, it makes more sense to include video in your press kit if you are contacting a television channel.
Always research the precise media outlet that you intend to contact to find out how they cover news and what is of interest to them.
Likewise, think again about targeting. Is this magazine or news station right for your story? If you are going with the ‘local hero’ angle to talk about how you were a local boy/girl who made good, then you would of course be better suited to contact a local station or local newspaper. If you are talking about a new scientific discovery, then perhaps you contact the Discovery Channel.
And if you only have the ‘clout’ to go after the smaller sites and media outlets, then remember that you getting covered by smaller reporters can sometimes help to ensure your story gets picked up by the big fish.
Experts © NicoElNino / fotolia.com This may all seem fairly straightforward and even obvious at this point. Of course, the objective of press relations is to contact press!
But what you may not have considered is the potential value in contacting other organizations or individuals… such as researchers or experts! This can sometimes have a big impact on your PR, even if it isn’t very direct at all.
For example, if you have just released a new drug that can cure a certain disease, then releasing that news to researchers might be enough to result in the medication being studied and tested to see if it works. If it does, then this could be immensely beneficial for your business.
Attracting the attention of applicants
PR isn’t just for customers and clients – it can also be useful for potential employees, business partners and more! The more your name is out there and the more positively that name is seen, the more likely it is that you’ll attract more positivity.
You can also release news directly to customers. This is something that you might do via an email marketing campaign for instance or by using a newsletter. We’ll see later on how companies can use big events in order to create opportunities for marketing. If you’re going to be informing the press, then it almost becomes a common courtesy to at least let your loyal customers know first. After all, they have followed you for this long and taken the trouble to sign up to your list!
Whether you contact them directly or indirectly, releasing news to suppliers is also a good idea, particularly of course if you produce physical products. If you’re going to be releasing a new range of products for instance, then it is a very good idea to let the stockists know right away. Not only will this hopefully lead to direct sales, but it also keeps your business in the minds of those that are essentially your ‘customers’ in this case.
And this is a good point to make: know your customer. If you are a website, then your ‘customer’ isn’t really the reader or the visitor, it is probably the advertiser. Those are the people who need to learn your news.
contact person © sdecoret / fotolia.com It’s for this reason that it’s also a good idea to contact industry news outlets. Most industries will have their own papers and press. For instance, there are magazines that are published specifically for investment firms, specifically for personal trainers, specifically for mechanics etc. These are great targets for your press relations.
The term influencer can be used to describe any individual, organization or outlet that has a big influence over a large group. So, the most common use for this term, is to describe individual vloggers, YouTubers, social media personalities and more.
You’ll often find clothes companies providing Instagram personalities with apparel for example as this is a good way for those companies to have their products seen by thousands or millions of people and in a very good light.
The right contact person
Note that when you do all of this, you will need to ensure that you are contacting the right person within the organization. This is easy if you are contacting a freelance journalist or an influencer because there will only be one of them! However, if you are looking to get covered by a magazine or paper, then you need to ensure that you reach out to the right person – and often that is going to mean addressing whichever person is in charge of that given topic.
For example, if you visit a website that covers technology, then you will normally find that there is a list of regular contributors or members of the team. Here, you will usually be able to find a little information also about what each of those members covers. For instance, one person might write primarily about smartphones, another person might write primarily about tablets and PCs, one person might cover software.