So there’s lots of people reading my post about the evils of PR done badly.
But who ever suggests how to do it correctly?
Well, here’s a start.
Emails: have a meaningful subject line. Often it’s the only thing the journalist will read before deleting it. Journalists delete lots of emails. Never, ever leave it blank.
DO include the content of what your client insists should be attachments in the body of the email. More and more journalists are reading their emails on the move, so they can’t necessarily view attachments, and won’t set their phones to download them. Text is cheap. Put it in the body of the email. And then tell the client you don’t need to include the 1MB attachment because it’s been dealt with in the 50K text of the file. (It’s just left out the vast logo nobody cares about.)
DON’T send PDFs as attachments. Can’t get the text out cleanly, can’t read them easily.
DON’T include pictures unless they’re the very smallest thumbnails, for the reason just given above: mobile data is an expensive pain.
DO include a link where we can get the entire press release and/or the images for it. We might want to link to it so readers can gasp at your brilliance. Plus it means we don’t need to copy or retype stuff. If it’s embargoed, give a username and password to log in so we can look at it. But set that to expire so everyone can see it in time.
DO, if you’re going to inflict a survey on people (mostly: please don’t) include a link to the original data where the journalist can download it and play about with it. Normal humans might like to do the same.
DO understand that journalists get gazillions of emails every day, plus we’re looking around at blogs, plus we have stuff to do ourselves. We don’t necessarily have time to respond to every one. In fact, we definitely don’t. (See above about deletion.) That followup phone call just gets in the way of us writing a story, linking to your press release, writing our own hard-hitting expose. That’s why journalists are so arsey on the phone. Well, some of them.
DO read my post about how PR and journalism are orthogonal. You don’t ring up McDonalds asking them to fix your car. A lot of PR is getting too mailing-list driven. Know your journalist before you email them.
But most of all do include links. Put this stuff on the web. It’s 2010, not 1995. News organisations have changed. Why hasn’t PR?
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