Conversations at the Intersection of PR, Traditional & New Media

Random pitching of press release

Most of you are writing and pitching releases that are meant to be source
material — the material you pitch will get reworked, used as background,
etc. This advice is not for you.

But many of you write releases that you hope — in some cases, expect —
will be picked up verbatim. Advertorial, real-estate copy, copy destined for
some trade pubs and/or newsletters falls into this category.

It is to the latter group that I now speak.

If you want your release picked up verbatim, do not make it harder on the
editors trying to build pages:

* No double spaces after periods. (No newspaper willingly typesets with
double spaces after periods.)

* No tabs to indent paragraphs.

* No PDFsWord only.

or
— Make it an attachment and do not put it in the body of the email

* No embedded graphics in your Word files.

* No pseudo-Euro phone number formats like xxx.xxx.xxxx. (That’s just one
example of the larger superset: Don’t put things in that you know, with
reasonable certainty, will have to be edited.)

* No “BLAH BLAH – PAGE 2” at the top of the second or subsequent pages. That made sense in the days of hard-copy releases, when a page might have gotten lost. We’re dealing with electronic files and it’s not an issue — but it
*is* one more thing to edit out.

* No colored type.

* No ridiculously sized artwork. If you’re submitting to a newspaper,
they’re going to downsample (or, if your’re lame and submit low-res stuff,
upsample) your artwork to 170 dpi. Is anyone going to run your artwork
6-colums wide? Is anyone going to run your artwork at 300 dpi? No and no — and in the few cases where it might be a “yes,” it’s a special case and
you’d know about it. So stop sending 20mb TIF files.

Why bring this up? Because one of my friend is doing some outsource work
with newspapers and *every* editor they’ve spoken with for the sections
where you could reasonably assume a straight pick-up of a release has these
complaints. And more than one of them has said that if they have to mess
with the copy too much, they just move on to the next story.

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Disclaimer

Disclaimer: The thoughts expressed by me in this blog are my personal views and do not represent the views of my employer or the organizations I have been associated with. I believe in the principle of sharing information. Feel free to link to any of the posts in this blog.
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