Dos And Don Ts Of Emailing Press Releases From A Media Veteran

Dos And Don Ts Of Emailing Press Releases From A Media Veteran

Do's And Don'ts Of Emailing Press Releases From a​ Media Veteran
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 a​ 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 headlines.
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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