Friday, August 28, 2009

Print media ‘campaign killer’: Ignoring deadlines

At iMedia, Tom Hespos declares that “There’s no fun quite like the period immediately after a new communications medium rises to prominence.” He’s talking about social media, and identifies for companies, social media “campaign killers” that need to be avoided at all cost.

As an advocate for continued outreach through traditional print media, I would like to point out a “campaign killer” that is particularly burdensome to people who work in print journalism.

My comments are additionally directed in response to blanket public relations advice that a nonprofit group gave to its affiliates — that in the case of a weekly newspaper, submit your press release “one week” ahead of time.

What if, when approaching this weekly publication, the day you choose to submit your announcement is the paper’s production day? Speaking from experience, when I am on deadline, I do not accept new announcements; I work with the ones that I already have that were submitted in a timely fashion.

Your last-minute submission is problematic enough but if you’ve allowed a single week’s lead time, that means the date of your event is the NEXT ISSUE’s production day and the paper comes out one day afterward. There is absolutely no way a weekly paper can promote your event. Even daily papers might assign certain themes to certain days, which means, again, weekly deadlines.

Once the paper has been assembled, it may face an additional obstacle to presenting news in a timely fashion. The U.S. Post Office may route the publication to a regional sorting facility a hundred miles away — even though the paper’s ultimate destination is only a couple of miles from the post office that originally handled them. Readers may receive papers in the mail two to three days after the papers were originally mailed.

So please ... instead of applying a one-size-fits-all “one week ahead of time” approach, please take the time to approach your local media and determine their exact needs? I’d advise TWO weeks, at the very minimum.

An editor’s intention in setting deadlines is not to inconvenience you ... rather his or her intention is to see that your announcement is published in as timely a fashion as will benefit readers and give you your desired publicity.

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