When I write about technical PR, I often miss out the basic tips that I might offer on some other subjects. So today I thought I would highlight something fundamental that has been brought to my attention by Misty Montano’s On the News Desk blog.

Misty highlights some key things about e-mail press releases that we should all bear in mind:
- It should say clearly who it’s from
- It should have the headline in the subject box
- The content should be in the body of the e-mail (not in an attachment)

Having worked on a number of trade show previews, with my journalist hat on, I can vouch for how many companies in the engineering sector fail to do any of these things. Other problems I’ve seen have included providing text only in non editable .PDF form, not providing proper contact details for both the agency and the client and sending attached images that are just too big to easily manipulate. In fact, there is something of a debate over whether images are better attached or provided as a download from an embedded link in the first instance.

I would also suggest that the headline should be structured for e-mail, even if this means writing two headlines, or a headline and a sub-deck, to get your message across. Writing a headline for e-mail means communicating in the first forty characters what the story is about. This is all a journalist will be able to read in a preview pane. As a result, the ‘creative’ pun headlines we all used to enjoy writing when press releases were issued on paper should be no more. And yet I still see so many PR firms writing them. Perhaps we should all pay a little more attention to the basic tips.

PS – I thought you might enjoy this story, about a scientist forcing multiple dictionaries to correct their definition of the word ‘siphon’. That’s another point scored by the good guys in the accuracy wars.

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