How to Distribute a Press Release

Congratulations on writing your first press release! Now, you may wonder, “How do I distribute a press release?” 

This is a part of the process you may not necessarily learn in class. Read on for tips on distributing press releases, following up with reporters, and staying organized.

Recommended: We recommend eReleases if you want a well-written and widely distributed press release to help funnel in more customers and increase revenue for your business.

Woman using tablet that shows a bunch of press release options


Proof That Press Releases Work

Press releases announce business updates and promote newsworthy events, helping to persuade journalists to write about the issuing organization. In fact, a whopping 44 percent of journalists consider press releases as the most reliable source of brand-related content. According to Agility PR, US companies issue more than 3 million press releases per day.

Why Press Releases Matter:

  • They inform journalists about newsworthy content.
  • They can increase an organization’s brand awareness.
  • They can boost an organization’s search engine optimization (SEO) rankings.

Why is Distribution Important?

Thoughtful distribution of your press releases will increase its chances of generating potential media coverage. You must send your release to the right reporters at the right media outlets with the right target audience. There’s no use sending a press release regarding a professional football team to Vogue because this media outlet focuses on fashion, not sports.

Key questions to consider when adding publications to your distribution list:

  • What topics does this media outlet cover?
  • Who does this media outlet target?
  • Does your company’s news align with the media outlet’s focus area(s) and mission?

What You Should Know About Press Release Distribution

If you opt to manually distribute your press release to relevant reporters, you need to take a personalized approach. Reporters are people, too, and no one likes receiving a generalized email that looks like something you sent to hundreds of recipients. More importantly, you never want to address someone by the wrong name.

Here’s what you should include in a press release distribution email: 

  • The press release content pasted into the body of the email (Note: Never send a press release as an attachment unless a reporter specifically asks you to do so because attachments can quickly clog a reporter’s inbox). 
  • The name, email address, and phone number for the release’s main point of contact.
  • Links to any relevant, downloadable photos or graphics (Again, never send these items as attachments unless a reporter specifically asks you to do so).

How to Keep Your Distribution Organized

Start by creating a spreadsheet with separate columns for each media outlet’s title, the outlet’s website link, your target reporter’s name at that outlet, and their contact information. You should also include columns in which you can note if you sent the email, if the target reporter responded, and if you received media coverage (i.e., insert the resulting article link). 

Fill in the columns of your spreadsheet as you find relevant media outlets to which you want to send your release.

Your Press Release Distribution Checklist:

  1. Create a short, attention-grabbing email subject line. Typically, you can use some variation of your press release headline.
  2. Type the recipient’s first name at the top of your email to address them personally. Consider adding a brief note about why you think your announcement might interest them and their readers.
  3. Copy and paste your press release into the body of your email.
  4. Make formatting adjustments, as needed, so your message looks like a customized email as opposed to a form letter you sent to a large group.
  5.  Add your contact details or the press release contact’s name, email address, and phone number.

Other Ways to Promote Your Product or Event

While you can certainly find many ways to promote your business announcements, press releases represent the most efficient way to spread news. Beyond the traditional press release, you also can communicate your news by creating a media page on your website, sharing timely updates on your social media accounts and in online forums, and featuring news briefs in a company newsletter.

The top three ways to publicize your product or event include:

  • Emailing a tailored pitch directly to relevant journalists
  • Reaching out to influencers and community leaders
  • Creating an engaging video or blog post about your news

Final Recap

When you’re ready to distribute your press release, start by creating and populating a spreadsheet to track your target media outlets and progress. You also should compile any information you want to include beyond the release’s content. Next, draft your pitch email and highlight the parts you need to tailor to each recipient to create a personalized message. 

Finally, let the distribution begin! Remember to mark the media outlets to which you sent your release in the appropriate column. This will make it easier to pick up where you left off and conduct your follow-up efforts. 

Read our Best Press Release Distribution Service 2021 review to find the right press release distribution for your business’s specific needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I find the media outlets likely to be the best fit for my press release’s subject matter?

Conducting an online search for something as simple as “gardening magazines” or “publications about gardening” should do the trick. Yet, this sometimes will only yield a limited number of media outlets. In this case, you may need to visit or call your local gardening store and ask about their favorite publications. 

How do I find the right point of contact at a media outlet?

You can approach this in a variety of ways. First, look at the media outlet’s website to see if it has a contact page or, even better, an editorial team page that outlines how to contact reporters. Sometimes, news organizations don’t publicly display email addresses for individual reporters and instead provide a general email address for incoming press releases. 

You also may need to review a publication’s media kit (typically found in an outlet’s website footer) to find the right reporter and their contact details. If you already know the specific reporter you want to reach, but can’t find their email address, you also can try contacting them via social media. 

What if they don’t publish anything?

Even when you send a well-written press release to a reporter who covers topics related to your release’s subject matter, they’re not obligated to publish anything. To help increase the chances your press release will generate media coverage, you should send it to relevant reporters at multiple media outlets and work to build relationships with those journalists.

How do I know if any reporters published articles based on my press release?

First, check your email frequently and answer your phone when an unknown number appears. Journalists seeking more information may try to reach you via either channel. 

Second, open the spreadsheet you created to guide your distribution and regularly check each media outlet’s website for any articles related to your release. If/when you find coverage, add a link to the article in a separate column on your spreadsheet.

How often do I follow up?

As a best practice, send a follow-up email to your target reporters within four to seven business days of your initial message. Don’t bombard them with emails; if they don’t want to cover your news, then they likely won’t respond. Aim to follow up once, and then leave the rest up to fate.

What is a press release?

A press release is a brief statement that features a news announcement about — or from — an organization. Companies and other organizations use press releases to announce new product launches, earnings reports, management changes, and more. Press releases make it easier for journalists and news outlets to learn about potential news items to inform their reporting.

How do you end a press release?

The last section of a press release should include your press contact information. Specifically, it should feature your press contact name(s), phone number(s), and email address(es). 

How should you structure a press release?

Press releases typically contain six parts organized as follows:

  • The issuing organization’s logo along with its location and the date
  • An attention-grabbing headline
  • A succinct introduction with a strong lede statement
  • Three paragraphs of body content (in descending order of importance)
  • The organization’s boilerplate content
  • The press release contact information

Where do you send press releases?

Organizations distribute their press releases to relevant media contacts. This includes newspapers, magazines, radio stations, television networks, and online news sites, among others.

If you don’t want to spend your time tracking down relevant media outlets, submit your press releases to a press release distribution service like eReleases. Many of these distribution services also will offer to write your press releases. This can save you even more time and help ensure your company issues professionally written releases more likely to appeal to reporters.

Should I send a press release as a Microsoft® Word or PDF file?

Never send a press release as a PDF file. PDFs can prove challenging to format and likely will reduce the chance of a journalist reading and reporting on your news. Instead, submit your press release to a press release distribution service as a Microsoft Word (.doc/.docx) file. 

If you plan to send your release directly to a reporter, copy and paste its content directly into your email rather than including an attachment. Why? Most reporters dislike attachments because they can easily clog up their inboxes.

Do press releases work?

Yes, press releases do work. They also provide many benefits.

Besides the obvious benefit of sharing corporate news with media outlets to promote potential coverage, press releases also help businesses improve their search engine optimization (SEO) rankings and brand recognition. In addition, they can help companies increase sales and market share as well as enhance their credibility. 

Press releases also can serve as a tool for mitigating negative media coverage. Public relations firms often use them to help their clients improve their reputations.

Best Press Release Distribution Services

What is a press release?