E-mail is becoming the preferred way to receive media releases. Although it can sometimes be harder to get valid e-mail addresses for media contacts, e-mail releases are more likely to be read than faxes and faster than snail mail.
Collect e-mail addresses for your preferred media contacts from the web sites for publications and broadcast outlets. For example, many newspapers list e-mail addresses of their editors, columnists and reporters at their web sites. They may also print e-mail addresses in each section of the newspaper.
Can't find the e-mail address for the person you want to reach? Often, you can guess what the address is if you know the e-mail address convention for that publication. For example, if others there have addresses that are email@example.com, you can try contacting columnist John Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keep the release short. There shouldn't be more than a couple of screens worth of text.
Use text, not special formatting such as HTML. What you thought was a beautifully formatted message with special fonts and graphics will show up on some systems as a bunch of garbage code. Also, with all the viruses, worms and trojans out there, some people will not open HTML e-mail.
NEVER send an attachment. Some systems will automatically strip them out, but even if they reach the addressee, many will not open an attachment because of the possibility of viruses as well as the inconvenience.
Your subject line is your headline. Use it wisely. Don't leave it blank, or put a generic subject such as "Hi!" or "Something for you." Most will delete it believing it to be spam or just not interesting. Don't try to be cute with a subject line such as "Guess who?" or "I dare you to open this," for the same reasons.
Make the FROM field meaningful. Put your name, company name or other identifier there. If all that shows up is that the e-mail is from a meaningless series of letters and numbers, it looks unprofessional or like spam.
Don't use the CC: field to send the e-mail release to dozens or hundreds of media. All of the addresses will show up on each person's e-mail, meaning they will have to scroll through pages of header to reach your message-and they won't. Your e-mail will be deleted unread. It's annoying and unprofessional to send e-mails this way.
E-mail releases can be an effective, free way to get publicity. Use them wisely.
Copyright Cathy Stucker. Learn more about how you can attract customers and make yourself famous with free publicity at http://www.IdeaLady.com/pr.htm.