The right attitude for sending a press release

I write a number of press releases for start-ups and SMEs who haven’t got the budget to engage with a press relations agency. More often than not though I’m asked, ‘What’s next?’, ‘What’s the best way of getting it published?’

While I’m happy to discuss the convenience of using the many press release distribution services, I’m always pretty keen on discussing the merits of a more direct and targeted approach as well.

If you’re a small, local business serving a specific geographic area, then you’ll already know the daily or weekly newspapers or monthly magazines that are most relevant to you and your customers in the locality.

Or if you’ve a product selling nationally to UK consumers, then you’ll likely already have a pretty good idea of the kinds of magazines and websites that review your type of product from time to time.

And if you’re selling business-to-business, nationally or even internationally, then you’ll probably be aware of the most relevant trade magazines and websites that your customers read.

All this different media, whether it’s local, consumer or trade, will have an editorial team, with editors and reporters responsible for different topics of interest. You’ll find them listed on their websites, with email addresses and phone numbers. And if they’re not, then you’ll find a ‘newsdesk’ or similar.

So you’ve done your bit of online and customer research, you’ve identified the most relevant media and the best contacts to send your press release to – so what now? Above all else I recommend, you now need to adopt the right attitude…

Be reasonable

Understand upfront that the editors you’re emailing, or calling, are busy people just like you. They can receive 100’s of press releases every week, they’ve lots to follow up on and there’s immovable deadlines pending – all of the time. So the amount of time, and ultimately page space, they can afford you is limited and it might just be that your timing isn’t right. That’s life I’m afraid.

And do bear in mind as well that there is absolutely no contract between you and the editor, no obligation – you are not paying for an advertising space and placing an advert.  You are not in control. Editorial coverage (based on your press release content) is free and at the complete discretion of the editorial team.

Be objective

And just like your press release has been written in a completely objective, news-oriented and non-promotional fashion, so must be your interaction with the media at all times. Please don’t try to oversell or hype the news that your press release is delivering, be straight and honest, don’t be ‘pushy’. Why court rejection?

If it’s really newsworthy, relevant and well timed then it might just be of interest to the editor, it’ll be considered on its own merits.

Remember too that other local and national news is always breaking and might well be far more important. It happens. Your own piece of news needs to be kept in perspective. Consider the bigger picture – just like the editor has to.

Be helpful

So yes, you’ve provided a well-written, newsworthy press release and a great photograph to go with it, it’s been well received by the right editor and he might well use it – what more do you need to do?

Well it depends, unless you’ve provided an editor with your press release on some kind of ‘exclusive’ basis, he’ll want if possible to run the story with a little something extra that his rival media hasn’t got.

Yes, he will re-write your headline, he will edit your story, but he might also want to get a completely different quote from you, he might want additional information not contained in the press release, he might want to send a photographer to you.

Be helpful. He’s spared you the time to consider your press release, if he wants to add some additional value to the story, you need to help him do just that.

And be happy

And once your press release does succeed in generating coverage in your target press be thankful, be happy… then do it all again. The next time, the editor might just remember you and know you’ve got just the right kind of attitude 😉