If you’ve followed our guide on how to write a press release for your event, then you should now be ready to distribute it far and wide.
In this guide, we’ll go through the different options you have for how to distribute your event press release, as well as how to increase the likelihood of it being featured.
1. Hire a PR agency
The most common way to distribute a press release for an event is via a PR agency. Their job is to be well-connected, so they’ll already have a long list of media outlets to send it out to.
Not only do they have the contacts, but they also know how to approach them in a way that increases the likelihood of your press release actually getting featured.
You can even take it a step further and have the PR agency help you write the press release itself. They will have experience with that, since it’s also part of their job description.
Sounds too good to be true? That’s because it’s not free.
A good PR agency will know what to charge for their services. The more services you require, the higher the price will be.
Another drawback of using PR agencies is that not all media outlets like dealing with them. Some outlets will prefer a personal touch and find agencies too “corporate.”
Tip: Use this list of the top 35 PR agencies in the UK to get started.
2. Use a press release distribution service
A press release distribution service is a platform that allows you to send out your press release to a long list of media contacts. It’s usually a much cheaper option than hiring a PR agency.
You’ll be able to filter media outlets and journalists by category. That’s very handy and will help you target your press release at the people that are most likely to feature it.
Both PR agencies and distribution platforms will help you to reach a vast audience. However, a distribution service is just that: distribution. No personal touch and no follow-up.
Critics have argued that it’s pointless to use a press release distribution service because it amounts to little more than spamming media outlets.
Tip: Take a look at this list of the 13 best press release distribution agencies in the UK for 2019.
3. Use social media
It should go without saying that you’ll want to use social media to promote your press release. But we’ll say it anyway.
The first and foremost reason you should post your press release on social media is that it’s free to use (unless you supplement with paid promotions).
Plus many (if not most) journalists and bloggers live there. They use social media to discover new stories, businesses, and trends. You might also be able to reach said journos easier on social media than you would on their email. Indeed, many PR agencies reach them in that way.
As with anyone else on social media, it’s crucial that you treat them as people and not as spam-receptors. Engage with their content and try to build a meaningful relationship.
Here’s how you should structure your press release on the different social media platforms:
- Twitter: Write a 140-280 character press release and accompany it with an image.
- Facebook: Keep your press release to 90 characters (so it doesn’t get cut off) and add an image.
- Instagram: Post an image of the press release and add a max 15-second video clip to your Stories.
- Pinterest: Options are limited here, so design a captivating picture that includes your press release info.
4. Build your own media list
If you’re in the events planning game for the long haul, it can pay off to build your own list of media outlets to contact when you’ve got a press release to distribute.
It’s time-consuming, but if you have the time, money, and human resources, then start scouring the Internet for press contacts you can add to your list.
The benefit of having your own list, besides owning it, is that you’re also able to add a personal touch to the outreach. Many journalists will appreciate hearing from you directly.
You can also combine it with #2 above to find a directory of media contacts you can copy into your own mailing list.
Tip: Read this guide on how to harness social media to build your media contact list.
5. Research and follow the submission guidelines
If you’ve opted for making your own media contact list, then it’s essential that you pay attention to each outlet’s submission guidelines for press releases.
As you can probably imagine, media outlets are inundated with inquiries every day. They don’t have the time to sift through them all. Their submission guidelines are there to filter out the spam.
Typical submission guidelines will include things like what the outlet is interested in receiving and which file format they’d like to receive it in.
Tip: Look at some sample submission guidelines to get an idea of what to expect.
6. Submit your press release
Once you’ve identified the media outlets you’d like to approach and read their individual submission guidelines, it’s time to submit the press release to them.
It’s vital that you submit your press release promptly. Don’t leave it until the last minute. Give the outlets a few weeks to read and publish your press release.
Here’s what the structure of your email to the media outlets should look like:
- Subject: mention the key highlight of your event and why it’s awesome.
- Greeting: greet the person you’re approaching with their name if you have it.
- Opening paragraph: give some context as to who you are and why you’re emailing them.
- The second paragraph: pitch your event and why it deserves to be featured on their site.
- The third paragraph: provide them with a call to action and a possible incentive to publish it.
- Closing: thank them for their time and include your contact details so they can get in touch.
Keep in mind that there’s no guarantee you’ll get a response, no matter how well-written your email is. Media outlets are super busy. Getting featured is ultimately a numbers game.
Tip: Read this in-depth guide to how you should structure your email to media outlets.
7. Follow up
Your work with distributing your press release doesn’t end the moment you hit “Send.” Now you have to play the waiting game for a while…and then follow up.
With some outlets, you don’t even have to wait before following up. You can call the outlet or journalist to let them know you’ve emailed them. That’ll increase the likelihood of your email being read.
After that, however, it’s important that you exercise some patience while they go over your pitch and press release. It’ll do you no favours to be a phone or email pestilence.
How long you wait depends on how much time you have on your hands. If your event is still a bit away, then wait a week or so. If it’s sooner, then wait three days before following up.
Be polite when you follow up. Structure the call so that it’s a matter of courtesy. Ask if they’ve had a chance to read your press release and if there are any questions you can answer.
Tip: Read quotes from actual journalists on how they like to be followed up.
There are many ways to distribute a press release. How you approach this mostly depends on your event and business style.
A personal email or a professionally written email from a PR agency are the most effective ways…but also the most expensive and time-consuming ones.
A distribution service can get your message out faster and cheaper, but with the risk of your press release being marked as spam and not picked up by the outlets.
Do you have first-hand experience with distributing an event press release? Leave us a comment in the section below!