Target relevant publications with your press release

Even before you start writing your press release, think who you want to read it and where you will send it. If you leave this until after you’ve written it, you could find that your press release is not suitable for the publication(s) you are targeting.

Taking a scattergun approach and sending it to everyone is not a good idea either. As a business journalist, I receive so many irrelevant press releases that waste my time. While I try to remain helpful at all times, sometimes this does stretch my patience too far.

Does this matter? Well, if it puts a journalist off reading anything you send them, it could mean you miss the one big opportunity when they are interested.

I am really grateful when people take the time to find out what news I am seeking.

Who is your audience?

Who do you want to hear your story?Who is your audience? | presume

Is it one group of people or more, eg young people and pensioners?

Different groups could be interested in different aspects for different reasons. They are likely to read different publications.

If so, you will need to tailor press releases for each type of publication to emphasise what interests individual groups.

If you don’t know who you want to reach,  you won’t know what they’re looking for and so won’t necessarily be providing what they want. It’s also a waste of resources to send press releases anywhere as they are unlikely to get published without a clear focus.

Perhaps your audience is small and limited to a specific sector served by just a few publications. Or else it could be much bigger and include large numbers of consumers who read different publications according to their age, interests, etc.

Knowing your audience enables you to target your resources more effectively and gives your press release a bigger chance of success.

Improve your PR results with basic research

My work as a freelance journalist constantly reminds me what businesses should and should not do to get press coverage.

Above all, the simplest thing anyone can do is find out the right person to receive a press release on a specific topic.

What surprises me is that even though direct dial telephone numbers and email addresses of journalists sometimes accompany articles they write, many people don’t think to look for these. How do I know? Because inappropriate press releases are often forwarded by one journalist to another.

Now, if you’ve spent 30 minutes, an hour, two hours or however long writing a press release – time that could have been spent earning money from your customers – it makes sense to ensure that it gets to the right person.

I’m a forgiving soul and look at most material I receive, but not everyone is.

So before you send: look for the right person, find out their contact details and address the press release to them personally.

Does it work? Yes, because many people are doing this and get through direct to me. It’s a good start because I know they have put some thought into what they’re doing, so probably have a good story to tell. They have established my interest.

I would also recommend researching target publications before starting to write a press release, because then you will know what type of articles they tend to publish and can tailor yours to suit their style.

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