How to send a press release to a website publication
The tips and tricks to make sure your story gets coverage on the internet
Many web journalists are under deadlines to publish your story: and want to publish it as quickly as possible. Some have targets for the total amount of stories they must cover per day. Yet, many press releases are sent in a way that slows them down or gets in the way of their job.
We get a fair few press releases here at media.info - firstname.lastname@example.org for your press release, by the way - and here are a few things that might help anyone who you send press releases to.
If you're a journalist, you're welcome to add other tips in the comments, which we may incorporate in a future revision of this article.
Copy/paste the press release into your email in plain text - sure, include a copy as a PDF with fancy formatting if you want, but the most useful thing is to have a copy in plain text in your email. That'll make it searchable in Gmail or Outlook, and will save time for a journalist who hates their slow laptop.
If you must enclose a file, enclose a PDF and not a Word document - not everyone uses Word, and not everyone uses the exact version of Word that you do. PDFs are readable on any device. Please don't add any photos in here - we can't use photos embedded in a PDF, and it just makes our bandwidth bill bigger.
Always send a photograph. Most web publications have a page template that includes a mandatory image, and many require that to be a photograph rather than a company logo. Without an image, a journalist will need to source one somehow, and it probably won't be the image you wanted. Even a shot of your company doorbell is better than nothing.
Send a logo too - some publications could do with a logo for the company they're covering, and you'll probably find that they'll head for a Google Image Search and use the wrong one.
Send full-size images, or at least a link to them. A postage-sized image with a request to "contact me for a full-size image" is an unneeded hurdle for a journalist. If it's not at least 2,048 pixels across, it's too small - many publications will wish to crop images, and most will want their images to display really nicely on a retina screen.
Post your images on Flickr, with the correct licensing - this is the most ideal thing, since it means that journalists can choose from a set of images, rather than the one you've selected (which might be the wrong dimensions for a website). Flickr's free and offers unlimited storage. Using Flickr, mark them Public Domain Dedication (CC0) if you can - that means anyone can use your photos, and doesn't require a clunky credit. It doesn't affect your company trademarks.
Emails and files
Use a decent email subject. "Press Release" is not a decent email subject. "ACME announces new Road Runner catching device" is much better, and helps a journalist prioritise and search.
Don't send ZIP files. Nobody wants to open a random ZIP file from an email. If you're going to send large files, use a service like Dropbox, wetransfer, wesendit, Box, Google Drive or other similar services. If you're sending photos, use Flickr.
Try to avoid a requirement for a follow-up. Many web journalists are remote-working. That could mean they need to use their personal mobiles for any follow-up calls that are needed; but it could also mean that they're halfway across the world in a different timezone, so emailing or calling you will only get you when you're asleep. Giving a journalist all the information they need will help them publish a story - and many have targets to hit in terms of how many stories they author.
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