As publisher of The US All Media E-Mail Directory and electronic database, I know many people can benefit from seeing some techniques and guidelines I’ve developed on how to get news coverage from using e-mail.
It’s amazing but true, you can use e-mail to get publicity with the media. Articles can enhance your visibility, name recognition, reputation as an expert, and position in your industry. But there are some tricks of the trade that are developing in this really new marketing technique. E-Mail PR is not hard to learn, and the benefits are substantial.
The Golden Rule: Target & Personalize.
My experience is there are several essential rules that publicists must abide by in submitting e-mail to the media if they are to avoid the wrath of the recipients and maintain their credibility and reputation as a credible PR practitioner. Here’s my “10 Commandments for Sending E-Mail to The Media”
1. Think, think, think before you write. Ask yourself why you are writing, and what are you trying to accomplish by writing. Put yourself in the position of the person reading your message. You are a busy media professional. What would you do upon receiving your message? Publish it or toss it?
2. Target narrowly and carefully. Go for the quality contacts and not the quantity. Don’t broadcast a query or news release or announcement to irrelevant media. Pick out your target media carefully, based on the industry or readership of the specific media you are targeting. Study the media your are writing to. Write the way the editors write. Make it easy for them to use your submittal.
3. Keep it short. Trim your e-mail message so that it fills one to three screens. Keep it three to four paragraphs tops. Don’t try to sell the media your product. Do try to get their interest and make a request for more information.
4. Keep the subject and content of your message relevant to your target — it’s got to be newsworthy and timely. The subject should intrigue them enough to read your message. I prefer presenting and proposing problem-solving articles which advocate the benefits or techniques associated with a strategy, technique, product or service. This article is an example.
5. If you are seeking publicity for a product or service, or want to get reviews for a new book or software, use a two-step approach. Query with a hook and news angle before transmitting a news release, or an article, or offer to send a review copy to those who request it. To avoid angry replies and complaints about unsolicited e-mail send a very brief e-mail requesting their permission to send them a release before actually doing so.
6. Tailor the submittal to the media editorial style or content. Go to a library, read it online, or write and ask for a free media kit and a sample copy of the magazine or journal. Study the style and content of the media. Then write the way they like it. Seek to develop a longer term relationship as a regular contributor.
7. Address each e-mail message separately to an individual media target. Take your time and personalize each e-mail. Don’t ever send to multiple addresses. It’s the easiest way to get deleted without being read.
8. Reread, reread, and reread and rewrite, rewrite, rewrite before you click to send.
9. Be brutally honest with yourself, and with your media contacts. Don’t make claims about your product or service you can’t prove.
10. Follow-up in a timely manner, with precision writing and professionalism.
Welcome to the World of Electronic Commerce. Remember though, there are real people at the receiving end, and your success with the media depends on your respecting the media and being courteous, and your credibility, reputation and performance.
Good luck and prosper. It is not hard to garner news coverage if you take your time and do a careful job. The benefits can be phenomenal. E-mail is a good way to make the most of limited funds. You can work locally, regionally, or nationally, and all you need is a computer with an Internet connection and e-mail.
Just remember, you can and should use e-mail to get news coverage for your business, but you shouldn’t rely on e-mail alone. When used together with conventional PR (mail, paper, phone and fax), you get the maximum effect. You cultivate relationships with media by becoming known as a valuable contributor. You give them what their readers want, they give you the free publicity.