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Apryl
08-26-2004, 02:16 AM
Hiya Writers!

Is there a thread I've missed on where to submit press releases? I've got a client who wants me to create some, and was wondering if anyone knew of a good service that newspapers and other publications traditionally pull from. When I GOOGLED, there seem to be many paid services out there, but I'm unsure which are reputable. PRWEB said it was a free service, but once you put up your PR, they send you email asking for money to give it the best distribution. I'm going in blind and need some help! I don't mind paying, but don't want to get "taken." Does anyone here have any good experience to share or a reference I can turn to?

Thanks!

apryl@mailblocks.com

Tish Davidson
08-26-2004, 09:22 AM
Part of doing PR is developing lists of specific target media outlets that suit different clients and their products. The targets will be appropriate because they have a local tie-in, are specific to the client's product (e.g. a home improvement magazine for a new home improvement gizmo), target a particular age group (modern maturity, the seniors insert of large newspapers). Then you have to get the press release to the right person at the organization. Big newspapers get literally dozens and dozens of press releases daily. Often then, the PR person does a follow-up call to the person that received the press release. It takes a lot of time to develop these lists and do the follow-up which is one reason why PR people charge a lot - it isn't just the writing the client is paying for.

You can get lists of local newspapers off the Web. There are also directories that large libraries have that give you the newspaper address and editor info and the circulation.

You can brainstorm about other outlets that might have a connection to the client and look for them on the Web, too.

Lorne
01-08-2005, 01:08 AM
You might also consider sending the release to your local Associated Press office. That office will evaluate your story for relevance (local, regional, statewide, national, world) and disseminate it to all of its subscribing news outlets within the relevant area. There is no charge for this service - you're making their job easier.

You can locate your local AP office here:

[link=http://www.ap.org/pages/contact/contact_pr.html newwindow]

You could also send it to other newswires, such as Reuters, College Press Service or Canadian Press, but many pubs subscribe to more than one, and they'll just end up getting the same story from multiple newswires.

It's been my experience that exclusively relying on newswires leaves too much to chance, so I'd also echo Tish's sentiments about making editorial contacts in your local media and submit your release directly to those contacts. Besides, once you make a few friends in the editorial department, you'll find future releases are accepted a bit more warmly.

Lorne

Apryl
01-10-2005, 04:43 AM
Thanks, Tish and Lorne, for your great advice. I'll definitely work to garner more editorial contacts, and check out the Ap service. More of my clients are wanting PRs done, and each has a different market. There's no one-size-fits-all category, but that's what makes life interesting, no?

Zee
03-26-2005, 12:50 AM
Good advice here, and I am in general agreement. Online, a couple of services that I use are PRWeb and PRLeap, also Reuters, Associated Press. But I'm a big believer in localizing, not in the big bang. I have seen sites that sell services to authors and would-be authors that offer a kind of big blast effect. They cite big numbers, how many newspapers, etc., they hit with a blizzard of press releases about your book, for instance.

Well.......

Since I work with the media every day, and I produce press releases on a regular basis, I've gotten to see how the process works. Releases can end up in a slush pile just like manuscripts. Too many and you end up being ignored. The cry wolf effect, you might say. Media see so, so many releases. The general rule is to have a local hook. If your news isn't of local interest to that particular community of readers, you are generally wasting your time.

How to localize? It takes time, effort, research. There are many ways, but first, you have to get to know your market. Their wants, their needs. How do you fit in? And, in this day and age of technology, nothing beats a personal touch. Networking counts, connections matter, and adding a personality to your approach, a friendly face when possible, now that almost always gets results!

I believe you are better off focusing on a specific rather than an overly general market. I would rather send fewer releases out, targeted to a well-researched market, accompanied by personalized follow-up contacts, than simply generate a blizzard of releases to a long list of..... media wastebaskets.

Zee

ccwriter
04-07-2005, 06:48 AM
Thanks, Folks! Great tips there, which I will be sure to work on and incorporate.

miles111
04-07-2005, 07:39 PM
I agree with Tish:
<Part of doing PR is developing lists of specific target media outlets that suit different clients and their products...It takes a lot of time to develop these lists and do the follow-up which is one reason why PR people charge a lot - it isn't just the writing the client is paying for.>

Where I work we get tons of press releases. Many of them are simply junk. Many of the writers distributing this stuff obviously don't know much about media, otherwise they'd match the message to the outlet much more closely.

Other writers don't have a clue about how to format their message in a way that makes it useful. In such a case the message quickly ends up in the wastebasket. When this happens I feel sorry for the business owners who paid to have the release written, they deserve better.

As Tish said, this can be done, but it takes time and work. Thatís the only way to get results. Stringing pretty words together is only the beginningóitís just the ante.

Just my two cents worth.

Good Word
04-10-2005, 02:58 PM
Apryl, it might help (who knows, worth a shot) to list some specific markets that you are working in. Maybe there are folks here that know about them?

Lisa

HZW
09-30-2005, 03:53 AM
Try mondotimes.com
It's a great source for media contacts in every city, every state and out of the country. It gives you the names of newspapers, magazines, t.v. news stations and radio stations and with each name, you can go into each site and get addresses, contact information, etc. It's been a tremendous source of help to me as I acquire media contacts for my book promotion run.

Jack Christopher
12-02-2005, 01:13 AM
I read the one about that Zee wrote and was happy to see that what she said was accurate.

The other two before were accurrate as well. Zee said 'accompanied by personalized follow-up contacts.' That would be about a half-dozen contacts to make sure that your PR was read and given consideration.

