How do you use a press release service for better coverage? Read our expert guide below.
Table of Contents
- What is a press release service?
- What are the benefits of using a press release service?
- How to use a press release service to send press releases
- How to choose a press release service
- Press release service checklist
What is a press release service?
A press release service helps businesses and PR teams to issue press releases to media contacts for newspapers, online publications, radio programmes and other media channels. The purpose of sending a press release is to get coverage of a story or event in the media and a press release service can make it easier to make the news. It is designed to streamline the job of a communications team, in-house PR team or PR firm. A good press release service can take the grunt work out of PR and free up the time of busy PR professionals for other important tasks. Press release distribution is one of the most important elements of work as a PR practitioner and getting it wrong can mean little to no press coverage and a lot of wasted hours. Getting it right however can positively impact your sales, increase ROI and bring positive coverage to your business.
A press release service is a tool that allows you to:
- Build media lists
- Send press releases
- Check your analytics
Without a press release service, many companies rely on messy spreadsheets and email services to send press releases, which come with sending limits, emails being marked as spam and endless hours updating media lists to be relevant and GDPR compliant.
A press release service solves these issues by keeping track of media movements through a newsfeed, contacting journalists to ensure that contacts are GDPR compliant and using unique software that ensures that press releases are sent and delivered to contacts’ primary folders and not their spam folders. There are many extra features that can also be accessed when using a press release service like MediaHQ. These include a news diary, email analytics, own contacts uploader, lists built by a research team and a gallery to keep logos and photos together.
What are the benefits of using a press release service?
A press release service brings together many elements of PR and keeps them in one place. This takes the grunt work out of PR and makes it easier to create and send press releases, and track delivery and bounces. A media contacts database can be extremely beneficial in helping you to grow your skills and improve your understanding of the media landscape and how it works. Understanding newsrooms and how journalists do their job is an integral part of getting media coverage. A press release service makes this research easy as it will have a searchable database and may even include a topic search with a drop-down of the subjects covered by journalists on the database.
By using a tagging system, it is possible to refine over 50,000 contacts down to under a hundred in a matter of seconds. Under each journalist’s profile, there will be information on their career, links to their social media, information about the topics that they cover and the articles that they write. This makes the process of researching and refining media lists easier and acts as a great alternative to endless and tedious Google searches.
Here are some of the major benefits of using a press release service to send out press releases:
Easy to build lists
A press release service makes the job of putting together a media list quick and easy. Instead of trawling through the internet to find contact information on journalists, a press release service has a searchable database that will bring up profiles of journalists covering different topics in seconds. The hard work of contacting individual journalists or trying to find email addresses online is done by a group of dedicated researchers, freeing up your time as a PR professional to focus on the more important task of getting your story into the news.
With a built-in search engine, a press release service allows users to type in a subject that they want to cover and will be shown a range of journalists who cover that topic. MediaHQ also has a function called ‘Topic Search’ which lists first, second and third level tags that are attached to media contacts. This takes the guesswork out of searching for journalists to add to a list and streamlines the process. Once a user has found the right contacts for their list, they can simply select them individually or click a box at the top of the page to create a new list or add to an existing list. If a user is in need of a specialised list, many press release services will have lists that have been built by researchers. In this case, all they need to do is copy over the list and use it as their own.
Some press release services may also send a notification when a contact on a user’s list has been updated. At MediaHQ, there is a ‘List Notifier’ feature that alerts a user when a contact on any of their lists has been updated or deleted. This means that users no longer have to dedicate hours to checking that individual contacts are still in their roles. Below is a quick look at how the MediaHQ List Notifier works.
GDPR is an annoyance in the lives of PR professionals but staying compliant with data protection laws is also one of the most important aspects of the job. When maintaining a media contact list in sheets or excel, it is required to contact the recipients on a regular basis to ensure that they are still in their role and that you have permission to use their details. With a press release service, this tedious process is bypassed as it is completed by researchers. Contacts on a press release service are contacted on a regular basis to ensure that they are okay with their details being there. The opt-out option at the end of each press release means a journalist always has the option to opt-out. MediaHQ automatically stops users from sending press releases to anyone who has opted out from them to keep the user completely GDPR compliant.
