Some time ago I wrote about nerdy websites. If you email anything to the media, make sure you aren’t guilty of these nerdy email blunders:
–A subject line that says “News Release” with no clue what the release is about.
–A generic greeting such as “Dear Editor.” Always use the editor’s name. If you don’t know it, don’t send it.
–Subject lines that include dollar signs, all capital letters, or exclamation points. Not only do they look bad, but they’re prime bait for the spam filters.
–Funky line breaks. Make sure none of your lines of text exceed 65 characters. Textpad is a great software program that will help you do this automatically.
–Unrecognized characters. The little box that shows up in the middle of a sentence is the most common. It happens because some characters, especially from Microsoft Word, aren’t recognized by some email programs. The problem is that the email message looks fine when you send it, but the charcters appear on the other end, depending on what email program the receiver is using. If you compose your message in Word, and then copy and paste it into the body of the email, be sure you do a test by sending it to several people who use different email programs. Then send it to the media only when you’re sure it’s void of funky characters.
–Broken links. Solve this problem by never including punctuation at the end of a URL, making sure a long URL is printed on a line of its own if possible instead of jumping from one line to the next, and making sure the URL has no typos.
–Misspelled “from” and “to” lines.
–Incorrect contact information.
–Anything sent as an attachment, including news releases.
–The email addresses of all media people in the “CC” line. Never send carbon copies of anything.
Now that you know how to send email correctly, it’s time to start using email to communicate with reporters. Marcia Yudkin, one of my favorite Publicity Hounds, shares all her best strategies on “Secrets for Getting Through to the Media Online,” a recording of a live teleseminar available on audio cassette or CD. Learn how to write news releases so theyre picked up by the search engines, where to find a free trial service that will tell you which keywords people use most often when searching for information on your topic, and how to compile your own media database so you aren’t spending hundreds of dollars on expensive directories.
If you market on the Internet, you can learn tips like these and many more by becoming a member of the Internet Association of Information Marketers.