email press release

What's the best way to follow up an email press release?

Posted by Matthew Stibbe
Picture of Matthew Stibbe
on 15 October 2008
How to do PR inbound marketing email

Hi Uncle Matthew,

I found your article How to Write an Efficient Email Press Release very helpful. I was wondering if you had some additional insight into one aspect I am still a little unsure about:  What is the etiquette for email follow-ups after emailing a press release?

Specifically, if I have emailed you a press release about an event (following all of your suggested guidelines, of course!) can I or should I email you a "re-release" (i.e. a second press release in case you didn't open or forgot about the previous email)?

I certainly don't want to annoy anyone, but I also want a way to gently remind you of my event in case you forgot about it.  Perhaps this is never advisable...  But if this is an acceptable practice, what is the time frame after sending my initial press release?  Two days or Two weeks?  Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!

- Eager PR person 

Dear Eager,

Mailbox heaving with junk mailI understand your dilemma. But put yourself in the shoes of a hard pressed journalist for a moment. They get hundreds - perhaps thousands of emails a week from PR folk. Unless they have a personal relationship with the sender or the email is exclusive and specific to them, they are going to treat these emails like junk mail - no reply necessary. If they can't use it, they will ignore it. Sorry, but that's how it is.

Sending reminders or resending the original email is just irritating and counter-productive.

The most irritating thing you can do is call the journalist and ask if they received your email. I can't begin to tell you how much this annoyed me when I was a journalist. A couple of PR firms did it so much that I blacklisted them completely.

In my view these are not acceptable practices, even though they are very common in the PR industry. See my earlier articles: How to annoy a journalist and Top ten lies of PR companies for extensive ranting on the subject.

Okay, enough negativity. Here are a few positive suggestions:

  • Send a keep the date free email for your event and follow up with a more specific invitation later. This is acceptable.
  • Consider using Facebook or similar to organise events rather than email invitations.
  • Personalise emails - use the journalist's name and write a personal introduction. ("Hi Matthew, remember when we met at the conference and you said to let you know when the event was happening...")
  • Build a relationship with your journalist audience before you need to email them so that they recognise your name in their inbox and don't auto-delete your mail.
  • Check in with your journalists from time to time to see if they find your press releases relevant and useful in a general sense and ask for their suggestions about what would be most helpful. (Nobody ever did this for me. I still get press releases three years after I stopped being a journalist!)
  • Follow up a press release three months later. "Remember we told you about our new product, well we thought you’d like to know that it’s sold ten million units." Nobody ever does this.

More suggestions and hints: 62 ways to improve your press releases.

Best wishes,

Uncle Matthew

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