Distributing Your Press Release on the Cheap
Friday, August 20, 2010 at 7:37AM
Julie Senter in Associations, Media Relations, Small Business, marketwire, newswire, pitch engine, press releases, social media

Earlier this week I gave small businesses and associations with limited budgets (and thus no in-house PR professionals or agency counsel) some advice to improve their press releases. Recognizing that many smaller organizations rely on press releases as their primary means of generating media coverage, these tips were intended to provide guidance for those assigned public relations duties (not their primary job responsibilities), but have limited public relations training.

Of course, it’s one thing to craft an error-free release with all appropriate material written in a succinct yet engaging way. It’s quite another to get the darn thing picked up and published. So here are a few more tips on how to distribute the release once you’ve written your masterpiece.

1.  Post the release on your website

Before releasing your genius on the media world, make sure your news release is posted on your website! You want to make sure that everyone has access to your great news, not just reporters and editors. If the release has been optimized for search engines, you should pick up some organic traffic to your site. Include the link in other communications to your members and customers so they are kept in the loop.

It’s also a good idea to have the press release on your website as a backup for reporters and editors who may misplace it and go online looking for it. Have you ever seen the desk of an average reporter? It happens. It’s also available as background for media who are researching your company at a later date.

We love multi-purpose!

2.  Target reporters and editors

Many companies who pay agencies to distribute their releases are horrified to find out later that the release was mass distributed to a non-targeted list of media who are not only pissed off to receive irrelevant spam but also sometimes mad enough to blacklist the company from future coverage.

Target, target, target! Sending your release to 10 key reporters and editors that you know write about your organization or topic area is FAR MORE effective than sending the release to 1,000 editors en mass. Personalize a note at the top of the release mentioning a recent meeting with the writer/editor or something interesting they recently wrote. This distinguishes your organization from the masses and grabs their attention. Make a genuine connection and be a person sending them information that is helpful to them.

3.  Utilize free online press release distribution sites

When you’re on a budget, top-of-the-line newswire services like MarketWire and BusinessWire can be a bit out of reach. Let’s face it. They’re pricey. You definitely should save up and splurge on these when you have really big news (ie, not an announcement that your CEO is back from gall bladder surgery) because they do have extensive reach and are widely read by journalists. But they aren’t necessary for smaller regional or niche stories that highlight new hires, events or fundraising goals.

Instead, follow the first two tips above and then post the release on free distribution sites such as prlog.org, i-newswire.com, and free-press-release.com. This will help with your website’s SEO and get additional eyeballs on your release. Mashable has a great list of 20+ free press release sites.  

One last observation. Most small businesses and associations without professional PR folks on staff or a PR consultant aren’t sending out a lot of press releases. If your organization does, or if you find yourself with more and more newsworthy items, consider paying for Pitch Engine. This is a great service for smaller organizations needing unlimited distribution, image and video embedding, search engine optimization, social media optimization and tracking capabilities. You get all that for a flat monthly fee of $39 (at the time this is published). For $79 per month you also get an embeddable newsroom. It’s definitely worth a look if you plan to grow your media outreach.

Photo Credit: NASA Goddard Photo and Video

Article originally appeared on Senterline Communications (http://senterline.net/).
See website for complete article licensing information.