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How to Contact the Press and Media

The who, what, why, where and when approach to contacting the press.

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By Jane Hamilton

When you decide to carry out a press or media campaign, there are five key questions you need to answer: 

  • Who are you going to send it to? 
  • What are you going to put in the press release?
  • Why are you doing press and writing a press release? 
  • Where are you going to send it? 
  • When should you send it?


Your first step is to decide who you need to target in the press and online media. This can include arts editors, section editors, journalists, reviewers, researchers and bloggers. 

Check print press and online to get the right contact names and details. Or phone the publication directly to find out who the best person to contact is.  

Remember to follow and interact with relevant people on social media too. Don’t be afraid to bring your brand to their attention rather than waiting for them to start following you.


When you decide what to include in your press release, think about the who, what, why, where, when again. Tell them who you are, what you’re promoting, why are you doing it and where and when it is happening.

Keep it simple, interesting and informative. 

Write it in the third person. 

  • Create a short snappy first paragraph to catch their attention –this may be the only part they read. 
  • Spark their interest but don’t overload them with detail. 
  • Be accurate – get your facts right and always tell the truth.
  • Include your contact details and link to your site or online press kit.
  • Keep it to one page unless you have extra information like editors notes.


Press and online media are important sources of free publicity that can raise your brand’s profile and spark people’s interest.


Think about where information about your brand or product would work best. Also consider where your target audience gets their information – a newspaper, website and TV or radio. 

Also identify how you want your brand to be promoted, whether it’s through a review, news story, feature or blog. 


Timing is everything – you don’t want to send out your release too early or too late. A recommended guide is:

  • Dailies: 2-3 weeks
  • Weeklies and Sundays: 3-4 weeks
  • Fortnightly: 4-6 weeks
  • Monthlies: 3 months
  • Listings: 3 weeks

If you don’t hear from them, follow by phone after 4 or 5 days to:

  • Ensure they received the press release.
  • Tell them more about what you’re doing. 
  • Ask if it’s of interest or if they want to review or preview it. 
  • Send them anything they need like images or further details.  

If they did not receive it, offer to send it again. If they did receive it but are unsure if they want to use it now, offer to contact them at a later date. They might not use it immediately, but could in the future. 

If they prefer not to use it, don’t be discouraged. Every press or online media contact is different and the next one may be interested.

How to Contact the Press and Media


Generally the press love a great photo. High resolution, striking image can also influence people’s decision on whether or not to feature your work. Ensure you have different resolutions to accommodate print and lower resolution shots for online. 

Press kits

Online or electronic press kits tell editors about your company or product and sending avoids attachments and large files. It’s a good way to share high-resolution images, videos or trailers or other information without clogging up inboxes.

You can send your press kit by email or by using an online file sharing service such as Dropbox. Alternatively you may want to create a password protected press section with this type of information directly on your website.


You can send these to specific contacts at the various press resources such as newspapers, magazines and websites. They are essential for an event and don’t cost anything.

Disclaimer: We want to keep you in the know, so we offer a wide selection of useful resources. But Cultural Enterprise Office isn’t responsible for the advice and information of external organisations in this document. So if you have any questions, please contact the specific organisation directly. 

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