Should you use a Press Release Distribution Service or Do it Yourself?

So you’ve written a spectacular press release, but don’t know if you should use a press release distribution service or handle the distribution yourself. 

With so many different press release distribution services and media outlets, how do you choose? This article will help you determine the right path forward for your specific needs.

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.

Stacks of newspapers


Press Release Distribution Services Really Work

Press release distribution services have the potential to reach around 100,000 media outlets worldwide. This means such services can send your release to more reporters than the average person can via email.

These services also can reach premium outlets to which you may not have regular access to. Moreover, some press release distribution services have advanced targeting features that help you choose the best media targets for your specific news.

Reasons to Use a Press Release Distribution Service Instead of Manual Distribution:

  • They have greater potential reach.
  • They provide a more targeted distribution. 
  • They offer access to premium media outlets.
  • They provide proofreading services.
  • Some offer professional writing services.
Read our Best Press Release Distribution Service 2021 review to find the right press release distribution for your business’s specific needs.

The Importance of Targeted Press Release Distribution

You could have an extremely newsworthy announcement, but it may generate little to no coverage if you send it to the wrong media outlets. If you pitch a press release about your local business expansion to a gardening magazine, for example, that publication very likely will ignore your news because it’s not relevant to its readers. 

While press release distribution services can reach a broad and highly targeted  audience, you can always supplement that with personalized emails to any relevant reporters with which you have existing relationships. This dual approach can help boost your chances of sparking media interest in covering your news. 

Why Targeted Distribution Is Important:

  • Sending releases with content that may not suit a specific media outlet’s readership will lower your chances of generating coverage.
  • Distributing your news to a finite number of media outlets also can reduce  your chances of generating coverage.
  • While there’s no guarantee that reporters who receive your release will write about it, using a service with a targeted distribution can help increase the likelihood that someone may cover your news.

What You Should Know About Press Release Distribution

When forming a distribution plan for your press release, consider its topic and target audience. Then, choose media outlets that serve that specific target audience. 

Key Factors To Consider:

  • Unordered list (most important fact)
  • Unordered list (next most important fact)
  • Unordered list (next most important fact)

How to Distribute a Release Yourself

If you opt to handle distribution of your press releases yourself, start by creating a list of media outlets that serve your target audience. Next, do some research to identify the most appropriate reporter at each media outlet so you can add their names and contact information to your target media list. 

Once you complete your list, it’s time to format your press release emails.

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.

How Else Can You Generate Interest in Your News?

Beyond creating and distributing press releases, you also can generate interest in your business via social media, online forums, and word of mouth. 

The top three ways to promote your timely news:

  • Send tailored pitches to relevant journalists.
  • Reach out to relevant industry and/or social media influencers.
  • Create engaging social media posts surrounding your announcement, event, or product launch. The stronger your post’s visual and textual content, the greater the chance it may go viral.

Final Recap

Paying a press release distribution service to issue your release can save you time and help increase the likelihood that relevant reporters may write about your news. 

But, distributing a release yourself may give you an extra boost in some situations. If you have any existing relationships with relevant journalists, a personalized email to them regarding your news may help spark some interest. 

Both distribution approaches represent valid options. While press release distribution services offer many benefits, distributing your news yourself can prove useful as a supplement to a service’s digital distribution or in a situation where you already know all the relevant reporters.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if sending a release myself or using a distribution service is right for me?

While there’s no one answer for every situation, we  recommend you send your release to any reporters with which you have existing relationships in addition to  using a distribution service. But, if you don’t have a lot of time to spend on distribution, using a service may work better for you.

Which service should I use?

No one service will suit all press releases. Instead, you must choose what will work best for your business needs and each individual announcement. For instance, you might prefer a free distribution service if you have a tight budget. Carefully review the pros and cons of each service before making a final selection.

Is it bad if I distribute the press release myself?

There’s no right way or wrong way to distribute press releases. But, because each release is different, you may want to alter your distribution approach based on the announcement’s content and target audience. 

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

 Start by setting up Google Alerts™ to email you whenever your product, event, or announcement appears in online news. Some press releases distribution services will notify you of media coverage, but you also may need to physically check each of your target media outlets’ websites..

How can I ensure media outlets will publish my news?

You can’t. Reporters have no obligation to write about any press releases they receive — no matter how well-written or newsworthy. Even if you have a professional relationship with a specific reporter or news outlet, that won’t guarantee coverage. But, using a press release distribution service can help ensure your release reaches relevant reporters most likely to have an interest in your news.

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, events, 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 first — or “lede” — statement
  • Three paragraphs of body content (in descending order of importance)
  • The organization’s boilerplate content
  • The press 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 Word doc 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 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 their 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?