After you write a new hire press release, what do you do?

One of the most popular posts on our blog is our How to Write a New Hire Press Release article. But what happens after you have learned how to write the press release? What do you do with it? Where do you send it and how?

How do I develop a media list to send my new hire release to?

I work as a “content writer” for a small consulting firm. I’m relatively new and still learning the ropes. I was recently tasked with writing a press release announcing our newest hire. I’m struggling to find appropriate media outlets to submit this press release to. How many outlets should I contact? Which newspapers are the most appropriate? What if I can’t find their submission guidelines; should I just send them a regular email with the press released attached? 

I haven’t written the press release yet; I still need to interview the new hire. But in the meantime, I thought I would try finding some outlets to submit to. This is proving more difficult than I would have hoped. Unfortunately, my superiors haven’t given me much guidance in this area, so I’m kind of figuring this all out on my own. I’m hoping that someone will have a list of media outlets that our company commonly uses, but in case they don’t, I could really use some advice as to where to start looking. I’m totally in the dark here.

Being given a task such as media release distribution when you’ve never done this before can be overwhelming. Yet it doesn’t have to seem so gigantically impossible.

Common sense approach to developing a media distribution list

Check into your local media outlets including print and digital business news outlets and business e-newsletters. Ask people at your company who they rely on for their local business news. Then visit the outlet’s website and get the information regarding how to submit your news. Some outlets want an email with all the details and a photo, and some can get it themselves if you point to a post on your website using a specific URL. If you cannot post your release to your website, you might look into using Tiny by PitchEngine.  Using their service, you can post your news and photos and then tweet the Tiny Pitch URL directly to the news outlets in your area.

If you’re looking to send email directly to journalists and outlets, be aware, most do not accept attachments, and prefer to get all items within an email or be able to go to a specific URL (as outlined above) to download the image and release. Read our post about online media rooms.

Using Twitter, you can create a list of your contacts and then begin to follow them and get to know them. Learn what journalists Tweet about, read their stories and their other social feeds. Create a relationship with them by commenting positively on their posts, or engaging them in conversation regarding their topics. Never forget they are people first. Not simply an outlet.

Above all else, do not spam journalists. Only send the new hire release to those who are tasked with accepting this type of news. 

Composing a media list is not hard. You simply need to use some common sense. Need more insights? Read our post on how to create a compelling pitch.

If you would prefer not to do all the heavy lifting yourself, give us a jingle. We’ll we pleased to send your firm’s new hire news to the media.

Photo credit:       Glenn Carstens-Peters

When to Send a Media Alert Rather Than a Press Release

Over the last several years I’ve written a number of times about press releases. We’ve discussed online newsrooms, and how to develop and pitch story ideas and how press releases support your pitches. But I don’t think I’ve written about the press releases’ brother, the media alert which is sometimes called a media advisory.

What and when to send a media alert

A media alert is best used to call attention to an event that has components suitable for visual media coverage. That means television, digital media like blogs and more traditional print media such as newspapers and magazines.

Media alerts can be created from some of the content used in your press release but their format is quite different. They are not press releases. They are more direct and to the point. A media alert is precise and describes for the editor what visually interesting events will happen and why the outlet might want to assign a videographer, news reporter or photographer cover it. Of special interest to media is a chronology of events taking place so they may cover the visually compelling parts of the event. Frequently television news media don’t have time to hang out for an hour, but want to capture video of the visually rich bits. So help them out by providing a schedule that allows them to dispatch a videographer to capture what they want.

The advisory also contains a list of entities participating in the photo op and the organizer’s contact information so the reporter may call to get credentials organized or get more information. It’s also helpful to include a map, directions or link to a map to help media find the event location easily.

Who should get a media advisory?

Media alerts are generally sent to television news and assignment editors or reporters covering specific beats.

You can view a great example of an online media advisory from NASA. You’ll notice how NASA is making great use of the web as a hub for their advisory. This way they can tweet, post and share the content without having to send the alert as an attachment or inline content. Media interested can use the information and access it from any location or with any device.

