I have been a part of several discussions over the past few weeks centered on the topic of news releases. Besides the age-old question of whether the news release is dead (no, but a topic for another post), the discussions have focused on what happens to the news release once it is received by the media. Whether it is a calendar alert, appointment story or photo caption, who at the publication is getting this information and how are they vetting the accuracy of the content?
There is no denying that newsrooms are short-staffed. But that doesn’t minimize the need for getting the news product out accurately and timely.
So what can we do to assist our friends in the media when it comes to news releases?
Here are some helpful news release hints:
- Take the time to know the news organizations and what they are looking for in content. Does the media outlet even cover the type of news that you are sending? Is your email subject line intriguing enough to get the recipient to open it? Make sure not only the content of the email but the subject is concise and relevant to that news organization.
- Along these same lines, make sure you are sending it to the right person. No matter how good the news is, if you send it to the wrong person, you should expect an automatic delete.
- The easier you make it for the assignment editors or production assistants to use your information the better. Follow proper Associated Press style. Are there photos and graphics that accompany your news release? Use a share-file link like Dropbox rather than send as attachments to minimize the chance that it will be spammed out.
- Should you embargo your news release? I don’t think so. I asked some journalists to weigh in on the topic of embargo, here are some responses.
- If you are offering up a source in your news release, make sure they are available for interviews. There’s nothing worse than a reporter wanting follow-up information and your source isn’t available.
Any other tricks of the trade you’d like to share?