December 16, 2006

10 useful things that you should always consider for online news (PR) distribution

I've mentioned this before, however, I'd like to offer up a couple of useful tips for those of you that issue PR on behalf of your company - particularly if you send your press to editors for online publication. 10 useful things that you should always do for online PR distribution:
1. provide a short, clear title - NOT IN ALL CAPS - you may like it for style points, however, using all caps is a guaranteed way to make an editor cringe - myself I've refused to publish items in the past simply because of this. Sure the editor can re-type the title, however, that increases the chance for a typo or mistake. If your title is lengthy, consider creating a short tile followed by a longer secondary title or info sentence.
2. specify a release date and be clear to point out if the news is under an embargo date
3. provide a contact section at the end that contains name, phone, email (all optional) but a referring website address is a must
4. distribute as ASCII text. If you send via email include the press release as text within the body of the email. If you like, attach an MS Word document that contains images and additional information.
5. PDFs are a no no. This may be a pet peeve of mine but getting PR as a simple PDF attachment send me loopy! Distilling a PDF into a useful text or html format for use on the web is a royal pain and too much work (unless you're paying for this service). Once again, I've hit the DEL key on more than one occasion in the past when I've received a PDF
6. if you send to a list of publication or editors us the BCC (blind copy) option. CC'ing a bunch of emails is a nice way to share your valuable contact list (thanks to all of you that have shared yours with me in the past) however, you can also turn off some people if they see that you are sharing their email address.
7. if you include an image(s) provide GIF or JPG that are relatively low-resolution (a maximum with of 500-600 pixels is typically max for an online publication
8. send me a ZIP file and I'll freak out! Plain and simple, getting a bunch of documents all zipped up may seem convenient, however, its lots to ask of an editor and you'll be lucky if that ZIP file ever gets decompressed... definitely a nono.
9. If sending via email using the word press or PR followed by the press title is a very friendly way to get the editor's attention.
10. Make sure you have news! I see lots of "weekly news" or regular updates that you can set your watch by. Don't simply send news because its Thursday... make sure you're news is actually newsworthy!
NOTE: all editors likely have their preferences, however, these are the main things I look for in receiving press for online publication. I've been receiving and publishing online PR since 1998 and these rules have been in place for me pretty much the entire time. Finally, consider a follow up... if you have cool news about a new app or service you might consider following up with the editor after he/she has published your press. This is a great time to ask if he'd like a demo, web briefing, or evaluation copy. Got Geospatial press to share? Feel free to send details to press-at-gisuser-dot-com

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