Click through to view an example from 2013 which we created for our client. [PDF] We invited the media to a behind the scenes rehearsal event. During the event, media were able to observe an opera rehearsal and meet performers. This event resulted in great coverage because of the event’s unique nature. Generally visual media don’t get invited “backstage.”

The other time you may want to send a media alert out is if you have a “presser” or a press conference. Generally these types of events are highly news-worthy and timely. Below you can view an image of a media advisory sent to media in advance of a press conference held years ago. You’ll note that the lead-in explains the reasons for the event and who will be there.

Media Advisory Example News Story

Information to include in your advisory

Always to be sure to explain the Ws: Who, What, When, Where, Why. And describe the event so the news editor understands why your event is worthy of coverage.

Do you have questions about when to use media alerts and advisories? Just ask below in the comments and I’ll be glad to answer.

Public Relations is Not Media Relations and Vice Versa

Video taping a news interview

It’s highly unlikely that your business will be covered in mainline media

Have you ever said to yourself, “If I could get some PR then more people would buy our services/products.”

What you probably meant was if your potential customers could read an article about your company or view a video segment about your company or listen to an interview with your CEO, then they might be more interested in your company.

Did you know that the likelihood of your getting your business covered by a broadcast news outlet or by your daily newspaper is low?

Getting coverage in the news is based on newsworthy events and happenings, not just being in business. Read more about what news is and isn’t.

I’ve observed that business owners are often focused solely on one aspect of PR, that of media relations—and they think this is all that there is to PR. Even more specifically, they are focused on trying to get members of the media to write or broadcast stories about one’s business or products in the news or in magazines. Read more about suggesting story ideas to the media.

“Many people use the terms public relations and media relations interchangeably; however, doing so is incorrect. Media relations refer to the relationship that a company or organization develops with journalists, while public relations extend that relationship beyond the media to the general public.” Read the Wikipedia article on media relations.

Public relations is not necessarily media relations

Media relations is a specific area of public relations practice in which PR firms, or company representatives interface with members of media covering a specific industry segment or topic. Sometimes that involves suggesting story ideas to a reporter or blogger. Sometimes it involves answering a journalist’s questions about a crisis in your business. Rarely does it involve sending unsolicited press releases to a broad range of reporters in hopes one of them will just reprint your release.

Getting coverage in the media is more about crafting story ideas on topics of interest to a news outlets viewers, listeners or watchers.

Public relations beyond media relations

Because most business owners have the entire Web at their disposal, there are more efficient ways to share news and information about your company and your innovations with the public.

These days if you want to have your CEO interviewed, you can do that and record it and publish it to SoundCloud and distribute it yourself via the social web. Want to have your new product featured in a video? Shoot the video and post it to YouTube. Want to call attention to your radical new shipping methods? Write a blog post on the topic. Read more about how to gain new earned media placement.

Don’t wait for members of the “Fourth Estate” to cover your business. Create your own content.

Implement a few of these PR and media relations tactics to increase visibility and awareness of your firm.

  • Writing and publishing blog posts on your company blog
  • Sharing a story idea with a journalist or reporter who covers your industry segment
  • Supporting a story idea with a well written, specific press release
  • Making a Twitter list of bloggers who write about your industry
  • Getting to know local TV, radio and newspaper reporters on Twitter
  • Publishing a white paper of valuable information for your customers
  • Partnering with another local business to host an event
  • Making presentations for clubs, organizations, professional associations
  • Presenting free, educational seminars
  • Participating in appropriate social media channels
  • Sharing your blog posts via social media
  • Having a complete website with photos of your products; general fact sheets and downloadable materials about your company

These outdated practices should no longer be used by your or your PR consultant.

  • Sending out hundreds of press releases to long lists of journalists
  • Bugging reporters to write about your business
  • Calling reporters to find out when they will write about your business
  • Expecting news coverage because you are in business
  • Expecting that because you advertise, you’ll get an article published about your firm (Yes, there are some pay to play publications. Ignore them.)

For questions about what PR can do for your company, or how to use your own publishing power to gain attention for your company, contact me.