If you read about PR and how to do it everyone says to follow up on PR releases. Through the follow up I'm sure that you will 'garner' those precious contacts.

But like I said a half-dozen contacts after the submission should allow you to get known by the people who decide on what to with your PR releases.

UKREVIEWER
12-20-2005, 09:08 PM
Can any of you recommend any good sources/links explaining 'the correct' style to write a press release?

Tracy-Jane

willwrite4food
01-18-2007, 07:49 AM
Good thread. I'm writing press releases for an agency who has a furniture client. They wanted to distribute a release through PR Newswire and I checked on the rates. It seemed really pricey for mass distribution (for a 400 word release) when they really should just be sending the release out to a specific group of media. The agency I work with is a small boutique agency who doesn't have any PR staff so they are outsourcing the PR work.

My predicament is this -- do I suggest that they work on building their own list and then duck and run when they ask me if I can do it? It seems expensive for them to pay me my hourly rate when I would be building a list and not writing/revising. Plus I honestly don't know if I would have the time to do it when I'm also writing for my local newspaper and a parenting website on a regular basis.

Didn't mean to hijack the post, just saw one related to PR and jumped on it!

limitedtimeauthor
01-18-2007, 08:07 AM
This is a good question, Willwrite, and one that I've been wondering about too. Thanks for bringing it up.

I don't particularly want to offer distribution service. Public Relations is a whole other business, and I want to stick to writing. But I would like to know, in general, who I could refer clients to. So far, I've worked with companies who have marketing departments - they just needed some freelance writing help. But what if a smaller company asks for a press release?


ltd.

Cincinnatiwriter
02-28-2007, 08:05 PM
It all pays the bills.

Press Release writing can be highly creative if you're launching a new product or promoting a fun event. Have you ever looked at some of the great press kits the media people receive? I used to work in tv and we got some fantastic kits...some tied to a gimmick like a gallon of ice cream for the newsroom announcing the opening of a new ice cream store location. Think outside the box.

As to "correct style" use the inverted pyramid. Answer all the logical questions in it. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE CORRECT CONTACT INFORMATION FOR 24/7. Unless your client is a bank or legal office, you can loosen it up. For special events clients I use a "Media Advisory" style rather than a News Release. Sometimes I just use the phone if it's breaking news. Sometimes for the smaller community papers I actually "write" a newspaper story they can just drop into their story count.

PR writing is just one component of what I offer. Distribution is fairly easy to manage, after all you read the newspapers, local magazines already don't you?

Don't limit yourself. Try it! By the way, once you've received the project, done the work, and RECEIVED THE CHECK, you may not want to be " just a writer like in one of the posts". I'm a writer too. It can be a long time between submissions of book ideas, article proposals etc. Copywriting, in fact all writing, exercises the creative sides in us.I turn on the computer everyday and write something. Today my project list includes a website copy for a client, a brochure for a local bank, and maybe an article query for our state travel magazine... Afterall, isn't that why we do this? Oh and to pay for my two daughter's college bills.......

My two cents....

Peg

limitedtimeauthor
02-28-2007, 08:57 PM
Who are you responding to, Cincinnati?

Tish Davidson
02-28-2007, 10:59 PM
It all pays the bills.

Press Release writing can be highly creative if you're launching a new product or promoting a fun event. Have you ever looked at some of the great press kits the media people receive? I used to work in tv and we got some fantastic kits...some tied to a gimmick like a gallon of ice cream for the newsroom announcing the opening of a new ice cream store location. Think outside the box.

As to "correct style" use the inverted pyramid. Answer all the logical questions in it. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE CORRECT CONTACT INFORMATION FOR 24/7. Unless your client is a bank or legal office, you can loosen it up. For special events clients I use a "Media Advisory" style rather than a News Release. Sometimes I just use the phone if it's breaking news. Sometimes for the smaller community papers I actually "write" a newspaper story they can just drop into their story count.

PR writing is just one component of what I offer. Distribution is fairly easy to manage, after all you read the newspapers, local magazines already don't you?

....

Peg


I used to cover the toy industry, so I know all about innovative press kits. Some are very, very annoying (think melting ice cream). But whether they work or not, they are quite expensive for the client. Plus, you are getting into another area completely that has little to do with writing and everything to do with marketing. Some writers enjoy the non-writing aspects like doing the follow-up (or if you are on the receiving end, the pestering) phone calls. Others are shocked that writing the press release and sending it out to the local paper and maybe a mass media outlet isn't enough. If you have an outgoing sales-type personality, then PR may be a great well-paying venue for you, but anyone who is offering press release services ought to go into it seeing that the work goes well beyond the actual words on the page. It really is a sub-specialty of marketing.

limitedtimeauthor
03-08-2007, 07:02 PM
I still have a question about whether there are writers who write the press release and leave distribution up to the company. I haven't (and don't really want to) get into the distribution side. I don't just work locally, so I would have to dig up info on the local papers of every city and state of the companies I write for.

Are there distribution-only companies out there? Or are PR companies the only option? Maybe what I will need to do is freelance for the PR companies. Hmm.

TIA.

ltd.

acousticgroupie
03-24-2007, 02:45 PM
local has always been easy for me. i don't get PR Newswire anymore...it used to be decent but i do understand paying but nothing is targeted...

MJWare
06-20-2008, 07:08 AM
Just to add my 2 cents. I've had good success with PRweb. Their rates keep going up, but with a good hook you can get lots of coverage.

Also, I started creating my own list of contacts, which I send out my releases to; kind'a my own personal PR list of guys (and gals) who know me personally and are more likely to write about what I am doing.

You might try looking for a PRweb free trial offer. I had one for a free $80 press release.