Tuesday, January 8, 2013

7 Tips to Improve Your Chances of Getting Your Local Paper to Publish Your Press Release

Most of my advice about press releases is for submitting them online.

However, a good marketer will want to find ways to publish a press release in the local community paper. Many people still read those, and many people tend to find seeing something in newspaper print to be more credible than when they see it online.

Local community paper editors are weary of printing advertisements. Their job is to publish news that their readers want to see.

Therefore, it is important for you, as a marketer, to know what is important to those editors where you want your press release to be published.

I certainly cannot guarantee any specific editor’s response to any press release you submit, but here are seven (7) tips that should improve your chances.

1. Sumbit News—Do not flagrantly advertise!
2. Use Catchy Email Subject Lines that are Local
3. Make a Good Pitch
4. Include Press Release in Email Text Body and a File Attachment
5. Attach Image Files—Do NOT Embed an Image into Word
6. Learn Editorial Deadlines
7. Time Your Email Press Release Proposal

Let’s take a look at each one more closely to help clarify.

1. Submit News—Do not flagrantly advertise!

I have spoken a few current and former newspaper editors, and all of their first suggestions point to one major thing.

Submit news! Do not advertise!

The newspaper is not interested in advertising for you for free. The newspapers make money from advertisements, and it is the editor’s job to make sure that the newspaper remains interesting for its readers. The more readers it attracts, the more it can command for its advertising space.

Make sure that you find an interesting enough of a news angle to make it worth that editor’s while to review what you have to offer. Editors are always on the lookout for that, and honestly they should be.

Example-Advertisement: Come to our Fundraising Event – Have a Great Time and Help Tornado Victims
Example-More Newsworthy: Local Nonprofit Hosting Event to Help Raise Money for Recent Tornado Victims

Warning: Just because you found a somewhat newsworthy angle does not mean that the editor is eager for you to include your press release submission in its paper. That is their decision, still, but making it newsworthy—not ad-like—will improve your chances of getting it published.

2. Use Catchy Email Subject Lines that are Local

When you submit your press release via email to the local community paper editor, your email Subject Line is really important.

Many newspaper editors get HUNDREDS of emails each day. They might not even notice your email with your press release submission, even if it’s good! They have so many to check.


It starts with a good Subject Line in your email. Use an Email Subject Line that will CAPTURE the Editor’s attention.

Example-Bad: Check My Press Release
Example-Acceptable: Story: Save the Whales Event Monday
Example-Better: Did you hear? Local Group Gathering to Save Lives

Key Fact: If possible, include a local city, person, or location to make it clear that this is a LOCAL event where their newspaper covers news.

If your news is good but does not pertain to that editor’s readers, that editor will have NO use for your press release. If you make your email Subject Line attention getting, including a local reference, that will improve your chances of getting your press release published in the local paper.

3. Make a Good Pitch

When you submit your press release to the editor, make sure that you include a pitch. In other words, you need to provide motivation for that editor to consider reviewing your press release for final publishing.

When submitting a press release to an editor, include why…
(a) It is actually news, and
(b) The reader would be interested in reading it.

Again, nothing is guaranteed, but if you take this step, this will improve your chances of having the editor approve and publish your press release.

4. Include Press Release in Email Text Body and a File Attachment

This is straightforward. You never know which format an editor prefers to see your press release.

However, since there is so much concern about computer viruses, it is usually a safe bet to include your press release within the text of the email AND as a file attachment. (MS Word might be easier for an editor to copy and paste, but a .pdf file might be considered to be more “official.” It depends upon the editor.)

Again, this will not guarantee your press release gets published, but it will improve your chances.

5. Attach Image Files—Do NOT Embed an Image into Word

If possible, include a picture image with your press release submission. It helps provide another dimension and makes the editor’s job easier (and therefore, more likely that he or she will “help us” by publishing our press release).

When you send a press release with a PICTURE, ATTACH a Photo Image.

(Do NOT Embed it into a Word file!)  This makes you look like an amateur, and it makes it harder for the editor to separate that picture to use as part of your press release (that you want that editor to publish).

If you are submitting your press release to an Online Publication, send a HIGH-Resolution Image.

If you are submitting your press release to an offline Newspaper, send a LOW-Resolution Image.

Once again, there are NO guarantees, but following this tip should improve your chance of getting your press release published in your local newspaper.

6. Learn Editorial Deadlines

If you want your press release to be published in a newspaper publication on a specific date, it is important that you learn WHEN the Editorial Deadline is.

In other words, if you submit even the greatest press release AFTER the Editorial Deadline, your press release WILL NOT BE PUBLISHED!

Find out the TIME, not just the DATE.

It is as simple as that!

7. Time Your Email Press Release Proposal

Most editors prefer has much time as possible to do their work. So, as in #6 above here, learn when the editorial deadline is. Actually, if possible, try to submit your press release earlier than that.

However, there are a few other pitfalls to avoid.

For instance, you might want to learn the Production Deadline, which is usually a little after the Editorial Deadline. An editor tends to be really busy between the Editorial Deadline and the Production Deadline.

It is NOT a good idea to send your email to submit your press release during this time.

Also, it might be a good idea to avoid sending your press release on a Friday afternoon. How many people do you know are focusing on work at that time?

Again, none of these tips will guarantee that the local community newspaper editor will publish your press release, but following these tips will improve your chances tremendously.

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