You’ve delivered a stellar press release exactly the way your human media contact wants it.
Excellent. Now what?
Well, the bad news is after all the time, attention, and TLC you put into your release, these next few hours or days could be the hardest for you.
You’re going to have to be patient. Your credibility is at stake.
In the name of relationship building, you already should have made sure your media contact had your email addy in their contacts. Calling after you sent your release simply to see if they got it can be a slippery slope. Your human media contact might appreciate a call to see if they need anything else, but, baby, you’d better be specific.
Even the smallest of media outlets receive about 150 press releases via email every day. So, you and at least a hundred people are considering calling just to make sure they got it. If you’ve done your homework, chill. If the email bounced back, you know what to do.
If you’re genuinely worried because something seemed wonky on the tech side when you put your release into their website portal (even though you didn’t get an ERROR message), call and ask to talk to the person who handles THAT, not necessarily your contact.
If there was no place for you to upload a photo via their portal, you have a good one that meets their requirements, and want to see if they would like it, maybe call and ask — but that’s really something you could have (and arguably should have) noted inside the portal. It’s always OK to call and apologize for NOT noting a detail and asking a genuine question.
If you used the press release submission form via their website and want to know whether or not it went through, search your email (Primary and Spam and Promo or Social or other tabs you have set up) using the name of the media outlet, not your human contact. Check to see if you received any sort of an automated “confirmation of receipt” email. If someone else put your press release into a portal on your behalf, the confirmation email will go to the contact email they typed into the top section of the form (not to any official email addy you may have in the body of the press release). The portal via the website should have kicked a confirm email to you or your sender. If you just deleted your Spam folder, that’s a legit time to call, apologize and check with the right person.
The worst question to ask after you’ve sent your press release is, “Are you going to use my press release?” The worst thing you can do after sending your press release is ask your ad rep for some help, a little insight, a clue, or a plug to someone on the editorial staff.
Here’s what happened to me on many occasions while I was serving as a senior editor in a group of four papers:
An ad rep would return from a sales call and ask me about my plans to use a press release sent by an advertiser.
Most of the time I wouldn’t know yet. The best I could do was say maybe.
The ad rep would huff and tell me I “should” use the release (or do a full-blown story or personally cover the advertiser’s event).
I’d tell the ad rep I’d do what I could, but couldn’t make any promises because something bigger (of more interest to more readers), badder (an arrest, fire or tornado), or better (sorry) might come along.
The ad rep would go on a rant about taking care of advertisers.
My mind would flash to my Journalism 101 courses and the letter of the law vs. the spirit of the law.
It absolutely does help to run ads; they’re part of a solid marketing plan — and no media outlet should have to apologize for being a business. Advertisers should never think they have so much leverage that they bring any hint of entitled, irritated, pesky or demanding energy to the party when it comes to their press releases. It also does not mean if they run ads for years and get arrested that they won’t be the lead story.
Ads and editorial should be separate.
In a perfect world, they are.
In the real world, they often are not.
What does this have to do with feeling like you’re dying to know where your press release is? I respectfully suggest you check your energy, body language, thoughts, and words before you ask anyone anything. Whatever you do, be genuinely inquisitive. Be generous (vs. the icky energy mentioned above).
What you don’t want to be is the advertiser that sticks in the mind of the editorial staffer your ad rep goes back to and talks to about you. In my experience, long-term relationships with advertisers are absent any editorial expectations. Yes, there are some nods and professional courtesies, but it needs to be natural, not forced, and when editorial staff members make the call.
I realize you have something awesome to announce or share. You’re likely a powerhouse with a new or successful business, are volunteering for or leading a nonprofit. I don’t want you to do anything that might deliver the smallest of hits to your credibility.
None of this satisfies your question about whether or not they are going to use your press release or are at all interested in your story.
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