I hope you find my writing and business tips and observations useful. My business and blog are dedicated to helping businesses communicate clearly and reach their potential. Read, subscribe to my newsletter, enjoy!Tash

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Timing a media release

A media release is generally an announcement of something you consider newsworthy enough the media may tell your story. So when do you tell the media?

There is no simple answer, but there are some guidelines depending on what type of release you are sending out.

If your release is announcing something that has happened (e.g. “we won an award”)

  • send it out ASAP

If your release is about an upcoming event (e.g. “our school fete is on the 9th May”)

  • don’t send it until you know all the important facts (especially dates, times and place, or the name, address and URL of a new business)
  • send it early enough for the media to use it. For example, if the local paper is printed on Tuesday don’t send the release on the Tuesday afternoon immediately before the event. Note that some media outlets have a much longer lead time than others – some magazines need things months in advance. Likewise, consider their time requirements before sending it too early – a local paper or website doesn’t need to know about a small event 3 months in advance, they’ll just forget it if you tell them too soon!
  • include a release date. That is, at the top of the media release, write “Not to be released until 1 June 2008” or similar so the media know it is advance warning

In addition, if your release is about the launch of a new website

  • don’t send the release until there is something on the website! Sending the media to  ‘coming soon’ page won’t impress them and it is less likely that they will publish your story. The site doesn’t have to be complete, but have a welcome page that introduces the business/site, some contact details and has a look that complements the final look – this is much more professional and enticing. If the site is near completion, you may even send the media a link that shows them what the site will look like even if it isn’t yet available at the final URL

If your release isn’t time critical, then you can send it at any time of course! But I would question its newsworthiness if it really has no time frame attached..

The timing doesn’t have to be hard – just use a little common sense really.

Happy writing!


Online magazine or newsletter?

I’ve had a client swap from online newsletters to paper ones recently and it got me to thinking about the relative benefits of a paper newsletter/magazine over an online version.

So, following on from yesterday’s discussion on blogs vs newsletters, today’s post is about online vs print for newlsetter

What are the benefits of a hard copy newsletter/magazine?

  • it’s easy to read – on screen reading is slower and harder, printing it yourself requires a printer and costs!
  • not everyone is online so a hard copy may expand your readership base, which is particularly important if you want to influence a wider range of people
  • many people find it exciting to get something in the mail, especially something that isn’t a bill!
  • it’s easy to mark your place if you can’t finish reading it in one sitting
  • it’s easy to make notes in the margins or underline specific points of interest
  • it can be stored for later use or handed to friends and colleagues
  • articles tend to be longer and more detailed in a magazine or printed newsletter which is great if you are after information

And how is an online version better?

  • it is very cheap to produce and distribute, and is therefore more likely to be available for free
  • it can be finished just before a publication deadline – hard copies need more planning – so can be more up-to-date
  • it can link to relevant resources, expanded information and the publisher’s website
  • it can be kept very short by just having article excerpts and linking to the main article online
  • the link/pdf/email can be passed onto friends

As a general rule, businesses will pay more to advertise in your magazine than in an online or email newsletter because it is the more conservative and better-known option, and it is more permanent.

Email newsletters become popular very fast because they were cheap to produce and could be sent straight to people’s computers. However, there are now so many email newsletters available that people become overwhelmed and don’t read all the emails they get.  Additionally, there is so much spam flying around that legitimate newsletters and the like are often caught by spam filters and are not read.

So when contemplating what to do for your business, consider your budget, the purpose of your publication, what your market may like and how important it is for your newsletters to be read promptly. Remember, you can always do both or stop one if it truly isn’t working for you and your clients.