Chapter ten in the book, Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques, informs practitioners on how to select the appropriate channels of distribution to make sure materials are reaching the intended audience and correct media. There are many methods of distribution but email, online newsrooms, and wire services are extremely important to use. Distributing materials is a huge part of PR and this chapter was useful in numerous ways.
Databases vary in format and scope but all of them provide five things. 1) name of publications and broadcast stations 2) Mailing Addresses 3) Telephone and Fax numbers 4) Email addresses 5)Key editor and reporter names. Media outlet profiles can also usually be found, which should be taken advantage of because they provide audience, deadlines, and placement opportunities.
Online databases should be used because they are updated daily. One company confirms they update their database more than 10,000 times daily. Editorial calendars should be utilized because the provide information that will confirm if the work you submit goes along with the focus of the particular issue. Tip sheets are weekly newsletters that report recent changes in news personnel and new assignments as well as information on the content they are looking for.
The chapter later focuses on distribution of materials. I think that the most important distribution materials discussed in the chapter were email, online newsrooms and wire services so I am going to focus on these three aspects of the chapter. I think that
Email is discussed first and is identified as a major form of communication in the PR industry. Journalists prefer news releases via email because they are less intrusive than a phone call. The subject line for the email should be keywords. At the beginning of the email you should include useful information and should be bulleted if possible.
Online newsrooms have 5 key components the book points out. 1)Contact Information 2) Corporate background- fact sheets, awards, etc. 3) News releases and media kits-printer friendly versions recommended 4) Multimedia gallery-photos, charts, graphs. Low resolution (72 dpi) and high resolution (300 dpi) should be available 5) Search capability.
Online newsrooms are particularly important for crisis communication because the information is easily frequently updated and that way it is accurate and keeps audience and organization on same page.
Electronic wire services are huge. There are three major newswires. businesswire.com, PRnewswire.com, and Marketwire.com. To use these practitioners submit a release online via a forum from the website. There are no emails involved. The wire service makes lists of news releases available to editors and reporters access lists. These should be taken advantage of because they make for timely and immediate of large amount of material via website accessible for everyone in the news department. Email only processed to who you send them to. Wire services also are a good idea to use because they make the release available to online search engines such as google and yahoo. This offers clients an additional opportunity for viewers to read releases.
I found these distribution methods to be useful for my future career and feel like I have learned a lot by reading this chapter. Press releases are not just for press anymore. Audiences enjoy reading releases now so it is important to make them more accessible to the public. Press releases are important tools of communication to not only the press but to a wide range of audiences.