Free Publicity: Email Press Releases

Getting free publicity is often done by sending out press releases. Now, e-mail offers the opportunity to get your release in front of thousands of reporters faster and cheaper.

by Al Bredenberg

As an Internet-based writer, I receive many press releases by e-mail. On the other hand, I’ve written many press releases over the years and had a hand in distributing them. So I think I can offer a unique point of view on the use of e-mail press releases as a publicity tool.

If you can get journalists and writers to cover your story, this can create marvelous free “advertising” for your company. To make it work, though, keep these points in mind:

1. Most publications still prefer to receive press releases by postal mail. So don’t ignore this method of getting your news out, unless you are primarily interested in reaching online journalists.

2. Several news services are available for sending out your press release by e-mail. However, the most valuable media list is the one you build yourself for your own use.

3. Don’t create a “spam” e-mail media list. Just because a publication, writer or editor has a published e-mail address doesn’t mean that person wants to be placed on an e-mail list without permission.

4. Build your media list one address at a time. Send a brief message introducing yourself. Assure the recipient that you have not placed them on a list but that you are sending a personal note to ask if they would like you to send news items to them. Let the person know what kind of news you can offer and how frequently you’ll be sending it.

5. Develop helpful relationships with writers and journalists who have interviewed you or covered your company. Keep in touch without becoming a pest.

6. When you send out a press release, make sure that you have some news to offer. That means something new and different — not just more hype about your company or product.

7. Keep your initial e-mail press release short and to the point — maybe even only one screen in length. Offer to provide details, background or further information for those who are interested. You can make this available via a Web page or a lengthier e-mail document.

8. Start out your press release with the basics — who, what, when, where, why and how. Let the recipient know why this is important news.

9. Avoid filling your press release and follow-up materials with “fluff” — puffery, hype and pompous quotes from the company president.

10. Include clear contact information, so the writer will know who to get in touch with for an interview. More than anything, that’s what you want — a journalist talking with you on the phone and writing down your words, to be quoted in an article for all the world to see!

Al Bredenberg is senior consultant at Enterprise Interactive [].

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