PR Tips
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The definitive guide to press release distribution

Press release distribution is about how you go about sharing your press release with the media. You will, no doubt, have spent a lot of time getting your idea into the best shape with a great newsworthy headline, and some really good quotes. Your challenge is to get your press release out into the world as quickly and efficiently as possible to as many interested journalists as you can.

Press Release distribution tools allow you to easily find journalists, editors, correspondents, publications, shows, podcasts and influencers to share your press release or pitch with.In this post I will outline the key feature that you should consider when you are choosing a press release distribution service.

  1. Picking the best Distribution Method.
  2. What features should you look for in a great Press Release Distribution tool?
  3. What factors should determine how you pick a PR Distribution Tool?

1. Picking the best distribution method?Why should you bother distributing a press release at all?Of course you could just share your press release on your social channels and not bother sending it directly to the media at all. If it is really big news, or your organisation is very important and on a media watch list then this will work. Otherwise, it is very unlikely to work.This is because journalists will miss it. Journalists are bombarded every day with messages and are very unlikely to pick up on a post on your social media unless it is very important. You could also just send it to one or two journalists that you know and not send it far and wide. This could work but even if it works you will always be left with the distinct impression that you left media coverage behind you.The only thing worse in PR than no coverage is not capitalising on all the coverage that you could have had. It can be challenging to get journalists attention when you have it, it’s essential that you fill your boots and get all the coverage that you can.Remember there are very few second chances when it comes to getting coverage for a particular story so it’s essential to get as much coverage as possible from each individual press release.Should you use a press release distribution tool?The short answer is yes. Why? Firstly, there are thousands of possible opportunities for getting coverage for every press release and if you use a good Press Release Distribution tool then you will be kept up to date with them.Secondly, there are potentially hours and hours of grunt work unless you have a good press release distribution tool. If you don’t have one, someone is going to have to data entry hundreds of emails. From where? A book? A spreadsheet? This is a very inefficient use of valuable time for PR professionals.The most difficult thing to do in PR is to devise a great story that the media loves. This is where you need to spend the lion share of your time and resources - not doing data entry on media contacts - seriously.Also if you are expecting someone junior to do this then you need to think again. It would cost less in most cases to buy in a press release distribution tool that expects a junior to build you the right media contacts list. Investing in a good PR tool is a no-brainer.2.What features should you look for in a great Press Release Distribution tool?Number of contactsGreat Press Release Distribution is all about getting to the right journalists at the right time. How comprehensive is the tool that you are thinking of buying? How many contacts does it have? The more contacts it has, the more media opportunities there are for you to avail of.

The MediaHQ View

MediaHQ has details on over 55,000 contacts in the UK and Ireland. No other Press Release distribution Tool can match the number of contacts that we offer. How easy is it to build a list of contacts?Press release distribution is all about being easily and nimbly able to build any list you want in seconds. The day of having a definitive media list is long over. The tool you choose should allow you to build any media list quickly and efficiently.Watch our video below on how to build media lists with MediaHQ. what you see? Book a Demo of MediaHQ with our form below.[wpforms id="46995"]

The MediaHQ View

MediaHQ allows you to build an unlimited number of media lists, and each one can be created or edited in seconds. When contacts on one of your lists are updated we notify you. We also have a feature called ‘List Hub’ that contains over 400 media lists expertly curated by our research team that you can copy and edit as you choose.

How good is the search function?There is no point in having a PR Distribution Tool with thousands of contacts if it’s difficult to search through them. You should always examine how easy it is to search through the contacts. The challenge is like having a stadium full with thousands of people, but you are only interested in talking to the ones that are interested in your press release. Unless the toll you choose has a great search then you will be endlessly frustrated.

The MediaHQ View

Our search allows you to find the right journalist every time. It is based on reducing our 55,000 strong media contacts database to the right number for your press release distribution list. You can search by keyword and filter results by geography, job title, media type, job type. We also have a Topic Search that allows you to simply search through over 300 topics to find the right journalist for your press release. MediaHQ has details on over 55,000 contacts in the UK and Ireland. No other Press Release distribution Tool can match the number of contacts that we offer.

