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Frequently asked questions

These questions are commonly asked by our clients. Please select a question to see our response

Why choose Press Dispensary?
Press Dispensary is ideal for small to medium businesses that wish to undertake basic PR activities but don't have the need or budget to appoint a large agency. We can help you reach your target audiences efficiently and affordably.

All our press releases are written by established professionals with experience in both PR and journalism (not by agency juniors or graduate trainees!). Our press distribution lists are updated daily and cover a vast range of broadcast and online media, newspapers, magazines, freelancers and opinion formers. Additionally, all the releases we distribute are syndicated to major online news sites such as Google News, Yahoo! News and Bing News, as well as aggregators such as Moreover. Including your press release on major search engines and news sites can significantly help to drive targeted traffic to your website.


Why should I invest in promoting my business to the press?
The ideal outcome, of course, is column inches that drive visitors or customers to you (though these can never be guaranteed), and without a release, how are journalists going to know your news? Or even (in the worst case) know you exist?

But press awareness takes other forms than this. A well-crafted, targeted release also offers the slow burn, fixing your company or product name in a journalist's mind for the future, making sure it's filed and ready for a time when (as often happens) a journalist or editor is commissioned in to produce something to which you're relevant. When you wonder how a competitor managed to get mentioned in an article, you'll often find a press release - and not always a recent one - at the back of it.


When should a business or organisation make a press announcement?
Quite simply: you should issue a press release when you have something newsworthy to say. A story with a strong 'hook' might be the launch of a new product or service, a major client win, an industry accolade, a public occasion on which you're staging a special promotion or event, an acquisition, a human interest story or significant research you've conducted. But avoid making 'me too' announcements or highly exaggerated claims. If journalists can't see a news angle or if they smell a rat, you'll be wasting your time and risking your reputation. See our press relations advice.


Why should I invest in professional writing and distribution?
More harm than good can be done by sending out a press release in the wrong structure and format, or containing poor spelling or grammar, or using inappropriate (e.g. jargon-laden) language, or that simply fails to get the point across properly. Fickle or overworked journalists are likely to bin it immediately. On the other hand, a well written release will provide the right hooks, the right information and the impression that your organisation is professional and knows what it's doing.

The same applies to targeting: it's no good using the 'scattergun' approach and sending it to any journalist you can find, or simply to 'the editor' of every periodical in the yellow pages. Releases must be carefully and individually sent to those who demonstrate a clear interest in relevant subject matter. For example, the editor of Marie Claire might appreciate a release about a new beauty product, while the editor of IT Week most certainly would not.


Can I make any announcement through Press Dispensary?
We pride ourselves on our integrity and only accept newsworthy announcements that we believe will appeal to journalists. We vet each incoming proposal for suitability before accepting your order. If we feel it's unsuitable (for example, because it doesn't have a sufficiently strong 'hook' that will entice journalists), we'll send you an email explaining why and what could be done to make it good. There's no charge for vetting your information at this stage - this vital part of our service is free.


What happens when I submit an announcement for Press Dispensary's writing or combined service?
Using the information you provide on our comprehensive order form, if your announcement is suitable for the press, we'll confirm acceptance and email you an advance invoice for the service you've chosen. If you pay by card with your order, we won't debit your account unless and until we accept the order. When payment has been received, one of our resident writers will produce a newsworthy release based on your information. You'll then be emailed the draft release so you can read it and suggest any necessary amendments. After our writer has made the amendments, the release will be sent back to you for final approval. If you've ordered the combined service, you'll also be sent the target press distribution list for your approval. Once you've approved the release and the press list, distribution will take place.


What if I want to amend a release you've written?
Our standard service allows for one amendment stage. Any subsequent requested amendments/additions to the release will be charged at £35/time + VAT. Our aim is to get as much as possible right first time, so we find that very few clients request more than one set of amendments. Obviously, releases cannot be amended once they've been distributed.


What happens when I submit a release for the distribution-only service?
If your announcement is suitable for the press, Press Dispensary will carefully select the media contacts that should be targeted. A bespoke mailing list will be tailored to the content and angle of your particular story as well as the target audience, the relevant industry sectors and the geographic location concerned. You will then be sent the press list, which details the names of the target publications and the job titles of the journalists who will be receiving your release. You must approve the list before we distribute the release: this gives you the opportunity to request that certain publications or journalists are added or removed.

Please note that only editorially correct and newsworthy press releases can be accepted for distribution. Where possible, minor mistakes in your copy will be highlighted and small editorial changes suggested if we think this will help your announcement gain better coverage. If your release contains too many copy errors or is otherwise not suitable for distribution, you will be given advice on how to make improvements. This vetting procedure is free of charge.


How are the press releases distributed?
Press releases are distributed in the body of a plain text email. This is the method favoured by journalists. The releases are sent from Press Dispensary with your name in the "From" field and the email address as yourcompany@pressdispensary.co.uk. In short, the release appears to be from you rather than us.


Where did you get your database of contacts, how many journalists does it contain and how frequently is it updated?
Our database is derived from the ABC registration of journalists in the UK together with our own privately compiled entries. It also contains the contact details of journalists who opt-in to receive relevant announcements from Press Dispensary. We presently have approx. 80,000 media contacts covering 16,000 publications on our database. Our regular contact with journalists means the database is continuously maintained and refreshed. It's reviewed daily and entirely updated each week.


Can I have a list of the publications that received my release?
Yes. We send you a press list containing the title of each publication and the name and job role of the individual journalists, so you know where your press release is going. As with any PR resource, we do not provide full contact details: this is private information and we could be breaching the Data Protection Act (i.e. breaking the law) if we divulged it. After distribution of your release, we will present you with the number and type of media contacts to which it was sent.


How do I place an order?
Simply click here!


How should I follow up my press release?
Timely calls to journalists to see if your company news is of interest to them can be an effective way to gain coverage. However, it's important not to call a journalist to ask "did you receive the press release I sent?" Instead, you need to find a particular angle about your story or company activities that will interest the individual journalist or publication. Generally, if journalists are interested in your release, they'll contact you - not the other way round! Pestering journalists will have a negative effect (especially if they're on deadline!) and will detract from your company image. You can find out more about working with the press in our advice section.


Will journalists contact me?
Depending on the nature of your announcement, journalists may contact you for further information or to request a company logo or photo. If a journalist does get in touch, take his/her deadline seriously, keep your promises and always provide timely and accurate information.


Can you guarantee my announcement will appear in the press?
No PR service can guarantee that an announcement will be published. Journalists receive a high number of press releases per day - in some cases, hundreds. Your chances of gaining coverage are increased by having a story with a strong 'hook', and a professionally written and targeted release.


How will I know if my announcement appears anywhere?
You can find out where your story is being published if journalists call to ask for further information. However, in many cases, particularly with trade press, your announcement will contain sufficiently comprehensive information and journalists will not need anything further to run a news item. You may wish to monitor your target press yourself, or engage a professional monitoring service to send you press cuttings that mention your company name (see below).


Does Press Dispensary provide a press monitoring or press cuttings service?
The cost of a press cuttings service would be many times more than the fees we charge for press releases so no, we don't. However, on request we will monitor online coverage where possible and can also provide recommendations for press cuttings agencies..

 
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Press Dispensary Ltd
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Brighton & Hove BN3 1HN
UK

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Press Dispensary Ltd
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UK