The Rule of Four: Increasing Your Media Visibility

To increase your media coverage (and gain visibility in new industry verticals) when sending out press releases, you should create and maintain at least four (4) different types of media distribution lists. We call this the Rule of Four.
Why the Rule of Four and not three or five? In observing the marketing and PR behavior of our subscribers, we've noticed that on the average HR vendors secure greater media coverage/placements with the following four types of media distribution lists:
  1. Master Distribution List. This is a comprehensive distribution list that will receive all of the press releases you distribute – regardless of topics. However, this doesn’t mean you should create a master list that includes every single media contact in any database that you use, because that can get you blacklisted from the publications that feel your release was inappropriate for them. You should always take the time to target those publications and media contacts that are specific to your industry, your products and/or your services.
  2. Targeted Distribution Lists (Short Lists). These are individual distribution lists consisting of a media contact who you want to build a long term relationship with. You should send appropriate press releases to these journalists with a personalized note. But don’t overdo it – just provide them with enough information to highlight your news – no more than a few sentences. And never follow-up with a phone call or second email. Just let them know you are thinking of them, explain why your release should be of interest to their readership, and offer yourself and a client HR contact as expert information sources.
  3. Local Distribution Lists. These include local business publications (i.e., Crains) and/or newspapers in the area your company does business – and that typically want to receive news only from local businesses. When sending your press release, make note of the fact you are local and tie it into an issue that impacts the local community at large. Again, a personal note is crucial to show the reader you know their publication.
  4. Personal and/or Vertical Business Distribution Lists. These are distribution lists that include personal contacts you wish to keep informed of company news and/or journalists that cover a specific vertical that your release relates to (i.e., Logistics, Food Services, IT, Financial Services, etc.). (By the way, HRmarketer members can search for journalists by "industry specific" criteria to quickly identify those who cover HR topics in unique business verticals that represent huge opportunities for all HR service providers.)
The first three distribution lists described above should typically receive all your press releases, with the difference being numbers 2 and 3 get individual attention with personalized notes included with the release. The fourth list will always differ depending on the press release topic. For example, if your release has nothing to do with logistics then you should not send it to a journalist writing for a logistics publication.

A fifth "list" (not really a list so we don't include it in our Rule of Four) that we recommend you also distribute every release to a wire service – whether that be HRmarketer's Direct2Net wire service or any other wire service you use – in order to get your release placed on the Internet search engines and related news portals and databases.

Following our Rule of Four will definitely add about 2-3 hours of administrative time per release (assuming you have the contacts and vertical pubs identified and updated) but it is time well spent and will definitely lead to greater media visibility, company exposure and lead generation.

Good luck!