Best of the Banter: Email press releases
by Donna Stryk, Moderator of the Online Ads Discussion List
Spam remains one of the biggest frustrations for anyone doing business via email. Unfortunately, there are still some hazy areas when it comes to defining this monster. On January 5th, Manuel asked if sending a press release by email to the most important papers in his area announcing the launch of his innovative site would be considered spamming. After all, the email would be unsolicited, but how else do you get the media to take notice of you? Here's what the members of Online Ads had to say about the issue.
Former newspaper editor and reporter, Josh Troesh said that this is definitely not spam, assuming that the "URL" that Manuel obtained from the paper's web site is actually the email address of the person that he wishes to target. He said, "Part of an editor's job is to sift through the clutter and find the actual news. You are simply helping add to the editor's resource of potential news by sending him your press release." He did suggest, however, that a professional PR person should handle the distribution of the release.
Michael Driehorst agreed with this position. He added, "What you do have to be careful of is if the editor/reporter at newspapers you target prefers to receive press releases that way." He even proposed calling a few reporters in your targeted media audience and asking them if they prefer email or snail mail.
On another note, Jim Kulakoski said that, "most media sources do not have time to review every unsolicited email press release…and subscribe to services who pre-screen releases for them." He suggested using a service such as www.prweb.com or www.newsbureau.com rather than wasting you time sending releases that will just be deleted. Ramon Ray also mentioned using BizWire or PRNewswire to get more notice.
So what makes these emails different from spam? First of all, the media has set up email addresses for the purpose of receiving possible story ideas. Secondly, these releases are sent to a very targeted list of editors and reporters. Wayne Browning said, "If you take the same email and send it to a list that is unrelated, then that would be considered spamming." Finally, the news release has to be news worthy. This means that you have to avoid "hype" as Janet Attard called it, which will always send the reader straight to their delete key.
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