A high deliverability rate is a must when investing in a PR database. Bouncing emails can severely hinder the PR process so it’s important when using a PR database that you can trust it to deliver to as many contacts as possible. At MediaHQ, we guarantee a 97% deliverability rate for all of your press releases.
Easy to track media movements
Keeping track of media movements is not usually a job priority as a busy communications officer. However, it is essential that movements within the industry are noted as lists can very quickly go out of date if not, causing bounces and low deliverability – leading to less media coverage. A press release service will have a newsfeed function that is updated daily with the latest movements and updates within the industry. Pairing this with a list notifier function takes the job of updating lists from a tedious one to a quick and easy button click.
Analytics provide the key to measuring the effectiveness of your public relations campaigns by giving you insight into key figures that can help you to send out releases with intention. A press release service can track the number of times a journalist has opened your release, click-through rates for links included and the industry average in comparison to your release. This information can be useful in informing future campaigns and press releases.
How to use a press release service to send press releases
Sending press releases through a press release service is a simple task and only takes a matter of steps. Using the search function to build a list is the first step in the process. Here are some next steps you can take to create and send a press release using MediaHQ as a press release service:
The ‘My Contacts’ tab allows users to upload and create lists with their own contacts. Some users may want to include non-media contacts in their press release lists and the ‘My Contacts’ feature makes it easy to do this.
Your gallery is a place to keep any images you might have relating to your press release or your brand logo. Uploading images to your gallery will ensure that they are the correct file size to send in a press release and make it easy to attach images and make your press release stand out. Adding images to your press release can help your story to attract attention and give it more depth.
The News Diary is a calendar of events and days of note that could inspire a press release. From the News Diary section, you can click a scheduled day or event and create a press release directly from that page.
The create release button will take users to a page that lets them fill in sections including the title and the option to add the recipient’s first and last name. Below the press release will be the users’ lists, making it easy to select one or multiple lists to send the press release to. There is also the option to add attachments and to send a test release to yourself which is highly recommended. This ensures that the press release will look exactly as planned when it is sent out to media contacts.
The Release Report section allows users to see the statistics from their recent press releases. Here, users will find statistics for their press releases that have been delivered, bounced, opened and the number of link clicks and opt-outs. It will also compare releases to the industry average so users will be able to adjust send times or other factors to improve coverage.
Read our piece here on how to write and send a press release.
How to choose a press release service
There are many press release services available, but choosing the right one for your business is important. Different services offer different features and it is worth getting a demo with a few different companies to figure out the best one for you based on features, usability, customer service and cost. Here are some things to consider when choosing a press release service:
Easy to filter and search for journalists
Easily searchable contacts are an integral part of a press release service. The database that you invest in should have an easy way to search for contacts, like a search bar or a suggested topics search which makes it easy to filter through thousands of contacts and find viable journalists for your story.
High deliverability rate
A high deliverability rate is a must when investing in a press release service. Bouncing emails can severely hinder the PR process so it’s important when using a PR database that you can trust it to deliver to as many contacts as possible. At MediaHQ, we guarantee a 97% deliverability rate for all of your press releases.
Regularly updated with media movements
It is essential that a press release service has the latest updates of movements within the industry. The service that you choose should give regular updates on journalists who change or leave jobs. This makes it easier to update lists and ensure your deliverability stays high.
Is it good value?
Pricing is an important factor to consider when looking into buying a press release service. Does it fit your budget and what package can you get for your budget? Ensure that you check the pricing of different press release services before committing to one.
Press release service checklist
Here is a checklist of all of the things to consider when using a press release service for better media coverage:
- Can you put together contact lists using the search function?
- Can you research the journalists on your lists?
- Can you check that your list is up to date?
- Can you add images and logos to your gallery?
- Have you tried out different press release services to find the one that works for you?
If you answered yes to these questions, you are ready to up your press release game using a press release service.
More about Ciara Byrne
Ciara is a Research Executive at MediaHQ. Ciara has a degree in Media and English from DCU and has been working with MediaHQ since graduating in 2019.
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