Press Release Distribution Checklist:
You’ve put together the perfect PR content for your brand and you’re ready to make it public. Getting it into the right hands is the next step. It’s all about engaging your audience. Because you’re probably going to want to leverage several channels, it’s helpful to have a press release distribution checklist. This handy tool will help ensure you get your announcement into the right hands.
There are many moving part to manage, so carefully consider the following:
Create a Timeline
Work backward from the date of the story and determine when you need and want to have it in the hands of the media and your audience.
This will help you understand the process end to end.
- The media, journalists and reporters, tend to need it a day to one full week before it's public. They need time to research and write their story. Before you pitch to a media rep, know how much lead time they need. Always deliver to the media before you post anywhere else. They won’t be as excited to cover your story if it’s already public knowledge.
- PR services have an approval process that is generally 24 hours but can be up to 72. When you choose your service, make sure you know the time-frame from submission to approval.
- Social Media, Your Website, and Email – Publish your documents to these channels on or one day before your event or news. For example, if you’re launching a new product on the 15th and you want to use the announcement to drive traffic to your sales page, you’d want it on the 14th or the morning of the 15th. If you want to use the PR to build excitement for the launch, then you’d schedule it for on or around the 10th to give it a week to go viral and generate excitement.
Pitch Your Story to Existing Media Connections - If you have existing connections with the media, reach out to them with your email pitch. Keep in mind that when you’re sending messages to a media representative, they have a particular audience. Focus your pitch on what their audience has to gain by learning more about your story.
Also, keep their deadlines in mind. When do they publish and how much lead time do they need? If you don’t know this information, ask them or look on their website for their submission guidelines.
- Find New Media Connections – Finding new media connections is often a time-consuming process. It requires research and some relationship building. However, this is a great time to start that process.
Consider identifying three local journalists. Look at your local newspaper and research the people who write about your industry. (You can have your VA manage this research project). You might also look at television reporters and connect with one or two that cover your type of story.
- Pitch to New Media Connections – It’s okay to do a cold pitch to a journalist or reporter. Again, know their deadlines and give them a week or so lead time. Yes, they work on a press release distribution checklist as well - it is a bit more complicated than ours but good to understand if contacts will be frequent.
You can find much of this information online, at the newspaper or television channel website. Also, make sure to personalize your pitch. Don’t send the same email to twenty journalists. Make each message unique to the person you’re reaching out to.
Identify Publications - There may some international or national publications that deal directly with your industry or niche. Like with local media and reporters, you’ll be making a cold pitch and starting the relationship building today. You can find trade publications using the following resources:
Also, try for reference purposes:
- Make Your Pitch - If you have connections at industry publications, reach out to them. If not, you can start your search for the right publications at http://www.tradepub.com/. Read a few issues and look for consistent writers or editors to pitch to. Social media is a fantastic second step on the press release distribution checklist.
Once you’ve identified a potential journalist, find them on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Look for the publication page on those social sites as well as the reporter’s page or profile. It’s a good source of information and will help you personalize your pitch.
Do not pitch on social media, send an email. The company website should be a wealth of information including phone numbers, emails, and submission guidelines.
Your pitch should include your story, why their audience will find the information valuable, and a little bit about your company. It should also include a link to your media page where they can find more information. Always include your contact information.
- Follow Up – Two or three days after you’ve submitted your pitch, follow up with the editors, journalists, and reporters that you’ve contacted. Find out if they have any questions and if they’re interested in covering your story.
There are several sites where you can submit online. Some include:
When looking at delivery services, look for one that targets the media outlets that you’re aiming for. Also, look for a one that offers social media functionality like follow and share buttons.
There is often an approval process, which means if you want your's published on a specific day, you have to submit it to the service at least a day in advance.
Post on Social Media
If you have a social media page, put it on your page. You can create a separate tab for media coverage. Be sure to put hashtags in your post so people know what it is and aren’t caught off guard by the content. Hashtags also helps the media find your information.
Your Email List
You can wait to share any media coverage you get for your company with your subscribers or you can choose to email it to your subscribers right away. Don’t cut and paste it into the email. Rather, share a link. If you want to drive traffic to your website, share that link. If you want to encourage shares and engagement, link on social media or simply use a service.
Publish on your website.
Create a “Media” section on your website and post them all there. Make sure your media section includes:
- Company information
- Past mentions and coverage
- Awards and endorsements
- Downloadable material like white papers, case studies, and videos
- Print ready images of products and company leaders
- Your contact information
- An RSS feed for media updates
- Email sign up for updates
- Twitter and Facebook Pages dedicated to company news
Each time you create and deliver formal announcements, your media connections will grow. Your process will become more streamlined and your results will grow. Use this formula to make this process as straight forward and easy as possible.