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How to send a press release to a website publication

The tips and tricks to make sure your story gets coverage on the internet

By James Cridland
Posted 29 August 2017, 7.33pm edt
James Cridland
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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 - news@media.info 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.

Your story

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.

Photographs

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.

James Cridland — James is the Managing Director of media.info, and a radio futurologist: a consultant, writer and public speaker who concentrates on the effect that new platforms and technology are having on the radio business. His website is at james.cridland.net, where you can subscribe to his weekly newsletter.
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