Press release etiquette?
January 31, 2008 12:31 PM Subscribe
What is proper etiquette for writing and distributing press releases? General advice, book/website suggestions appreciated; more specific questions inside.
posted by bubukaba to human relations (13 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
I've been publicity chair of a film society in Chicago for about two months. We have a 500-seat cinema, we screen films every night of the week on 35mm whenever possible (often rare or archival prints), and we have some of the most interesting, eclectic programming in the city. So, in some senses we're very professional.
But the reality is that we're actually an all-volunteer organization staffed by unpaid undergraduates (I'm one, too) and occasional cinephiles from the City. The University is completely uninvolved in most of our work.
So, two months ago I found myself in charge of all of our publicity - with pretty much no experience. I think I've done a pretty good job so far, but I'm concerned that my lack of experience is leading me to make a lot of assumptions about what is and isn't okay to do when dealing with the press.
1: I've mostly been emailing our press releases (we send out one announcing our quarterly calendar and about one a month about special events). Is this a terrible idea?
2: Is it bad form to BCC it to everyone with a generic greeting and "this is the press release for ____. Thanks a lot, etc etc" kind of opening letter? Should I be emailing each reporter individually instead?
3: What should the subject line to an emailed press release read?
4: Should I still put -30- at the end of an emailed press release? (What about a paper one?)
5: Is sending an attached .pdf always bad?
6: Under what circumstances should I mail a paper copy?
7: Should I write to ask if people would like to be added to our press list, or if they want to remain on it? How do I build these sorts of relationships? (This is the kind of thing that seems particularly hard in a four-year institution).
8: How do I inform the press of corrections to my initial press releases?
9: Are there differences in how I should approach newspapers and how I should approach blogs? (I'm particularly worried about my dealings with the Slowdown section of Gapers Block - they seem to have completely ignored everything I've sent them, including questions about how to best submit our calendar of screenings to them).
10: Should I write to thank journalists who write things about us?
11: How long should a press release be?
Any suggestions of web or print resources on figuring this whole game out would be enormously appreciated.