When I speak with clients who are new to PR, there are some common questions that tend to come up. Often, these are to do with the logistics of the best way to send out a press release. Here are a few tips to walk you through how to send a press release. I hope you find them helpful and if you have any questions please get in touch.
What should my press release say?
The purpose of a press release is to give journalists all the information they need to decide whether to cover your story. Keep it concise and include all the key details of your story: what, when, who, why, where, how. For a template press release to give you a clear structure to follow, check out my resources page.
Should I send my press release as an attachment or in the body of my email?
I always recommend including the text of your press release in the body of your email. This means the journalist can easily see the information even when they’re on the move. Attachments can sometimes go astray, get stuck in spam filters or clutter up inboxes.
How should I send my supporting images?
Having a selection of supporting images that could go alongside your story can help your chances of securing coverage. However, large attachments can be blocked by email filters meaning your release might not get through. Unless a journalist has specifically requested otherwise, send these as non-expiring links rather than attachments (Dropbox or Flickr usually work well). Some people use WeTransfer but if the journalist saves your release for a later date, the images may have expired by the time they come to download them. Remember, your pictures may be shared with the picture desk separately from your email. Make sure all image files are labelled with any key information and credits.
When should I send my press release?
This will depend on the specific story and when you’re intending coverage to appear. But do remember that different types of publications have different lead times. For example, monthly magazines tend to work six months in advance – so you need to be talking to them about Christmas in July! Weekly magazines can be more like six weeks. While newswires might get a story out on the same day they receive it.
Should I include an embargo?
Sometimes an embargo is necessary. For example, when a scientific study is due to be published, the information is usually shared under embargo before the paper is out. This gives the journalists time to write up the story. However, if there’s no specific reason why your information can’t appear before a specific date, I’d usually recommend against an embargo.
Should I BCC my press release to my whole list?
Some people do BCC their press releases but it’s not best practice. This is usually a result of having press lists that are too large. It will take too long to send individual emails so people BCC their whole list instead. There are a few problems with this. Firstly, this makes it very obvious (if it wasn’t already) that you are sending your release far and wide rather than specifically targeting a few key publications. There’s also the risk that you accidentally CC (not BCC) your contacts and they can all see who else the release has been sent to. As well as being mildly embarrassing, this is probably a GDPR issue. Mass emails sent using BCC can also be more likely to end up in spam folders so it might not even reach your targets.
Instead, individual and personalised emails are much better. If you do need to send your story to a large list, I recommend using Mail Merge to personalise your approach. This way you can still address each email to the recipient’s name and include relevant information, such as which of their recent features made you think this story might be for them.
I hope you found this useful. If you have more questions about your press release distribution, why not book an Ask Me Anything session to run through your questions and concerns? I’d be happy to help.