Before you send that email, how sure are you that you’ve been following all the press release submission rules?
If you cocked your head to the side wondering what rules I’m talking about, then you should definitely wait a moment.
There are several guidelines to keep in mind before you submit your press release to anyone, and breaking these rules could mean disaster. Journalists do talk to one another, and if word gets around you’re pushy or obnoxious, it could take a miracle before your next email gets opened or your phone call gets answered.
Don’t be pushy
I mentioned being pushy, so I might as well start there. Look, we all understand your press release is the most important document ever written. To the journalist reading it, though, it’s one of ten thousand they’ll receive that day. It might actually be
the most important document ever written, but their eyes will gloss over just the same.
It’s important to remember how busy the journalist or intern is; they have other obligations. If a big story breaks and the whole newsroom is scrambling to cover it, your press release goes to the back burner. If you called them up at this point to angrily demand they print your release, guess who’d be on the blacklist.
Timing really is everything, and one mistake could mean that nobody ever sees your press release. Would you read an announcement in the paper about a company holding a Thanksgiving event when it’s a week after Easter? No, because it’s so far away that it’s practically meaningless. If you’re having a grand opening for your business, don’t announce it too far ahead, or people will just forget about it.
Even the time of day can make a huge difference. Do you get up every morning to submit press releases when you know everyone is just getting into the office? Great idea—except everyone else had the same idea as well. Try submitting at an odd time so it has a better chance of being seen.
Read the guidelines
Think every newspaper, magazine, blog, etc. is the same? If so, that’s probably why you haven’t been picked up yet. Every single outlet has its own way of doing things, and that includes press release submissions. You would not believe how many releases get tossed aside because the sender just didn’t read the rules.
For example, some outlets want the release in the body of an email; others want an attachment. Some want the release within a certain word count. If you didn’t check before you hit send, you’ll be tossed aside. There are a ton of variants they could outline so, again, make sure to read the rules beforehand.
Include correct contact info
Again, the journalists you’re contacting are super busy and are tired of reading press releases. If they come across one they like and there’s an adjustment to be made, they’ll try to contact the author. If the author gave out incorrect or insufficient info, they’ll simply move on.
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It’s 2013—for a few weeks more, anyway. Include your email address along with your phone number, website, and physical address. If you have room and they seem social media savvy, include your Twitter account. Your Facebook profile might be a bit much, but if it seems that they are big on it, throw it in for good measure. The more ways they can reach you the more likely your story will be in the press the next day.
Have any other pitching best practices? Please let us know in the comments.
Mickie Kennedy is the founder of eReleases. A version of this article first appeared on the PR Fuel blog.