Before You Email Your Next Press Release, Read This…

The following is a guest post by Jeffrey Dobkin…and before you even think of emailing your next press release, you simply must read what Jeff has to say below. Thanks for reading, and let me know your thoughts in the comments section below. ~ Ryan McGrath

Email Press Releases? By Jeff Dobkin

“Hey, it’s easy to send press releases by email!  Let’s send them all this way!”  Anything else?  “Yea!  Look here – on the web, we can send 10,000 of them for just 10¢ each!”

Yea, right.  Let’s write that into our media plan and go home and sleep well knowing how thorough we were.

While it may be much more convenient for you to send email press releases, it’s much more effective mailing traditional releases through the good old U.S. Postal Service.  Remember them?

Are you sending press releases because: “A. they are convenient for you” or “B. to get the maximum coverage in print magazines, newspapers, internet, and broadcast exposure?”  If you answered “A” Congratulations! You’ll get your wish – e-mailing them will be convenient for you.

As for great media exposure, well, you need to go back and select option “B”.  It’s a little more work but… well, your choice.

Email releases are fine for emergency issues and truly breaking news. But for new product releases, announcements, business personnel changes and so forth: regular, old fashioned traditionally-mailed press releases blows email releases away. Here’s why:

The first reason, and I don’t want to bore you with this but: How many documents can you have up on your screen at once?  One, maybe two.  Now, while you’re on your computer, how many other documents are waiting in Queue to be viewed by you?

So the email release gets very briefly noted, and with the click of a mouse it’s out of site.  And in this business of crowded, fast-paced and short-lived news stories, out of sight is out of mind.

As the mouse hand of the very very busy, busy editor (and I’ve NEVER known one who isn’t) waves and pauses over the delete button you’ve got to ask yourself, “Do I feel lucky today?”

Because if yours isn’t the most absolutely positively compelling release in the stack of 100 other releases the editor received this week, Poof – it’s gone faster than you can say spam, and has just transitioned from one more email clogging-up her inbox to one that she won’t have to deal with ever again.  There, that was easy.

Now let’s take a better look: A traditionally printed and mailed press release – and accompanying cover letter – arrives in a nice package and let’s face it – who doesn’t like to get this kind of mail.  Real mail.  She opens it and your brochure – brightly printed in four colors – pops out at her.

She feels the drape of your highest quality 24 lb linen stationary, the letterhead brilliantly designed, and your crisply printed press release almost sparkles with the words “Read Me – not necessary now, but at your convenience…”

OK, so I got a little carried away there.  But you get the idea.  A traditionally mailed paper release can sit on an editor’s desk for days, get passed around; and can be waiting, patiently waiting for a later review – over a quick lunch or while flipping through “things to do while you’re not at your computer.”  Yes, it’s a special time – shrinking in today’s over-computer-related junk environment.

Remember, while a busy editor can look at just one image at a time on her computer, she can have multiple sheets of paper displayed on her desk.  I don’t know about you, but my computer time is now very valuable and heavily guarded.  Email PR = computer intrusion.  Mailed PR = welcome.  Hello? Am I getting through to you?

OK, one last thought.  Yes, everyone has a computer now-a-days.  So penetration is good.  But, everyone, everything, every company, every catalog, every magazine – all are aiming right at your CRT.  It just doesn’t all fit on-screen.  And, no time to look at anything for too long – while you took that quick cat nap, your computer just downloaded 600 more emails.

No matter how you cut it, the editor just can’t leisurely leaf through your whole press package package on-screen.  And no, clicking through pages on her laptop isn’t the same as flipping through them at lunch at her desk. For maximum coverage – I say press releases should be sent by traditional mail.  Any questions?

About Jeff: Jeffrey Dobkin is a traditional DM copywriter, and a fun speaker. His humorous presentations are filled with practical direct marketing tips.  He has written four books on direct marketing.  Call him for a FREE analysis of your written PR, ads, direct marketing packages or programs: 610-642-1000 rings on his desk.  Or visit him at

Special Note From Ryan: Not only do I fully endorse sending your press releases via postal mail, for larger impact, you might consider sending your releases using Priority Mail, or even FedEx.  Think about it, have you ever NOT opened something you received in a FedEx package?  Yes, it costs a few bucks more per release…but you’ll have a guaranteed 99% open rate for your message.

One last thing to mention.  For a limited time, I’m offering my subscribers a special rate for PR services — $100/hour for PR consulting, and $400 for a press release. Note this special offer can be rescinded at any time, so if you are interested, contact me right away. ~ Ryan McGrath


  1. Wow, what a brilliant article. And Dobkin – well, he’s a funny and brilliant guy. He just seems so nice, and what a sense of humor. This article was just right on the money. I, I mean er… he… ummm hey, does this post appear with my name on it…?

  2. Great article, Jeffrey. Thanks for this potent dose of reality. Press releases are one of the most poorly-utilized weapons in most business’s marketing arsenals. They tend to be written based on some sleep-inducing format with language that makes you want to cry from boredom.

    Where are the benefits? Where is the emotion? How come it sounds like it was written by a robot? Forget about salesmanship or persuasion. Inside the box thinking that gets no one nowhere…

    Ryan, you’re on the ball again. I couldn’t take your site off my Favorites list if I wanted to.