July 9, 2005  
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What to Avoid when Distributing a Press Release

Once you have carefully developed a press release for your website, it is important that you distribute it with hopes of receiving the best possible response from the press. The last thing you want to do is get on the bad side of a member of the press. There are some procedures you should pay attention to when sending a press release to a press contact.

Always Spell the Contact’s Name Correctly
First, avoid misspelling the contact’s name. When distributing your press release to an individual member of the press, always make sure the name and title of the person to whom you are sending your release is correct.

Avoid Attachments When Emailing
Do not use attachments when emailing a release unless he or she requests one. You should always paste your release in an email message. Link to your website for photos and further information, but avoid attaching a product demo or additional documents.

Send One Copy of a Release Only
Try to avoid sending each press release to your contact’s email, phone, fax, and snail-mail address. The press only need one copy of your release and may get annoyed by receiving multiple copies. Try to find out the preferred way that a member of the press likes to receive releases and rely on only that method when distributing your release to that individual.

Check Spelling and Grammar
Never send a press release with tons of spelling or grammatical errors. There are easy spell-check features in every major word processing program, so there is no reason why your release should have any spelling or grammatical errors. Always proofread to make sure every sentence is complete and makes sense.

Research the Publication You Want to Contact
Make sure you do not send information that doesn’t relate to your contact’s publication. Research the publication you want to contact before you send a release to that publication. You will most likely get blocked from a press contact’s email address if you send them information that they deem unrelated to their interests.

Include Your Contact Information
Always include contact information in your press releases. If an editor decided to pick up your release you should make sure there are easy ways for him or her to contact you. Include your email, phone, and name and title in an easily viewable place. Editors and writers are under strict deadlines. If they have to take time finding out how to contact you your release will most likely end up discarded in the trash or their deleted email folder.

Keep Press Releases Short
Do not send your press contacts a book-sized press release. Press releases ideally would be under 500 words and should never exceed 800 words. Keeping the message short and sweet is always preferable for a busy member of the media. If the press release looks too long or wordy, many members of the press will not even look at it.

Craft a Newsworthy Headline
Always have an interesting headline for your press release. The headline is one of the most important aspects of a release. Many members of the press will decide what releases to read purely on the basis of the headline. Never forget to include a headline and always make it catchy and newsworthy.

Avoid “Double Checking” by Phone
Finally, try to avoid calling your contact to check up on whether or not they have received the release. If you sent it to their correct contact information, they have received it. Never call a member of the press up to read your release to them either. This will more than likely irritate the person and will only mark you as an annoyance.

Any of these errors can cause your release to be ignored or discarded. However, if you avoid these public relations mistakes, you have a stronger change of one of your press releases being picked up by a member of the press.

     

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