In some of our other blogs we’ve covered a range of topics focused on writing and formatting your press releases – from choosing a news angle that will get editors interested, through how to structure a release and use engaging language. Once your copy is ready you’ll most likely be sending it out via email (unless you pay for a distribution service) so this time we’re looking at a few final practicalities to consider before you click ‘send’:
1. Don’t over exaggerate
When you send out your press release, don’t use hyperbole in your email subject or message – just saying something is ‘spectacular’, ‘ground-breaking’ or ‘stunning’ doesn’t make it so. Be honest, and if it’s a great story, a journalist will recognise that without too much encouragement from you. They get messages like this all the time, and if your language is proud but not over excited there will be less chance of them being disappointed when they read your actual news.
2. Put the press release in the body of the email
You need to impress journalists with your news, not your page layout skills, so while it may seem ‘neater’ to send your press release as a nicely formatted document, consider what’s easiest for them. It’s much quicker to simply scroll down an email and copy/paste the information than to download and open an attachment. If for some reason it’s essential that information is sent in an attachment, always make sure it’s not locked or password protected, and Word is preferable to pdf.
3. Don’t crash their inbox with unnecessary extras
Your press release should encapsulate all the key points of your news and a journalist will always contact you with questions or interview requests if they are interested. They simply won’t have the time to trawl through piles of background information to find the nuggets they need, so don’t send it. Just make sure your contact details are clear and obvious. (Note: if the topic of your press release is a report or other information that you’ve published, do make sure you include a link to the document and offer copies on request.)
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4. If you’re sending photos, make sure they are good quality and usable
If you send a photo with your press release, it should be high resolution and relevant to the story; there’s no point sending anything that isn’t good enough to publish. While sending a 10MB photo file may be frowned upon (see point number 3) and may stop your email getting through, any images you do send to print media will usually need to be a minimum file size of around 1MB. The photo also needs to be relevant to the story, well-lit and composed, and have a short caption saying what is pictured. Jpg format is the most commonly used.
5. Check your spelling and grammar
Your spelling and grammar aren’t just important in your press release. Your email introducing the media information will receive just as much scrutiny, as it speaks to your attention to detail, respect for the journalist and the care you’ve taken in pulling together the release.
While it may save you time to bundle all your contacts together, remember that there’s a difference between local and trade media, press and broadcast and so on. Research the media, consider their individual needs and tailor your communications rather than sending a blanket email.
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