Media releases are an effective way to gain visibility, also on a large scale. Many PR professionals, however, face the problem of not getting their press releases published. Newspapers, media, freelance editors and bloggers receive hundreds of releases daily and it's tough to stand out from the mass.
We gathered 8 tips on how to improve the chances of your press release getting published.
1. Invest in quality
By continuously bombarding journalists with poor-quality releases you are only doing a disservice to yourself and your organization, because news desks won't take you for a good and reliable source of information anymore. A couple of good and engrossing press releases are much better than a lot of low quality ones.
A well written and atructured release is already a leap forward because it makes the journalists' job easier. It is also essential that the topic of the press release is appealing enough to be part of a publication's content. Also, make sure that additional information about the topic is easily available.
Tip: If your organization doesn't have enough resources or experience in writing press releases, you should consider outsourcing press release writing to a freelance journalist or communications agency. Reporters and bloggers notice a professionally written release immediately.
2. Remember to target
Spray and pray tactics rarely work in communications and marketing and shouldn't be practiced when sending press releases. Carefully prepared and targeted mailing list is crucial in making sure your press release goes through. For example, don't send releases that are focused on technology to a paper that is about countryside living.
The topic must be relevant to the media outlet's audience so that publishing it is worthwhile. Remember that what is interesting to you, might not be for the majority of readers. Write a press release primarily from the reader's perspective.
Tip: A good and comprehensive press release distribution service helps you to pick out and narrow just the right recipients regarding your operations.
If some topic is already in the public eye, also journalists will grab it more easily. Follow current topics and, if possible, build your press releases around them. For instance, if high unemployent numbers have just been in the news, it might be a good idea to report about your company's recruitment or increased number of employees. Follow the actions of your competitors as well because it might give your release just the right edge.
4. Extra material and additional information
Offer images, videos and other extra material already in your press releases, so that the journalist who starts reading it doesn't have to search for additional information immediately. Releases that contain images and videos can get as much as 45% more views than releases that only contain text (Jeff Bullas).
Also, remember to provide contact information for asking questions – preferably for more than one contact person – and be available. Answer swiftly to messages from reporters and keep your phone close by. If the journalist who is looking for that additional information can't easily get a hold the writer of the press release or other contact person, they might discard the topic and move on to the next one.
Tip: Photos about your operations taken in-house or by a professional raise much more interest than image bank photos. Consider investing in decent photos since quality image material quickly pays itself back.
You should maintain good relations with different media outlets because networking with certain reporters could promote your own communications. By creating good relationships to those journalists that are specialized in news from your industry, you improve the chances of your releases going through.
It pays off to follow journalists from different papers or magazines and pick those that write the most about topics that are important to your company or organization. Hold an ongoing discussion with reporters so that they will remember you in the future as well. You can be directly in contact with reporters through social media, for example, and they can be invited to different events and meetings.
6. Social media and blogs
Social media and blogs must not be forgotten because visibility in printed media is only a part of media visibility. Influencers from different fields and the discussion on social media play a great role in communications.
Releases should also be offered to the industry bloggers, as well as publish them on social media, in addition to press release distribution service portals. The discussion that starts on social media enhances the chances of a media outlet picking up your press release or maybe remembering your organization better in the long run. This gives better possibilities for your future releases going through in the media.
Tip: Follow social media and blogs with a media monitoring service in order to find the influencers of different industries that help you to get better visibility for your releases.
7. Delivery time
The delivery time of a release might radically affect how it goes through in the media. There is a lot of studies on the subject because this issue might vary from country to country, as well as between different publications. According to one of the studies the releases that are sent early in the week have a better percentage of going through than those that are sent at the end of the week.
Also, the time of the year might hold great importance. For instance, during summer holidays there are fewer competing releases, which might help them go through in the media. On the other hand, many journalists are on vacation at that time. Thus, you should keep an eye on the vacation times of your trusted reporters and send the summer releases when they are working.
8. Long-term planning
As all communications, also press releases must be made part of a long-term communications plan and the communications strategy of the entire organization. The core lines of public relations should be determined early on and an annual plan about the amount of press releases and their delivery dates benefits your company's communications in the long run.
Continuous visibility paints a great picture of the organization, when also your future press releases are likely to go through in the media. Press release spam is obviously not a good idea, but regular, high-quality releases help your organization to stay in the minds of reporters.
Tip: The most important thing to remember when composing press releases is that reporters work to serve the readers, not companies. Therefore, always take a reader point of view in your releases and aim to compose them in a way that is enjoyable to read for the target group of the publication.
Do you need tips for your press releases? Read more in our blog:
- How to create a great press release?
- 10 (+1) commandments for public relations
- PR ❤ SEO – 22 facts every PR expert should know about search engine optimization
Jeff Bullas: 6 Powerful Reasons Why you Should include Images in your Marketing – Infographic