You have an event or a newsworthy item, you’ve written the media release and it has your content, now what? You need to distribute it. First, put it on your own website–you have news, so share it.
Second review the media you want to send it to–the media your client watches, reads, listens to. That’s not to say only send the newspapers if you think that’s all your clients are likely to read. Send to as many media as your client is possibly viewing, but figure out which reporters/editors/producers/bloggers want the content you are providing and send to them. Reporters often cover specific topics such as education or health or business. All the media outlets provide contact information for the health, education, business, news, etc contact. Try to focus the releases’ audience. Don’t be a goober and send it to everyone, especially all at once. Think about it: if you’re in the media business and you see the press release has gone to all your competition, don’t you assume someone else might cover it? The media are looking for either news no one else has covered or a new angle, and unless you’ve explained that in your pitch succinctly and individually you aren’t likely to get coverage of your story.
Learn whether your local media want the release as an attachment or in text or both. My local paper has reporters and editors with preferences for both. So don’t assume there’s a standard. Call and ask. They appreciate it if you take the time. Email is easiest. You could mail it.–but news is too fast so unless you have time, might want to reconsider. However an old-fashioned invite might encourage them to cover your event down the road. Not sure if any of the media still have faxes any more–look how quickly technology has changed how we communicate.
Respect the media deadlines. News is okay with a couple of days notice. But feature stories may need a month’s notice–depending on what stories reporters have in the works.