September 26, 2007
Newspapers, both online and print, are inundated with hundreds of press releases every day. With that kind of capacity, you’ve really got to make sure that yours stands out from the pack if you want it to catch the eye of the editors and make it in front of their readership.
Don’t start at the top
One of the best ways to increase your chances of getting published is to hunt down the person at the newspaper who cares about what you’re trying to say. The editor-in-chief probably doesn’t have the time to look over every press release that comes in, and if you’ve got a press release about a new pet product, chances are that the business editor won’t care too much.
Whether you’ve got a story that needs to get into the right hands, an unusual topic that needs a special reporter, or you just want better coverage for your piece, finding the right person at the newspaper can make all the difference.
Good things take time
Unfortunately, building a press list is not exactly an instantaneous process. Finding the right person at a newspaper can take quite a bit of time and research, but if it can get your press release wider distribution, it will all be worth it.
In addition, you’ll have the contact information for future releases, and if you’ve treated your newspaper contact right, then you’ll have an established relationship, which could be mutually beneficial in the long run.
Search for similar stories
Initially, try searching Google News and Yahoo News to locate individual reporters who might be interested in your story. If you’re looking on a national level, look for people who have written several articles on subjects similar to yours, without a regional focus.
Don’t just look at titles, and don’t just look at one story. Actually read the stories to get a feel for the writer and the tone they take. That will help you make your decision about who to send your release to.
Broaden your focus
Think outside the box. You may have a press release that hits multiple categories. For instance, a technologically advanced gizmo that vaporizes dog poop would probably be of interest to both a pet writer and a technology reporter.
One exception to that rule is writers who work for the same publication. Tempting as it may be, don’t send your release to more than one writer at a publication. This is a serious faux pas, and will build a very bad foundation for future press relationships. Rather, take the time to figure out whose style best fits your piece, and send it to them.
Make it easy for them to contact you
Above all, make sure that no matter what, your contact information is clearly printed on every press release you submit. Few things are more frustrating to a reporter than having a good press release and no way to contact the company for more information about it.
Searching for the right person is going to take a long time. But finding the right person for your press release will make it a lot easier to promote your business in the long run. Ensuring your release gets into the right hands is an investment that’s well worth the time spent.
Author: Jessica Cox and Michelle Pierce are graduates of the University of Oklahoma’s College of Journalism with a background in Internet marketing and writing for the Web. They currently provide PR services at Xeal Precision Marketing. Sign up for a free 25-point website evaluation and pick up crucial tips at Xeal’s free Thursday webinar at http://www.xeal.com/webinar.