At PR Distribution, we keep a close eye on how our client’s pieces and articles do. In fact, we’ve been tracking this information for years. And many of our team worked in a variety of marketing roles before joining PR Distribution. Therefore, we have seen both sides of the press release distribution coin.
Oftentimes, it can be more effective to directly pitch a single reporter or journalist. Press release distribution services, such as PRDistribution.com, will help you get in the door. And they may surprise you with the type of reach they have. Of course, it is almost a given that establishing direct connections with journalists is important, particularly if their beat happens to be your niche or industry.
Many times, our clients have had their press pieces published and were able to establish a dialogue through that. Often, journalists will inquire for further confirmation or elaboration on some point. We always advise that you be forthright with journalists, to a reasonable degree within the context of your marketing strategy, of course.
Having the option to manually reach out and create a second or third touch after a press release is always an advantage. We recommend finding out where the journalist is more active. This is also contextual by industry, of course. Many journalists are active on Twitter. This is a great to way to get publicly noticed by multiple individuals.
Email is almost a given. Most journalists will have their emails listed. This is often preferable to a phone call. We actually advise that you be very careful in direct contact by phone until a relationship has been established. This is just good etiquette.
If you want to go the long route, you can also use your own company as a news outlet, although this takes quite some investment of time and resources. For the most part, we recommend that you be persistent and not “spammy”. For example, rarely do we encourage posting links to news in comments sections because this behavior is increasingly hard to separate from bot activity. There are exceptions to this in moderated, active environments.
Use your judgment!
You may have heard that press release distribution services will provide you with metrics for how your press piece has performed in the media. This is true. However, the quality and depth of these reports will vary by outlet.
PR Distribution offers a more in depth look at performance than most, and links to published articles are quite easy to find. We always do recommend that you dig into your actual published pieces and do company-specific analysis. Again, no one knows your niche and your objectives better than you and your team.
That being said, the analytics provided by PR Distribution and similar press release services are a great starting point for discovering where you may fit within the industry landscape. For example, if you purchase the monthly package, your first two press releases may tell you what kind of keywords journalists and readers gravitate toward, or don’t. The next press pieces you release would then follow that information. There is a definite numbers aspect to press release distribution, particularly at the start of a PR strategy or campaign.
Of course, content is incredibly important here. At the outset, you want to present an informative, valuable piece of reporting. We highly recommend hiring experienced writers, such as those from PR Writing, and to make sure those writers are experienced in creating content for your industry.
Don’t leave it all to the writers, though. It is critically important that you and your team take the time to understand what outlets you are reaching out to and what the specific reporters or journalists are looking for. We recommend following up where possible and to take time to customize pitches and outreach messages. We have seen this multi-touch approach greatly enhance our clients’ success rates in PR.
The last thing you want to do is to get flagged as a poor source of information about your own industry or company. If you do not have someone on staff who can properly vet or strategize a PR campaign, start by going over the many free resources online, such as our Resource Center, to get a good idea of what makes a useful press release. Our advice is always to stick to the facts and to find the facts that connect to whoever is reading the article, and highlight those. Too often, we see press releases trying to stretch non-news or highly irrelevant news. This will be damaging in the long-term, even if it garners short term attention.
The good news is that a quick look through Google for industry news in your niche will tell you in broad strokes most of what you need to be creating viable news for your industry. After a while, you should be able to spot a press release almost instantly. Chances are, if you’re a rising company in your industry, what matters to you will also matter to your clientele. Trust your judgment!
Good luck campaigning. When you have your press pieces ready to fire, head on over to PR Distribution to see how you can use our leading network of journalists to get your news out there.