Friday, August 13, 2010

Question of the Week: My Press Release

Q: Hey there!
I'm getting ready to do some press-release-sending out, and am it better to actually mail a press release or to go ahead an email the release and a few photos to the contacts you sent? I suppose I got the cart ahead of the horse, and didn't think about method of sending. Thanks, Khalima

How to Use Your Media Contact List
The E-Teaser
A month and a half before your event, send out a short 1-2 line e-mail to each, individual journalist. In the subject bar type “story idea” in small case letters. In the body of your e-mail use their name and ask them, for instance, “If they accept story ideas relating to theater related events.” See the example below:

Subject: story idea
Hi Mike,
Do you accept story ideas for the San Francisco area? If so, I think I have one your readers would really enjoy.
Slash Coleman

Your initial e-mail serves two purposes. One, it allows your initial contact to get through the spam filter. By using all small case letters in the subject bar and keeping your e-mail brief, chances are better that your query will get through the spam filter.

Two, an e-mail such as the one I suggest puts you in a position of power. Rather than asking the journalist for something, you’re identifying that you have something that may help the journalist. Journalists, like artists, are usually hungry for their own big break. Could you be the key to that break? Maybe. The short e-mail like the one I’m suggesting is usually enough to perk the interest of even the busiest journalist. In addition, it allows you to make the first step in developing a relationship with the person on the other end of the e-mail – it’s a polite introduction of sorts.

You’ll be surprised at how quickly most media representatives will answer a teaser like the one above.  Response times vary from 1 hour to 2 days. In  some cases, the journalist will let you know a better person to contact.  If they e-mail back saying they're not interested or they refer you to someone else, thank them and save their e-mail for the future if appropriate.

More likely than not, you’ll get a short response back that reads something such as “We sure do!”, “Yes” or “Go ahead and pitch me.” When you get this answer, send a press release.

For more info about "The Neon Man and Me" and other storytelling projects by me - Slash Coleman - please visit

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