Podcast Press Releases 101
Good Morning Podcasters!November 08, 2022
08:0011 MB

Podcast Press Releases 101

Good morning, podcaster. Press releases are a really easy concept to understand, but they can be daunting if you’ve never written one. Let’s talk about what press releases are, what they’re not, who they get sent to, and what you should do when they get picked up by a journalist.

What is a press release?

Quite simply, a press release is a very formulaic letter that is designed to announce something newsworthy to the media. This could be a new partnership, a big milestone, let’s say your podcast got picked up by a big network or something, it could be to announce a very famous guest, a rebuttal to something horrible you said on your show, or even the announcement of a new season.

Press releases are formulaic for a reason. There is certain information that journalists are looking for, and there is a pretty standard format that they expect when they see one.

Let’s talk about the elements of a press release.

  1. Media Contact: Be sure to prominently include your name, title, organization, email address, and phone number on any release that you send. Some put this on the top of the page. Others put it at the bottom under a “Media Contact” header.

  2. For Immediate Release: This is a statement you put into your release to let journalists know it’s okay to release the information right away. There is another format called “embargo,” but that’s something that is used very, very rarely, and only in instances where releasing the news early would do something like impact stock prices.

  3. Headline: This is where you place the main theme of the article. Put it in H1 (heading 1) format if you’re using an email builder.

  4. Subhead (optional): Some choose to put a subheading underneath the headline to pay off the theme of the release.

  5. Highlights: We typically add a section called “highlights” before the body paragraph. This section includes 2-4 bullet points about what the reader can expect in the press release. We try to write these in a way that a journalist could easily copy and tweet with a link to their news story.

  6. Dateline: This is where you put the date and city from which the news is coming (ex: MILWAUKEE, November 8, 2022).

  7. Body: This is where you put your news. Write this as though you are writing about your podcast as a journalist. It should be in the third person.

  8. CTA: You should drop a “for more information” link at the bottom of the release where readers can learn more about your information.

  9. Boilerplate: The boilerplate is a short, 5-6 sentence paragraph about your podcast. It will read:
    “About XYZ Show
    XYZ show explores the last three letters of the English alphabet and hosts, Xavier, Yella, and Zak dig into…” (etc.)
    Again, write it in a way that is in the third person in case a journalist decides to pick it up and drop it into their publication verbatim.

Example podcast press release

Press releases are sent to news editors, reporters, producers, other podcasters, bloggers, etc., usually via email - sometimes attached as a Word doc, sometimes attached as a PDF - though a PDF is not recommended because you want to make it easy for the reporter to copy and paste your information. Sometimes people post press releases as screenshots in their Twitter feeds. Sometimes they get faxed. Sometimes people spend 60 cents on a stamp and mail it. 

But I recommend just sending all of your press releases as a text email with an image or two (and links to the high-res version of those images). 

What a press release is NOT

Let’s talk quick about what a press release IS NOT. 

  1. A press release is not an ad. 

  2. A press. release. is. not. an. ad.

If you want a publication to run an ad for you, buy an ad. 

A press release, again, is something newsworthy. Yes, sometimes those lines blur. If you have a question about what is or isn’t news, ask someone who is outside your circle and see what they think. My DMs @fuzzmartin are open - I'm more than welcome to give you my opinion.

Where should you send press releases?

I mentioned some of the job titles of WHO you send press releases to earlier, but let’s talk about where or which outlets you should be sending your press release to. What you want to do is find the publications that will find your piece of news newsworthy to THEIR audience. 

Let’s say you have a podcast about comic books. You probably already know the websites that write about comic books. You probably listen to some podcasts about comic books. You may even get a paper magazine about comic books since usually comic books are still printed on paper and you like to stay true to your cause. 

That’s great! Find the editors, producers, reporters, etc. who write specifically about what your news is about and start a list. A lot of times you can find their email addresses on the internet or in the case of magazines, they will likely have that information listed on one of the pages. 

There are list building services available online. My agency uses Cision. It costs about $15,000 per year. That said, you may be able to reach out to an agency or PR freelancer and ask them to build you a list for a fee if you don’t feel like doing the work organically with tried and true Google searching. 

Once your press release is written and proofread, send it to the people on your list.

Who shouldn’t you send a press release to?

Who should you NOT put on your list? I recommend NOT aiming too high. Sending a press release about your comic book podcast reaching its 1,000th listen isn’t going to make it into the New York Times. But a comic book podcast or publication might think that’s great. Think about who will find your news interesting in your audience and send to them only. 

Also, be sure to include your contact information in your email and on your press release. Make it very easy for someone to get in touch with you.

And when an editor, producer, or reporter does reach out to you, get back to them as fast as you are able. Your window of opportunity is short and writers are overworked. 

To recap

  • Your press release should be newsworthy

  • It is not an Ad

  • Send it as a text email with a photo and link to the high res version of the photo

  • Send it to news outlets and shows that typically carry your kind of content - specifically in your niche

  • Don’t bother the Washington Post or New York Times unless your story is worthy

  • Always include your contact info

  • And respond quickly to requests from the people to whom you sent your release

One last one - use press releases like salt. You don’t want to be the boy who cried “news” by sending something every other week.