PR101: A Press Release Teachable Moment

by Smartie on April 8, 2010

I failed PR101 last week. Hey, it happens to the best of us. And this gives us what smug mommies love to call a teachable moment. You can learn from my mistake!

I submitted an event press release to a listings email address. Their auto-responder email came back and went through the usual laundry list of reasons why the event may not be listed.

I love these auto responder messages, and wish more outlets used them. And, here’s why: I cross check my release in case I am missing anything that is imperative to that outlet.

Often, outlets have preferred ways to receive information and sometimes they require different material than what you have included. Usually, the auto responder  message will detail what they need to receive, and when they need to receive it by, in order to be included. For example, Time Out New York wants the subway information submitted in the press release. For other outlets, subway info doesn’t matter.

If the auto responder also acts as a checklist, you can do a quick run down of your press release to make sure you have everything in there. Now, it’s better if you can give yourself an A+ on the cross check, but we’re all human and shit happens.

In my case, I completely forgot to include the venue address, which was just stupid. (No, the client didn’t catch it either, but it should have been in there to begin with.) Sometimes I get so wrapped up in the work that something as basic as an address is so obvious that I miss it. Often, I write my releases from a template to ensure that I have all the vital information. This time, I didn’t, and it was lesson learned.

Luckily, since I hadn’t done my wide send of the release yet, that auto responder saved my ass. I was able to catch the missing info and plug it in. Then sent off another sheepish email to the listings address, pointing out my original mistake and asking them to please consider the corrected version.

And to that person in their listings land called me a few choice adjectives, I humbly apologize.

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