I’m offering a prize

More thoughts about my suggestion that press releases should die.

Instead of press releases, I said, publicists should send short, informal email — very short! two paragraphs! — with all essential info, most centrally including some convincing reason why anyone would want to go to the event, or talk about it in the media.

And then, as I said, you’d include links to further info. But here’s my new thought. These links shouldn’t go to a boring page of text. And certainly not to a ghastly old-style press release!

They should go to a web page full of graphics, sound, and video. Or links to sound and video. This is 2010, everybody! And if you’re offering info on the web, use the tools. Don’t be boring. Give us something worth looking at, something worth exploring.

Do you want us to care about your event? Give us something to care about.

And listen up. I’m putting my money where my mouth is. If you’re a publicist, and you change your ways — you stop sending press releases, and instead send the email I’ve described, linked to a lively webpage — let me know.

For the first publicist who shows me that he or she has done this — I’ll donate $50 to any charity you name.

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  1. says

    Agreed! But artists need to understand that editors who are compiling listings or news brief (such as I did for the Alumni News column for The Juilliard Journal) don’t have the time to sit and sift through scores of web sites to extract the necessary information. A link to a lively web page might motivate me to consider an artist for a future story or profile, but those short, convincing paragraphs are essential in order to be included in Alumni News (or any similar listings). One of my pet peeves as an editor was receiving e-mails that simply read, “For updates about my exciting activities, click HERE …”

    It’s a pet peeve of mine, too. The NY Philharmonic will give almost no information in an email, and then ask me to click to see the press release on their website. The reason, someone there told me, is to get me to visit their site.

    Good point you’re making here, too. I think publicists and others approaching the media might want to vary their approach, depending on who they’re contacting. If you need a listing, maybe what you send is different from what you send if you’re looking for larger coverage.

    Though I wonder why a couple of paragraphs wouldn’t be enough to get a listing in Alumni News. Seems the bar would actually be lower there. You’re only going to print a short item, so how much information would you need? The lively webpage, linked from the email, would only be for people interested enough to take the time. For me,. at least, the highest priority is sifting through all the stuff I get, to know what might interest me even at all. And for that, the shorter the initial contact, the better. I won’t mind clicking once I’m interested, especially if what I get from the click is worth my while.

  2. Donna Lafferty says

    Rats. I want to get that donation for my community orchestra, and I was hoping to find a new way to write “press releases” anyway, but our next concert is two months away. Oh well!

    It’s still great advice, and I still plan to follow it. Thanks for being so thought-provoking. I think we need it.

    As I told you via email, you’re still eligible, as is everyone else. I’m going to state the requirements more definitely, so that people submitting material know whether they’ve done what I’ve asked.

    And I’d love to give the money to a community orchestra!

  3. says

    Two paragraphs WOULD be enough … if people actually bothered to write them! You’d be surprised at how many people don’t. Then we get listings without any dates (“recently” has no meaning by the time things run) … and even no venues!