Watch our video below on MediaHQs powerful search functions. what you see? Book a Demo of MediaHQ with our form below.[wpforms id="46995"]Do you get training?You need to get training to get the most out of a PR Distribution Tool? What training is the provider going to give you? Is it free or do they expect you to pay? How often can you go back for refresher training?

The MediaHQ View

MediaHQ gives free training to all users. You can get a refresher at any time or ask your account manager a question. It’s important to us that you are comfortable with the technology and we have a dedicated team of user experience designers to make the software the most intuitive and easy to use PR Distribution tool available. What details does the PR Distribution tool list?It is essential to get some context to the media contacts that are listed in the PR Distribution tool that you select. Make sure you can search by media type and by job title. Being able to search through media opportunities by media type and geographically is also very important. Can you see who works on a programme or a podcast? Or is it just a long list with no context? It is very important to check this because you need to know who you re adding to a list.

The MediaHQ View

MediaHQ lists media contacts in a number of different ways, including:

  • Individual details
  • Organisation details
  • All programme details,
  • All details of opinion columns
  • All details of newspaper supplements.

We are the only PR Distribution tool that gives this level of detail.

What reports do you get?Getting a detailed report for the press release you send is essential for success. Be careful how you choose because some PR Distribution Tools expect you to do this yourself. They allow you to download contacts and send them from your own email address.While this is very questionable from a GDPR perspective it’s also a pretty rubbish way to distribute your press release. It’s a bit like ordering a new BMW and getting it delivered in boxes to your front door. Make sure whatever tool you choose has good reports and actually allows you to distribute the press release.

The MediaHQ View

MediaHQ will authenticate your email DNS settings so that you can distribute your press releases from the software. Each press release gets a unique report that allows you to see:

  • The one hour, three hour and total performance.
  • Who opened it and how often.
  • The top five journalists who opened it.
  • A comparison of the performance against any other story you sent.
  • Your % delivery rate.

We believe that this is a minimum of what you should expect from a PR Distribution tool.

Watch our Video on our Press Release Analytics below.’s the service like?Technology is only as good as the people behind it. Make sure to choose a Press Release Distribution Tool that has personal, friendly customer service. Why? Because you will need it. No doubt. Having a person to call is always good.

The MediaHQ View

If you choose MediaHQ you will get a dedicated account manager who will answer any question you have. We also have a dedicated out of hours number if you have any issues. 3.What factors should determine how you pick a PR Distribution Tool?Research When you are buying a Press Release Distribution Tool, you are investing in an outsourced research team. The media contacts need to be up to date, comprehensive and containing the right details. If the research is good, you will get more opportunities. If you get more opportunities you will get more coverage. It’s as simple as that.FunctionalityHow easy is the Press Release distribution tool to use? It’s as simple as that. If it’s easy you and your team will get loads of use out of it, if it’s not then you won't. Be careful there are some right turkeys out there that are really hard to use. Focus on what it feels like to use. Is it intuitive? Does it feel easy? Are you doing things without having to ask? Then it’s working.ServiceAccess to training and humans who will solve your problems quickly is essential. Be wary of providers who are too impersonal or who take a while to get back to you. With any service provider you will have questions. Judge your potential provider on how easily you get answers.ValueWhat should it cost? For me it’s about value. You’re investing in a tool to help get you more media coverage. If it does that well it’s great value. If it doesn’t no matter what the cost, then it isn’t worth it. Prices vary from provider to provider but expect to pay somewhere from 3-6k per annum depending on the size of your team and your requirements.Looking to distribute your own press releases? More than just a Press Release Distribution tool. MediaHQ helps you find journalists, build media lists, distribute press releases and analyse results[wpforms id="46995"]

Jack is a media innovator with over 20 years’ experience at the most senior level in the Irish communications industry. He has worked in marketing, journalism, and media relations. He is a former political spokesperson and government advisor, as well as an award-winning corporate PR practitioner.

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