A short guide for sending out an electronic press release.
(nederlands - francais) NO ATTACHMENTSThe best way to annoy internetjournalists and online reporters is to send them an email which contains nothing but an attachment. "Here our press release", the email says. The added attachment is called 'pressrel'. With which program the file is made remains unclear. It could be Word, WordPerfect or even Powerpoint. The journalist is on his own to find out. And of course, he won't. Because the best way to treat an attachment is to trash it unopened. Here's a revelation: you can send text via email. Add nothing, not even images because the journalist can download those himself at your website (right?). Never send attachments unless a journalist ask for them. Don't be alarmed, that will never happen.
ONCE IS ENOUGH
Make sure that your press release is mailed only one time. If the mailing goes wrong and your press release arrives tenfold in the journalist's mailbox, don't send any extra messages saying "woops, something went wrong, sorry".
BCC IS BETTER
Some people have a habit of sending complete adressbooks along with an electronic press release. Quite remarkable if you consider the fact that this never happens with paper press releases. The habit is also contagious because others copy this list of email adresses to send out there own mailing. The worst thing however is that it looks rather stupid. Sending a mailing with the adresses of members of the press visible in cc-line is showing off in a pathetic way. If you want to send a press release to several journalists at one time, use the bcc-option (blind carbon copy) of your email program.
KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID
Keep the text in your press release brief, give a clear explanation of the news, mention your URL and a contactperson (email adress and phonenumber), and don't diss competitors.
Send your electronic press release in plain text (ASCII). Some journalists read your mail on their cellular phone. Spend the time you wasted on lay-out on the content of your press release.
Don't expect a reply from a journalist. A press release is a factual message, not a conversation. And most of all, don't expect to be mentioned. Often the message is only read and will be used later in another context.
Keep a searchable archive of your electronic press releases on your website and mention the URL in every press release.
© 1998 Francisco van Jole & Erwin van der Zande