Answer: As the saying goes, when all you have is hammer, everything looks like a nail. Such is the case with email. It is pervasive in all corporations and an often preferred method of contact by editors, reporters and analysts. As with any email program, corporate PR email starts with considering the needs of the audience. These same media magnets are inundated with email press releases every day. If you want your important news to get opened—and, more important, get covered—follow these best practices:
- Stop including the entire press release in the body of the email. Research reports you have less than six seconds to capture attention in the preview pane. Press releases can average five or more paragraphs. Instead, include a teaser of the release and a click-through to a hosted version on your Web site.
- Don’t include attachments. They can be deliverability killers. Corporate email filtering systems are often more stringent in their rules than even the largest ISPs. Attachments from outside sources are often confused with viruses or attacks. Leave data sheets, photos and other release-related attachments to an expected, person-to-person email so you’ll be ensured they get delivered.
- Think carefully about “from” and subject lines. Remember the rule: The “from” line tells the recipient whether or not to delete the email and the subject line tells the recipient whether or not to open the email. If an individual at your company has a relationship with the media, test using that person’s name in the “from” line instead of the company name alone. Write an engaging subject line and include first name personalization. Recipient first name personalization has fallen out of widespread favor in the b-to-c email world, but in b2b, it’s still another way to catch the recipients’ attention.
Tricia Robinson-Pridemore is VP-market and product strategy for StrongMail Systems (www.strongmail.com), a provider of email marketing solutions.