You’re a journalist working in a newsroom. Ten times a day, people call and ask, “I sent a press release last week but it hasn’t shown up in the paper yet. Can you confirm you received it?”
You drop what you’re doing, call up your email from the last seven days and meticulously scroll through it, looking for the press release in question. You return the phone call and explain that yes, you received it, or no, you didn’t. How much time do you think you’d waste if you did that 10 times?
Yet people keep making annoying follow-up calls after they send press releases. Some of them also ask, “Do you know when it will be printed?”
No, most times, journalists don’t know. If they rewrite your press release, it goes to the editor in charge of the section where the release will appear. And the editor schedules it. A variety of factors can bump that press releases from the the section. And the last thing a busy reporter wants to do is chase after your release and find out when it’s scheduled to appear.
If you’ve emailed or snail-mailed a release, assume it reached its destination. Don’t make an annoying follow-up call.
Twenty years ago, we wrote releases only for the media. Today, we write them primarily to post online so they pull traffic to our websites.
Besides, if you want major coverage of a story, sending a press release is the lazy way to get the media’s attention. You need to deliver a customized pitch.