chocolateteapotThanks to some recent PR and marketing/press relations Muppetry – with some channels proving about as useful as a chocolate teapot – we thought it timely to provide an updated reminder of our requirements.

To set all this into context, we are an information provider – our mission is to curate and supply information to our readers that they will find useful. We do not charge vendors and other organisations money for running their stories and press releases – you either get in on the editorial merits of your story or you don’t. The end. (And please don’t whinge if you have sent us a boring story that we haven’t published because it is boring.) All we ask in return for running your stories is that you minimise the production process at this end by supplying content in a convenient and accessible format. So here we go with simple cut-out-and-keep rules…

Rule 1:  We want press releases as either text within the body of an email or as a Word Doc/Docx file attachment. PDFs are a pain because, depending upon how they have been created, they can be difficult to copy and paste into both our website and newsletter page makeup systems. (Odd line breaks, odd text formatting etc. Incidentally, we’re fine with PDFs as white papers and case studies as we just post them up as is.) Additionally, PDFs are a complete nightmare when we need to work from a tablet, such as an iPad. Story within the body of the email is our favourite.

Rule 2:  We only accept press releases that are emailed to us. Life is too short to visit external websites and/or read RSS feeds from 500+ vendors and PR agencies. We are also not fans of press release distribution services, such as PR Web, because we get way too much irrelevant content. We do not sift these services, they go straight to spam. We are also not impressed by people who email to say “this story went onto our website last week, will you use it?” because by then it has then lost its newsworthiness.

Rule 3:  As part of our information mission, we also provide vendor etc contact details to our readers – typically a website or microsite URL – so if readers want to follow up a story (and if it is a good story, they will) they can do so directly and don’t have to contact us to contact you for the vendor’s contact details etc etc etc. So, please include a relevant URL in the release. And in clear view NOT as an embedded URL that requires us to click on it, copy it from a website etc. (In case you were wondering, to avoid the curse of Microsoft Word embedded formatting etc playing havoc with our templates, we convert all documents into plain text, so we lose all the embedded URLs anyway.) It should also go without saying that it is not helpful to have a PR agency provide only its own contact details. What, so we have to contact you or Google for information that should have been in the press release from the outset. Get out of here.

Rule 4:  We are great fans of social media – all stories published on our website are also automatically reposted to LinkedIn and Google+ (for the people who still use it!). In addition we always promote stories via Twitter (via @GonzoNewswire & @ChillMedia) so if you have a Twitter handle, please include it with your story, so we don’t have to search for it.

And that’s it. Simple.