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Placing Your Press Release in the Media

Free publicity is the Holy Grail for businesses. Creating an eye-catching press release is an effective way to achieve this, but it’s not as easy as it seems. Journalists and editors receive hundreds of press releases every week and it can be easy for yours to get lost in the pile. The good news is that there are a few tricks you can use to make yours stand out.

The Write Angle: Know what makes your business special. You may have found an innovative way to save your customers money, or won an award for customer service. Editors love a ready-made news angle, so hit them with it straight away.

Tailor-made: If you have a strong idea of where you’d like your press release to be seen, study the media outlet carefully. Find out which slots would fit your business best and the name of the journalist or editor involved in that slot.

Distribution lists: If you don’t feel your press release fits anywhere, why not try a free distribution list? Journalists regularly scour these to find news items that will fill a convenient hole. The lists divide the press releases into categories, which should make it easier for the right journalists to find you.

Make it easy to read: A short, snappy press release with a catchy headline will leap out at editors. Put your press release in the main body of your email so they don’t have to search for it. And hit them with your angle straight away; don’t make them scrabble for it.

Use clear, simple language: Editors are interested in news and will sniff out shameless self-promotion in an incident. Don’t load your press release with marketing speak. Use clear simple words and bold imagery to invite editors to read on.

Follow-Up: Once you’ve sent your press release in, chase it in the same way as you chase customers. Place calls to editors a couple of days after you have sent it to ensure that they’ve received it. If you don’t succeed with a publication the first time, it’s worth trying again in a couple of months when you have a new story to tell.

You may be chomping at the bit to reach all those readers and listeners, but the editor is your first audience. Give them what they want and they’ll be happy to give you a hearing. Good luck.

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Every business has a story. Your story helps your business stand out from the crowd. It's your story that customers ultimately buy into. I help businesses tell their story using a three-step process. Define the story: Identify what you do, how you do it and above all, why you do it? Refine the story: Decide who's interested in your story and where to spread the word. Deliver the story: through blogs, newsletters, mailshots, social media posts, press releases and brochures.

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  • Anonymous

    Overall agree with most of the points above, but there is nothing, repeat nothing, more annoying to a journalist that the call from the PR person ( typically an unfortunate junior ) asking ‘Did you get the press-release?’ If we’re interested we will respond in due course. I suggest also that you try to post to a service such as where journalists who are looking for stories will pick them up based on their interests. A pull strategy always works better than a push one – and nothing trumps building a long-term relationship with a journalist – one that effectively makes the press release redundant ultimately.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for this Derbhile. Can you list the free distribution lists please

  • I do like this post. When you add in the valuable comment from “the persuaders”, it starts to look like the makings of a small pamphlet…

  • Anonymous


    Free lists include (increases your web presence)

    Good advice persuaders. I was going on my own relationship with editors. Unless I ask them if they got my pitch, it tends to slip through the net and they often haven’t seen it. Overall, I advise people that if they want to get into a publication, then they should write their press release for that publication.

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