As an Internet-based writer, I receive many press releases by email. On the other hand, I've written many press releases over the years and had a hand in distributing them. So I think I can offer a unique point of view on the use of email press releases as a publicity tool.
If you can get journalists and writers to cover your story, this can create marvelous free "advertising" for your company. To make it work, though, keep these points in mind:
- Most publications still prefer to receive press releases by postal mail. So don't ignore this method of getting your news out, unless you are primarily interested in reaching online journalists.
- Several news services are available for sending out your press release by email. However, the most valuable media list is the one you build yourself for your own use.
- Don't create a "spam" email media list. Just because a publication, writer or editor has a published email address doesn't mean that person wants to be placed on an email list without permission.
- Build your media list one address at a time. Send a brief message introducing yourself. Assure the recipient that you have not placed them on a list but that you are sending a personal note to ask if they would like you to send news items to them. Let the person know what kind of news you can offer and how frequently you'll be sending it.
- Develop helpful relationships with writers and journalists who have interviewed you or covered your company. Keep in touch without becoming a pest.
- When you send out a press release, make sure that you have some news to offer. That means something new and different -- not just more hype about your company or product.
- Keep your initial email press release short and to the point -- maybe even only one screen in length. Offer to provide details, background or further information for those who are interested. You can make this available via a Web page or a lengthier email document.
- Start out your press release with the basics -- who, what, when, where, why and how. Let the recipient know why this is important news.
- Avoid filling your press release and follow-up materials with "fluff" -- puffery, hype and pompous quotes from the company president.
- Include clear contact information, so the writer will know who to get in touch with for an interview. More than anything, that's what you want -- a journalist talking with you on the phone and writing down your words, to be quoted in an article for all the world to see!
Understanding the request form...
- What are you selling: Most email campaigns are selling a product or service. Name that product and/or service in this field. (for example: security services, accounting software)
- Target Market: Name here who you see as the market or potential buyers of your product/service. (for example: home owners, accountants)
- Size of your mailing: How many emails do you plan to send -- this will affect your potential revenue and cost. (for example: 100,000 to 250,000)
- Your Time Frame: When do you plan to do your mailing? (for example: mailing within one month)
- Campaign Details: Give a more complete description of what you are planning. (for example: I plan to do 3 sequential mailings to homeowners in New Jersey in order to sell a new security system.)