Tips for Distributing a Press Release

Content

  • Use simple language and short sentences.
  • Avoid industry jargon.
  • Always define acronyms. i.e. the US Green Building Council (USGBC), a nonprofit organization that sets national green building standards.
  • Use facts and statistics. Journalists love numbers and concrete examples.
  • Spell check and proofread.
  • Never assume your readers are experts on any topic.

Choosing Your Media List

  • Be selective -- send the release only to people who write articles or make editorial decisions (i.e. business editors or general assignment reporters, not advertising executives or publishers).
  • Decide which publications are important to reach your local audience.
  • Start small -- local newspapers, magazines, trade journals, radio stations, television news stations. www.newslink.org is a helpful website to find local media.
  • Look for reporters’ and editors’ email addresses and phone numbers on the publication’s website or call the publication to ask for them.
  • Newswire services such as PRNewswire, PRWeb or CSRWire can distribute your release to a wide audience, but they are expensive.

Emailing

  • Do not send attachments or graphics.
  • Include a clear and concise subject line.
  • Send the release to one outlet at a time, not to multiple journalists or outlets at the same time.
  • Distribute the release promptly after receiving certification, and send it to all contacts on the same day.
  • In the media contact line, always include both an email address and a phone number and check messages regularly.
  • Personalize emails when possible. Use the reporter’s name and familiarize yourself with the topics he or she covers.
  • If the media contact listed on the press release is going to be out of the office, make sure he or she has an automatic email reply and a voicemail message listing an alternate contact.
  • Choose key reporters to call and follow up on the release; make sure they received it, explain to them why the news would be of interest to their readers and offer them an interview.
  • Return calls promptly with relevant information or risk missing the chance to be mentioned.

We would be happy to provide you with a quote from the Rainforest Alliance. Please send a copy of your drafted and final press releases to Anna Clark, Rainforest Alliance communications associate, at aclark@ra.org for our records. Thank you.