Remember when you are sending a media release you have two audiences. First is the members of the media themselves. Second is their audience. You determine which media you are sending to based on their audience. You want to inform the specific media that your audience is likely viewing/hearing/reading. If you’re a small dress shop you might want to be in a local magazine or certain sections of the local paper, but you aren’t likely to be in a trade journal for manufacturers or the local talk radio. Research who your audience gets their news from. Check the demographics of the media themselves. Their sales team has great info on just who listens, reads, views their stations/papers/etc.
But keep this in mind, the media is also an audience. You develop a good relationship with them by knowing what they are looking for in media releases: format, content, news. First you need to know what’s news. Then you need to send in the proper format with with AP style in place. Then don’t put everything you sell in your release. Pitching a story isn’t the same pitch you’d make to a client. it doesn’t require you have all your features and benefits; your news item needs to demonstrate what’s news, to benefit the MEDIA’s audience, not you. Even though ultimately, getting coverage does benefit you.
If the media see that you are just trying to get an ad across through the news, they’ll turn you away. They get ultimately that’s your purpose, don’t get me wrong. We aren’t fooling them. However, you have to tell your story through a news lens. And that’s not by selling your product. The news media aren’t your personal couriers or relay sales team. They are the gatherers of what is interesting, helpful, newsworthy for THEIR audience. You wouldn’t want reporters trying to sell their ads to your clients through you. Show them what’s newsworthy about your product, company and know whether your are providing a brief they can just print or if they are being pitched a larger story idea. But don’t sell them anything; they aren’t your clients.