I receive tons of press releases on a daily basis… unfortunately, many of them are not distributed in a way that is online publication friendly. In this age of new media and online news its important to not only make your news story stand out, it’s also important to provide your PR in a format that is attractive to online journalists and editors so they show your news the attention it deserves. The following are some guidelines that could help to get your story picked up and circulated:
- If you email multiple journalists/editors, use the B’CC (blind copy) option in your email client so email addresses are not displayed and shared with the world – and make sure you actually have “news” to share and that it is news-worthy!
- I’m very open to MS Word (or Works) documents and will gladly accept PR in such docs, however, I also suggest you copy the entire press release and paste as simple ASCII text within the body of the email… online publications will love this
- Always include a short, descriptive title and use the title in the subject of the email as well (you’d be amazed at how many press releases are distributed without a title!
- Include detailed contact information with your PR release and ALWAYS include a web link… if your PR is to appear in an online publication a web url for more information is absolutely essential.
- Include your Social Media contact – its amazing but many companies have social media outlets but don’t promote them. Include your Twitter address(es) and a link to a facebook fan page or blog as well… many readers are looking for these and they are valuable resources for journalists.
- PDF – please, please, please, don’t distribute your press releases via PDF format. Sure they look pretty etc… however, most online publications will cringe when they receive them… often the extra effort required to convert a PDF to a clean html document is simply not worth the effort and your PR may be ignored or rejected. If you must send PDF include a text copy in the email body as well
- Images for inclusion with a PR are great. Feel free to embed an image within a Word document or provide as a simple email attachment as a GIS, JPG, or PNG. Be sure to only include relatively low-resolution files (200 kb maximum file size. If you have a high-res image available, place it on your web server and provide the journalist with a link for simple access. Do not email large ZIP files as an attachment, again, this is another way to detract from your news and scare away the journalist.
- Publish your press release on your own website in a “News” section and provide a direct link to the release. Often a journalist can very quickly and easily copy/paste your press release directly from your website making publishing in an online publication very fast and effortless.
- When distributing your press release via email consider providing a short, introductory synopsis in your own words that describes the “meat” of the announcement. This less “newsy” synopsis can be very useful for a journalist to use in a more casual blog posting or social media mention of your news.
- If your press release is published in an online publication think about thanking the editor occasionally, particularly if they are providing you with free exposure. A simple email, mention on your blog, or a re-tweet of the news to your followers is a great way to say thanks… and believe me, an occasional thank-you (not necessary every single time) can go a long way!
Note: PLEASE NEVER, EVER USE ALL-CAPS FOR YOUR PRESS RELEASE TITLE and never under-estimate the power of a gool, old fashioned Thank-You!
Doing this may mean that the publication will likely have to re-enter your title manually creating extra effort and also greatly increasing the chance for a typo or error to be made.