Your press release is drafted, approved by the relevant parties and is ready to be distributed to journalists. There’s only one problem… you’re not sure who to send it to!
This is a common issue for many businesses. The main aim of sending a press release is to generate positive coverage for you. If you circulate your release to the wrong journalists then you may as well not bother sending it at all. It’s important to identify the correct journalists working at the media outlets of interest to both your business and your target audiences, so you can sell it to them in a way that encourages them to give you column inches.
The good news is there are journalists out there who are interested in your business and what you’ve got to say… you just need to find them. Here’s how:
- Do a general search: Before you begin the steps outlined below, do a general online search about news across your industry to identify publications and journalists that have previously written about it. Look at coverage obtained by competitors, blogs posted relating to your specific area of expertise and industry outlets / journalists that may be of use to you.
- Research your publications: You need to know your target publications very well before you send them anything. Research the editorial team, who they’re talking to, the frequency they talk to them (daily, weekly, monthly) and what platforms they use to communicate with their readers i.e. digital or print. All of these variants can be used to target the correct publications and journalists effectively.
- Access copies of your target media: Looking through previous editions of the publications you’re trying to target can help you gain direct access to names and contact details of the journalists you need to talk to.
- Use free online sources: Websites such as Media.info provides you with easy access to radio, televison, newspaper and magazine media outlets. This website not only records details of the outlets, it offers users direct links to websites that will help you find names and contact details of journalists so you can identify the right ones for you.
- Test your headline: Using search engines like Google to test the headline of your press release can prove to be useful in identifying any publications or journalists that write specifically on your industry and topic.
- Use social media: Platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter can help you source names and contact details of individual journalists and publications relevant to you. Use these free tools to your advantage by doing a general key word search.
- Subscribe to a media database: This can be very useful but also extremely expensive. There are a number of online databases out there that will provide you with a full list of journalists at a click of a button.
One thing to remember is that journalists want to be found. Their job is to hear your story and as long as it appeals to their readers and the timing is right, they’ll print it on your behalf.
By Kathryn Dishman, Managing Director, KD Communications.
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