Over the coming weeks, I hope to start posting a series presentations about how to do your own PR. In the meantime, I’ve been looking at some tools aimed at people who want to do their own PR such as MediaContact, Irish Press Releases, PR Zone and PRAngle.

MediaContact

MediaContact started off as the home for the Irish Media Contacts Directory, a book which lists all Irish media outlets and provides details such as a contact telephone number, their address and a generic news email address. They have revamped their website though and expanded upon the information that was available in the book to also list journalists within each organisation. As a result, subscribers can choose from lists in the database and distribute their release through the website. For example, a technology company could issue their release to business and technology media with a couple of clicks.

The service is aimed at PR agencies and regular companies alike. The service costs just under 1000 per individual per year, so it’s ideal for a company that wants to do their own PR or that cannot afford to keep an agency on retainer. The added advantage is that MediaContact regularly updates the database so if a journalist moves publications or an email address changes, you can benefit from their knowledge.

Irish Press Releases

Irish Press Releases differs from MediaContact in that users upload their press release and it is viewable on the website, and as a result on Google, by anyone who logs on or searches for the something in relation to the press release. It doesn’t have any media details though. While some companies wouldn’t want to publish all of their press releases in such a public forum, the advantage of the service is that as the site is effectively built on a WordPress platform it ranks highly on Google, so it’s well worth distributing press releases through if you hope to get some attention through Google.

PR Zone

PR Zone is a new service I have recently heard about. It is another press release distribution service, similar to irish press Releases, but they charge for distribution. The company claims that it will distribute press releases using their platform, RSS, Twitter and private email distribution lists, and immediately notify major search engines. It suffers from the same problem as Irish Press Releases in that there is no guarantee that journalists will ever actually see your release, given that you have not emailed it to them. However, the company does claim to have private email distribution lists. What extent and scope those distribution lists go to is anyone’s guess as I’ve never used the service. Not to knock it, but I doubt if it has a fraction of the contacts available on MediaContact.

Get2Press

Same as PR Zone, but Get2Press is an international site that claims to also have Irish contacts. They actually list which publications they send their releases to, but again without having seen the system in action i would be loath to recommend them, particularly when they are missing national titles like the Sunday Business Post from their distribution list.

PRAngle

Another alternative is PRAngle which was set up by Douglas Dalby, an ex journalist. Dalby correctly spotted that journalists get hundreds of emails everyday from PR agencies and companies doing their own media relations. His site is different to the other services in that PR agencies have to register and post their releases in forums, which journalists have access to. It does solve the spam problem, however the only issue with the service is whether it guarantees that your press release will actually end up in front of the journalist you want it to.

Other Information

Eoin Kennedy has also recently posted on the same topic, read what he has to say here.

For those interested in doing their own PR, Adrian Weckler, technology correspondent with the Sunday Business Post, has written a series of interesting posts offering advice to companies on how to get coverage:

How to get (more) space in a newspaper
How to write a competent press release
How to approach a newspaper interview



Piaras Kelly
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