How should I issue a press release to the media?
In addition to posting your press release on your website and social media outlets, you should have a list of contacts in media that accessed by your customer base or service area. That can include, local newspapers, news sites, radio and television, trade publications, and folks on your mailing list.
For newspapers in particular, email long ago outstripped a printed, mailed press release. This is good for you because it saves a ton on postage. It’s also good for the newspaper, who can just copy/paste instead of retyping the entire thing.
What happens after your press release is received?
Sending a press release doesn’t guarantee that it’ll get picked up. But a timely press release with interesting content has a good chance of grabbing the attention of your media contacts.
After your release is sent, one of the following may occur depending on a number of factors:
- The release may go ignored. Just because you think an announcement is newsworthy doesn’t necessarily mean that opinion is shared by an editor. Or maybe there isn’t space in the paper for your release this week. That shouldn’t dissuade you from sending press releases in the future. Like the Great One said, “you miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.”
- The release may be printed verbatim. This happens more frequently in community shoppers, circulars, and other small publications and community newsletters.
- The release may be published with edits. Weekly, local, and regional papers will often reprint a release with edits that helps the release conform to the paper’s style. The newspaper may contact you for clarification or for additional information. The release may often be shortened with extraneous information eliminated. Don’t take it personally. Remember, the end result of all of this is to get your product or service noted. Getting your release published — even shortened and edited — means you’ve accomplished that.
- The release becomes part of a bigger, bylined story. The good news is your announcement may have just become front-page news. A reporter may be sent to your organization to do a sit-down interview, take photos, etc. If your content from your press release — especially a quote — is used in the resultant story, it ought to be denoted. Be aware that the paper may also look to include other sources from outside your organization. For example, if a local land trust issues a press release announcing intentions to acquire a parcel for preservation, the paper will likely go ahead and interview the folks who may be selling the property, or abutters leery of the deal. If an advocacy group campaigning against fossil fuels issues a news release about the damaging effects of carbon emissions, the paper may also balance out their story with quotes from an oil company.