September 21, 2005

Do's and Don'ts of Emailing Press Releases From a Media Veteran

Here is an excellent article about press releases... so you say why would I need to do a press release? The answer is simple... if you are in marketing or sales you should be doing press releases. Anytime you are starting a business or new campaign you should announce it through a press release. If you have a new product or service you are offering announce it through a press release. I look at press releases as marketing 101. Enough said, learn from a master at press releases, here is the article in his own words. Read and Learn...

By:Dr.Kevin Nunley
I'm a big believer in EMAILING press releases. Not only is email
dirt cheap, email can often get you in front of editors a lot
faster than regular mail or fax.

Here's why. Media outlets like radio stations, TV stations, and
newspapers get a TON of press releases. During my 20 years
working in radio and TV, we got bag loads of mailed press
releases every day.

Probably 90 percent of them came from politicians and local
college athletic programs. Their publicity people are told to
send out a release several times a week--whether they have any
real news to tell or not. Consequently, media get a release
every time a congress person helps someone or an athletic field
house gets a new folding chair.

Are these mailed press releases ignored? You bet they are.
Most go straight from the mail bag to the trash. Who has time to
open 150 envelopes when most of them are pushing some story you
will never be able to use? I know I'll get some notes from
media workers who will say "WE don't do it that way at our
place." And you can be sure a few news rooms are very organized
about opening, reading, filing, and using releases.

Faxed releases work better, but not that much better given the
expense. I worked at one station where the manager got tired of
the fax machine burning up cartridges printing releases. Faxed
releases were routed to the receptionist's computer where she
deleted them.

At another media outlet, faxes, ads, and all the other things
that get faxed spilled out on the floor. Some were read, others
were used for scratch paper, and most were trampled on until
somebody bundled them into the trash.

BUT WAIT A MINUTE! If nobody is reading press releases, why do
studies claim that 75% of the stories you read in newspapers
originate from press releases?

The answer lies in email. Email makes it easy to receive a
release, forward it to the staff person who covers that
particular topic, then store the release in an email "futures"
file where it can be pulled up as needed.

It's incredibly easy for newspaper people to import the email
release into their writing program, change the headline, tweak a
few things, and run it as a story. Editors don't like to admit
they do this, but we've seen big city newspapers run our releases
as articles with very few changes.

You can't blame journalists for doing this. Media outlets
have cut staffs over and over again during the past 15 years.
One person now does the work of three staffers.

Here are some tips for making your emailed release the starting
point for a media report:

1. Start your subject line with RELEASE. Then follow with the
most newsworthy/titillating part of your story.

2. Make your headline the first thing in the body of your email.
I like to use two headlines, the second adding more information
the first didn't have room to mention. The media person should
be able to tell what your release is about just by reading the

3. Include your contact information after the body of the
release. This is becoming the standard way to do things on the
Net. Journalists are now used to looking at the bottom for
contact info.

4. Keep your release under 400 words. Make sure you have good
information the media audience wants, otherwise you don't stand a
chance of getting coverage.

5. Take time to send your release to your local media. They are
more likely to use your story than out-of-town media. You
can find their email addresses by searching for their sites on
search engines.

6. Send your release to trade publications covering your field.
Even small developments can be of big interest to others in your
line of work. One photographer client sent her release to
photographic magazines and got coverage in almost every one.

7. Go national. Get the Gebbie Media Guide at It's
affordable and reliable.

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