I’m now a publicist!
I have a secret to share with you: there is no money in independent film and you often have to become your own press agent, cheerleader, champion and drinking buddy.
I’ve been (nervously) sending out press releases for our film Loves Her Gun and I can’t help but feel like a GIANT ASSHOLE every time I hit the “send” button. You see, I receive a fair chunk of press releases for my blog each week and the majority of the time I completely disregard them. If the sender- particularly the actual client and not the publicist- appears to have put effort in their attempts to reach out to me, then I will politely respond with a “thank you for reaching out, but this isn’t a good fit….yada yada blah blah.” If the press release is from a publicist who included me on a mass email with no regard to what my blog is actually about, then I promptly banish them to my trash. If the press release is from a publicist who didn’t bother to proofread their email before they sent it off, then I will obnoxiously respond back with all the typing errors they made.
Over the past weeks as I’ve created our own press release and talked to press, I’ve been hypersensitive about what I perceive as PR no-nos and yes-yes’. I’m definitely not a PR expert, but as a receiver of press releases, I can share a few tips to publicists on what makes us respond or send your email to the trash bin.
1.) PROOFREAD THE LIVING F OUT OF YOUR PRESS RELEASE: You’d be surprised how many press releases I receive that sound like they’re from a 5 year-old. I’m not talking about one or two misspellings, but dozens and dozens of embarrassing “Oh my GOD! Did you actually finish grade school?” errors. The professionals know better than to send out a poorly composed press release, but the movers and shakers in the music/nightlife world are a little less careful. If writing isn’t your thing, send your press release to a friend to proofread. We will not take you seriously if you write “your” for “you’re”.
2.) DON’T MENTION THE BLOGGER’S LAST BLOG POST IN YOUR EMAIL TO APPEAR AS THOUGH YOU READ THEIR BLOG REGULARLY (BECAUSE YOU DON’T AND WE KNOW THAT). You’ve seen it before: “Oh hey, Lauren! I love your recent blog post about Prince’s pubic hair and was thinking you’d be interested in writing about our band’s show at Whatever Club this Saturday!” Great transition, buddy.
3.) OFFER US FREE SWAG: Chances are us bloggers aren’t going to give a shit about your product unless we get free stuff out of it. It doesn’t even have to be fancy. It could be freakin’ stickers or pencils or tickets to a show! We typically don’t make any money with our blog, so you have to make it worth our while. Just sayin’…
4.) LESS IS MORE: I know you have a lot you want to tell us, but we (we= every single person who has a computer and Internet) is inundated with so much information on a daily basis that it’s difficult to comprehend emails with multiple attachments, links etc. Get to the point in the smallest way possible; the more I have to work at learning about your client/product, the less I’m willing to try. For me personally, I like a short paragraph that nicely sums up what I’m supposed to know.
5.) DON’T DOUBLE OR TRIPLE FOLLOW-UP: Haven’t you read He’s Just Not That Into You? If we didn’t respond the first time- we’re not interested.
What annoys you most about press releases?