While your small business may not have a team dedicated to public relations, you should write and submit a press release from time-to-time as part of your marketing strategy. Press releases are the best way to inform traditional and non-traditional media sources about the latest news from your business, upcoming events, new products, and more.
It may seem like an unfamiliar world at first, but follow our four step guide and you will have a simple-to-use template for how to write and submit a press release.
A media database of list should contain all of the contact information for the media agencies in your industry. We recommend including both traditional media sources – newspapers, magazines, news stations – as well as non-traditional media sources – social media, bloggers, and other groups – into your media list.
When you submit a press release, be sure to include the name of your contact person, name of the media outlet, their email address, phone number and physical address. Also, try to find a single person at each media outlet who most pertains to your niche and might take the most interest in your subject matter.
These outlets will include newspapers, magazines, television channels, and radio stations. Start by searching for “newspapers in (your city and state)” in order to build a list of relevant publications, seeking contact information for editors, writers and producers. You can also use sites like Hey.Press to search for journalists who write about your industry.
These include Facebook and LinkedIn groups, blogs, networking organizations, Twitter and Instagram accounts, and more. While these may not be considered traditional media organizations, they continue to grow in popularity and may be the perfect method for reaching your desired audience. Here’s how to identify them:
Before reaching out to these non-traditional media sources, do your research to ensure that they are relevant to your topic and audience. Also, check to see if they like to hear from brands and businesses. Most bloggers and social media influencers will indicate how they like to handle PR requests.
When it comes time to submit your press release, we strongly recommend sending personalized emails to each person on your media list. Here’s how to structure that email:
Keep your email short and sweet. Don’t forget to include your contact info in the body of the email or in your signature — specifically your phone number — so the journalist can easily get ahold of you with questions.
Some news outlets and blogs will have submission forms. Be sure to take a look at those and follow the guidelines precisely so that your release is considered for a possible story.
When pitching press releases, remember that most journalists and editors receive hundreds and thousands of releases per week. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t receive a response after your first email. It’s impossible for them to respond to every release they receive, but that doesn’t mean they won’t use your news in an upcoming story.
One follow-up tactic can be to call the news outlet (if it’s a traditional news agency) immediately after you submit the press release, to let them know it’s in their inbox and to share additional details. Or follow-up 2-3 days after you sent the release, via phone or email, confirming he/she received the release and asking if any confirmation details needed.
Remember, every journalist and news outlet has different preferences for following-up. Here are a few rules of thumb we have found success with in the past:
Following up with journalists should not be skipped, as it’s a great way for them to learn your name, business, product, events, etc. While busy, journalists still value personal relationships from trusted sources.
Submitting a press release through a syndication or distribution service can also explore it to a large amount of publications. This option costs money, but does put your release in front of many more journalists and news outlets than you could do on your own. A few syndication services to consider include PR Web, PR Newswire, eReleases, and Business Wire. Do your research to determine which is the best option for you.
Now that you know the how-tos of submitting a press release to the media, you may be wondering how to write it (which is arguably the most important part). Here are the basic elements to include in your upcoming release:
If you’re curious about learning more about the mysterious world of public relations, don’t hesitate to reach out. We exist to help tell the very best version of your story, and we thrive on uncovering the most interesting parts of your business. Let’s grab a beer and explore which solutions may work best for your small business.