Many press packages end up going straight into the recycling bin. Some of those packages just wouldn't interest the readers, but others were just poorly put together. Properly formatting a press package will enhance the chances that the information is published. Emailing the package also increases the possibility of getting the information printed -- not only getting the information there quickly, but enabling the material to be easily reproduced.
Identify your goals for sending out a press kit and then research news organizations that could help meet those goals. Editors have very little extra time, so don't waste it. A small paper in Ohio that only publishes local news is not interested in a press kit from an event in California. A news station that focuses on finances is not interested in a press kit about a rock concert. Once you've identified the proper media outlets, locate the email address and name of the editor, if possible, through searching the Internet or calling the organization. A general company email could be used if the editor's email is not available. Familiarize yourself not only with the media outlet, but with the media outlet's style. The closer the press kit is to the style of the media organization, the better.
Write a brief statement (3 to 10 words) about what you are sending in the subject line of the email. If possible, try to show why that particular media outlet would be interested in the information. For example, if the kit is being sent to a locally focused paper, include the location of the event or business in the subject line.
State the point right away in the body of the email, and if possible, connect that main point to the style and interests of the media outlet. What you include in the body of the email will vary based on what is included in the press kit. If the media kit is just a press release, include the text of the release in the body of the email, and attach the release for convenience. If the press kit is a package about an event, write a brief statement saying what the event is, when it is and what you have attached. If the press kit is about a local business, write a brief statement about why you are sending the kit.
Attach the press kit file to the email. Be considerate of what file format you are sending, however, because not every media outlet will be able to open every type of file. In general PDFs (Portable Document Formats) can be opened by nearly everyone, and the viewer software is free to download. PDFs will also ensure that what you see on your computer screen is what the recipient sees, without formatting changes from the different computers. RTFs (Rich Text Format) are also universally easy to open; however, the format is not preserved in a RTF file and is not best for documents with graphics.
Make sure any photos intended for reproduction are large enough to be reprinted at a high quality; do not compress the image to make the email send faster. Text documents can be combined into one file, but photos that are to be considered for publication must be attached as separate files, as images cannot be easily separated from the document. JPG file format is often best for images.
Go back to the body of the email. At the conclusion, list what documents you have attached and why; also mention whether the files are available in a different format. At the very end of the email, state your complete contact information.
Double check all of the aspects before you send the email. Make sure the email address is correct, the body of the email has no errors and that the correct files are attached.
Hillary Grigonis graduated from Saginaw Valley State University, earning a Bachelor of Arts in professional technical writing and creative writing. She has served as a staff reporter for the "Tri-County Citizen" weekly newspaper since 2006.