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Janet Roberts

Want Some PR? Don't Go Postal
By Janet Roberts

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You want to let the press know about your newsletter. Should you mail a press release, email it, use a news service or pick up the phone?

A new study reported in today's EMarketer News Daily says many journalists prefer communicating with public-relations agencies via email, instead of through postal mail or phone calls.

The annual media survey by Bennett & Company says 47 percent of 500 newspaper high-tech and travel writers prefer getting news releases in email, compared with 27 percent who still want paper news releases.

Want to call your contacts instead? Hang up that phone, unless the writer you're calling is a friend or previous contact: 12 percent said they get calls, but only 3 percent want them.

Other alternatives: 12 percent want to get releases through a wire service such as Business Wire or PRNewswire, which charge you a fee to send out your releases. Another 9 percent like to get faxes.

The annual media study by the Orlando-based public-relations and marketing firm, surveyed high-tech and travel writers online and through a paper survey. More than half of the respondents chose either to reply to an email survey or fill it out at Bennett's Web site, while 38 percent either faxed it in or returned the survey in its postage-paid envelope.

This is not your license to start blasting out announcements to the local media, however. Take a moment to find the writer who would most likely respond to your news, find something he or she wrote and see whether the story includes a phone number or email address. That's your preferred avenue.

If neither is listed, and the paper has a Web site, look for an online masthead giving reporters' or editors' addresses or phone numbers. No Web site? Now you can pick up the phone and call the editor.

Time of day is crucial. If the paper comes out in the morning, call before 2 or 3 p.m. If it's an afternoon paper, call after noon. Otherwise, you're calling when everybody is busy putting out the paper, and nobody will talk to you.

This is just one of the many caveats to remember as you construct your newsletter's promotion campaign. You'll find more in the Promotions category of the Ezine-Tips archives.

Also, the media survey has other interesting statistics on how travel and high-tech writers work with PR firms. Read a summary at the firm's Web site (click on "Survey Results" at right).

Ezine-Tips for August 15, 2002

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