Press release tips for CES 2010

Today's News is Tomorrows History
Creative Commons License photo credit: [BarZaN] Qtr [Boston]

We are attending our seventh CES and our coverage will begin in less than 12 hours as we get on the road. Watch us on Twitter for live updates. We will also be posting photos to our Flickr account and posting updates here on talkingDigital.

Attending CES as press is quite fun. We enjoy the press parties, the free food, using the press room and the backroom demonstrations of future products.

If there is anything we don’t like about attending CES as press, it is the overwhelming barrage of email press releases.

The typical press release starts out thusly… “Another CES is upon is. We know your time is valuable, but we wanted to give you a special invitation to visit us at…”

Another favorite line is… “Our company is announcing an exciting new line of products that promise to change the way people (insert verb).

None of these press releases does much at all to attract our attention. I do read them, but I don’t care to follow up. If anything, these press releases are primarily tools for building brand recognition at the show.

Here are a few tips for creating a solid press release for CES and other big shows where schedules are limited.

Attach a picture – Sure it was proper etiquette five years ago to include a link rather than an attachment, but those days are gone. Virus writers have discovered far more effective methods of sending viruses and everyone who deserves to hear your message has broadband Internet. As long as the attachment is small (under 1MB) there is no real reason not to include a picture of the product.

Link to the product web page – Don’t just include a link to your company website, make sure there is a link to the exact product you are pitching.

Invite bloggers to cut and paste – Many bloggers are not trained in professional journalists. However, most of them have heard terms like fair use, plagiarism, and copyright and they fear falling on the wrong side of the law. If you invite bloggers to copy and past a well written article in the style of a third party blog post,  you may be more successful in getting the information picked up. If writers know that they have permission to use a well written article verbatim, lazy bloggers will likely do so.

Post video – Include a link to a video on YouTube of your product in action – if applicable. Make sure to use YouTube, not an obscure video service that may require a plug-in or long load times.

Keep it short, very short – If you make a compelling case to visit the website, we don’t need all of the product info in the press release. Pitch the product, get us interested, then close it up with contact information.

Press releases can be very effective, but only if they get the press interested in the product being pitched. If the press release is 800 characters with four hyperlinks and no pictures, there is a good chance it will never be read unless it says “Apple Announces New Tablet Device” in the subject line (don’t do that unless it’s true though).

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This work by adamc is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States.