A press release is your first, and sometimes only, chance to get a reporter’s attention. Obviously you want to generate interest and have your news covered, but what happens if spam filters catch your press release?
The answer is simple: nothing.
Information moves at a high velocity these days, and reporters are constantly being bombarded with releases. As it is, the chances of your story getting picked up can be slim, but when your release ends up in a spam folder you can pretty much forget about it.
Given that, you must consider tactics that will deliver your release directly to an inbox. And Myra Oppel, regional vice president at Pepco Holdings, has some tips for the PR pro that will accomplish just that.
“You don’t present a gift from Tiffany’s in a brown paper bag,” Oppel said. “Whether your email is opened starts with how it’s packaged.”
- Send your pitches from your own company email address. Personal email extensions—especially free services like Yahoo!—often trigger spam guards. Regardless of your relationship with a reporter, stick to your company email.
- Avoid all caps. While it was once a preferred style to give your release an all-caps headline, spam filters hate it and it’s a surefire way to get your release bounced.
- Make your subject line informative. Generic subject lines tend to trigger spam filters, so a unique and informative one should clear the filters and improve the chances that the email will be read.
- Keep in mind that reporters are human spam filters. Even if you clear the digital hurdle, a reporter may still delete your email immediately. A rich and intriguing subject is your first line of defense, but there is more you can do. Build a relationship with the journalists you pitch; ask reporters what email address is the best to pitch by topic; and avoid developing a reputation for sending out spam releases (easier than you think). In other words, know who you’re pitching, where you’re pitching and only reach out if you have real news.
As a final note, Oppel suggests that you avoid the following keywords and terms as much as possible:
You have been selected
Accept credit cards
This isn’t spam
Follow Caysey Welton: @CayseyW