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Release It! · Email Tips

Email Tips

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spectrum imageEstablishing your brand as a valuable resource is a must in today’s new media world. “Sell the sizzle not the steak” no longer works. Today, selling steak (or any other product or service) requires sharing grilling tips, recipe ideas and pairing guides with your target audiences.

The problem is, most of us aren’t in the content creation business—we sell widgets, provide services, and communicate our brand’s values and offerings. So how can we provide the kinds of relationship-building content that our audiences truly want (and new sales, marketing and PR channels require)?

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While whipping up a little party recently, I realized that delivering a good email campaign is a bit like throwing a great dinner party: You need to know your audience, design a great menu, use fresh ingredients and serve it all up with appealing plating for mouth-watering success. When you get it right, you can truly improve your relationships and wow your target audience. So I tossed together this little presentation to share my thoughts…

At PWR, we distribute New Media Releases on behalf of our clients every day. We have a good feel for the small things that make the difference, the details that determine whether your NMR stands out from inbox clutter and wows journalists, or simply turns them off and earns a quick delete! With shrinking newsrooms and a growing need for digital content, releases that are well written, well targeted and full of useful multi-media info make it easy for journalists, and bloggers, to cover a story. Check out our slideshare to learn 10 additional small tips that can help you make your next NMR more effective.

The growth of new media is becoming old news. (Just to toss out one example, Twitter grew 1,382% in the past year!) But email is still the digital glue that holds it all together. Your inbox is where your RSS feeds show up, where DMs from your Twitter friends arrive, and the place most of us organize our lives. And, your email address is like an on-line fingerprint, the way you identify yourself in the digital world as you join new groups and sites or simply add your comments to various blogs. You can’t afford to ignore the email medium, but you should find ways to integrate your email efforts with other platforms. Here are a few simple ideas to get you started…

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Email open rates are, in truth, a rather flawed metric (as I’ve discussed here before). However, some information on who opened, how many times, what they clicked, etc. can still be an extremely valuable tool for PR professionals, helping them with follow up efforts and enabling them to tweak their tactics for future improvements. Sending New Media Releases out every day, we see a few things that can really hurt an open rate, so here are some thoughts on what to think about if you’re trying to improve yours.

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Last week, Michael Arrington of TechCrunch vented a bit about PR gone wrong, lamenting broken embargoes and lambasting bad PR practitioners whose “specialty is spamming.” Ouch! Although Lois is an exception and most PR people are more respectful, no good PR person wants to be perceived of as sending spam. Yet the fact is that  journalists all over the country still want to recieve releases via email, even from people they don’t actually know. What they don’t want are irrelevant, or just bad, pitches (or too many phone calls). 

So here are a few tips on how to make the most of the email medium without having your emails perceived of as spam.

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Who doesn’t want to distribute beautiful emails with eye popping graphics and attention-grabbing rhetoric so your New Media Release can stand-out from inbox clutter?  But before you hit that send button, be sure you know how ISPs, spam filters, preview panes and blocked images will impact your deliverability and rendering.

A failure to design email appropriate messages is one of the most prevalent reasons any email campaign–digital press releases included–underperform, usually because pieces render poorly or have non-functioning links. Here at PWR, we test every email prior to distribution to be sure yours will perform as well as possible. In fact, while your average email-to-inbox ratio is about 75%, ours is 96%. And, as I’ve written about here before, recipients (including journalists and bloggers) are increasingly relying on preview pane view to decide whether or not to open your email so make sure your headline, links, and key graphics are visible through the preview pane even when images are blocked.

But before they can view your email at all you need to get past firewalls, spam filters and servers. Test your email IQ by guessing which of the following emails will get through and look good.
Quaker A     Quaker B Read the rest of this entry »

With all the talk about Social Media Releases and Search Engine Optimization and blogger outreach and shrinking newsrooms, it sometimes seems like PR people are being pulled in too many directions and that press releases are less relevant.

release impactThe truth is, press releases are more effective than ever and, if done right, can deliver better pick-up with traditional media outlets, new media outlets and even get directly to consumers. But to make your press releases as effective as possible you need to keep the needs of these three audiences in mind. We have a little advice about how to optimize your next release for traditional press, blogs and social media sites, and consumers.

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Last week I did a teleseminar for PRSA. As I shared my many deep thoughts on New Media Release best practices, I tossed out a throw away line about the problems of using the BCC field. When the call was opened up for Q&A, the first two questions went back to that comment. They were surprised to hear that stuffing the BCC field with recipients was a problem and, to be honest, I was surprised that it wasn’t a well known fact. The truth is, dropping multiple email addresses into the BCC field and blasting out an email is a bad practice that will likely deliver your email directly to the junk box, if it makes it that far, and can affect future emails to the same recipient(s).

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A recent study suggests that longer subject lines, over 70 characters, deliver better click through rates. This contradicts the long-held belief that shorter, 40-50 characters, is better when it comes to subject lines and has led to some to wonder if long is the new short. But the results are murky and, in spite of the minor uproar it’s caused, the only solid conclusion to be drawn is that the subject line does not exist in a vacuum. When it comes to email everything counts: send time, preview pane view, image to text ratio, from line and more. So what advice can we offer? Here are a few things we see working well with New Media Release subject lines:

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Welcome to Release It!, PWR New Media's blog about press releases in the new media world. We will offer tips, insights and maybe an occasional good joke about maximizing New Media Releases so that journalists, bloggers and even consumers will appreciate your news. We look forward to hearing from you, so please pipe up.

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