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A target audience is the group of individuals most likely to seek out your company's goods or services. You may have several different target audiences within your broader target audience. Think specifically about the attributes of the audience you want to hear your message. Target any and all of the information sources (print, online, radio) those people are likely to get information. Don't rely solely on newspapers or trade publications.
Once your release is written, be sure it reaches the right people. The key to success is to 1) send it to the right person, and 2) send the information that person wants. You can pay a press release distribution service to send your release both over the newswire and to selected journalists in your industry. You can also choose to send it over the newswire only. You can also send it yourself to journalists and analysts in your industry.
It's important to target the journalists that report on your company or industry for trade publications, national business magazines, and other media outlets. Sending a press release to the newsroom--or worse, to a journalist who covers another beat entirely--is a waste of time. Check the Web site of each media outlet you're targeting to find the names and contact information of journalists who cover companies such as yours. Be sure to look to see which journalists are covering your competitors, and target your release to them as well.
If you're using an electronic distribution service, you may want to send the release to a few news outlets directly. Local media will often report on companies and individuals in their area, and these smaller outlets are sometimes overlooked by electronic distribution services. Contact the local paper and any applicable trade publications. Verify the spelling of the assigning editor's name, and fax or mail your press release to him or her.
A newswire is a distribution service. Some, such as the Associated Press newswire, only allow their own writers to post stories. Others serve as a press release distribution service. Posting your press release or "sending it over the wire" is the easiest and most cost-effective way to get your release to all the news bureaus in the country--or even in the world. However, if you only send your release over the wire, you're trusting that the journalists who cover your company or industry will see your release (among the thousands they see) and act on it.
There are several key ways to distribute a press release. You can distribute your release directly to specific journalists and media outlets yourself by maintaining your own contact list. You can distribute by e-mail, fax, or snail mail. You can also use an electronic distribution service or a newswire to perform distribution functions on your behalf. Finally, don't forget to post your press release to your company Web site in a timely manner.