Old Reliable…Email

by Mike Zlotnicki

In this age of social media, email might seem passé, but email is still an important tool in the media toolbox, especially when integrated with Twitter, Facebook and other social mediums. Some fundamentals to remember:

  • Target your Audience – This may not as obvious as it sounds. You may have your usual contacts, but get creative when targeting reporters and beats. A golf fundraiser might of interest to Sports or Business, or maybe a social page. Don’t make assumptions for mediums or reporters.
  • The Subject – The subject field should be brief and informative. It can be catchy, but never cute. Puns and plays-on-words make editors and writers groan. Like headline writing, try to include words like “new” and “first.”
  • The Body – Keep the body of the email to one page. Or, offer a few lines of the story and ask the recipient if they’d prefer the whole release as an attachment.
  • Photos – Shoot photos with high-resolution settings. Send photos in jpeg format and preferably in a low-resolution file. Hi-res files can make for difficult downloading and can be targeted as Spam. Be sure to tell the recipient hi-res files for print publication are available.
  • Three P’s: Personalize, Preview & Proofread – Whenever possible, use the reporter’s name to introduce your message, even if the rest is cut-and-paste. Preview the message before sending it. Don’t trust spell check, and AutoFill is seldom your friend.
  • Signature: Include your name, title, organization, address, telephone number and website at the bottom of the email.

Remember that many email servers have stringent Spam and virus controls, so messages with attachments may end up in the Spam filter or in quarantine. When sending picture or text attachments it’s a good idea to follow up with a phone call to make sure the recipient actually got the email.

Bottom Line: Do not forget to include quality email messaging along with all the new bells and whistles out there to communicate with the public and to promote your organization.

Mike Zlotnicki is a writer based in Garner, N.C. His resume includes newspaper and magazine editing as well as advertising and marketing experience. He can be reached at mikezz@bellsouth.net.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]