Before you send that email you were about to send, 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 it’s definitely time to hold up a second.
There are several guidelines to keep in mind before you actually submit your press release to anyone, and breaking these rules could mean disaster. Journalists do talk to each other and if word gets around you’re pushy or obnoxious then it may take a miracle before your 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’ve read that day. It may 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 because they have other obligations to worry about. If a big story breaks and the whole newsroom is rushing around to cover it, your press release goes way on the back burner in their brain. If you called up at this point to angrily demand they print your release, guess who’s on the blacklist?
Timing really is everything, and one mistake could mean nobody ever sees your press release to begin with. 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 it’s practically meaningless. So if you’re having a grand opening for your business, don’t announce it too far ahead as people will just forget.
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 their own way of doing things, and that includes press release submissions. You would not believe how many releases get tossed aside because they just didn’t read the rules.
For example, some want the release in the body of an email while others want an attachment. Some want the release under 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 just 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 do like and there’s a tiny adjustment to be made, they’ll try and contact the author. If the author forgot to give out the correct info (or not enough info), they’ll simply move on.
It’s 2013. Include your email along with your phone number, website, and physical address. If you have room and they seem tech savvy, include your Twitter account. Your Facebook profile might be a bit much, but if they seem like 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!
Did WE forget any pitching best practices? Let us know in the comments.
This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (http://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Download your free copy of the Beginner’s Guide to Writing Powerful Press Releases here: http://www.ereleases.com/insider/beginnersguide.html