Who do you send press releases to? In order to properly answer this question, I'm going to ask you to put on two pairs of shoes. The first pair belongs to the editor or producer of a particular publication or broadcast. Why walk in these shoes? These are the people responsible for assembling a publication or broadcast. If your information does not fit the format or purpose of the publication or broadcast, this editor or producer will ignore and bypass your press release information.
The second pair of shoes to wear are those of the reader or viewer of a publication or broadcast. What are they interested in reading or viewing? Do they want news, entertainment, tips or techniques? Knowing what readers and viewers want and how editors and producers supply these needs will help you craft and target your press release.
With these two pair of shoes in mind, who do you now send the press release to? The logical answer is daily or weekly newspapers that serve your target market. You can get a list of these from your library or from search engine research. Once you have identified the publication, then you can contact each to find the appropriate contact person for your genre of information.
Sometimes this will be a reporter, a feature editor, a managing editor or, in rare cases, the actual publisher. For radio and television, this person is the producer, executive producer, news director, program manager, feature editor (sports, food, lifestyle) or individual reporter. Again, calling the station or searching the Internet will help you track down the correct name and contact information.
Once you've compiled your lists, it's time to send your information. Hopefully in your contact information research, you were able to obtain an e-mail address and/or fax numbers. There is a trend today toward e-mail communication, although faxes do still work. In some cases, when pictures, graphics or exhibits are pertinent, snail-mail works best. Knowing which method your contact prefers and then delivering accordingly will enhance your chance of publication or broadcast.
Keep your list of contacts, add to it, work it and keep in touch, even when you don't have an actual press release. Remember, though, these people are very busy and usually face tighter deadlines than you and I work with on a daily basis. Respect this and work with their schedules, and you'll be on your way to hitting your target with PR.
Al Lautenslager is the president and owner of The Ink Well, a commercial printing and mailing company in Wheaton, Illinois, and the principal of Market For Profits, a Naperville, Illinois-based marketing consulting and coaching firm. He can be reached through his website, Market for Profits.
The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author, not of Entrepreneur.com. All answers are intended to be general in nature, without regard to specific geographical areas or circumstances, and should only be relied upon after consulting an appropriate expert, such as an attorney or accountant.