22 July 2011

Rules of Engagement (or ways to make your generic press release more appealing to me)

From time to time I get emails from organizations or individuals about topics which may be of interest to me. Basically, they want to see if I will write a post on a recently released idea, paper, project, or video. The communications have been a mixed bag and I felt that it would be helpful to anyone who has interest in sending along an email to offer some advice. So here goes:

1) Please use my name.  The name on my email address is 'Murph.'  Go right ahead and use it! If it is a press release from a giant multilateral then all is forgiven. However, if you found my blog and pulled my email address the least you can do is personally address it since you already put in the effort.

2) Be direct. Let me know your expectations. If you send a press release, say how you hope for this to be used. Otherwise, it just appears to be interesting information that can be shared with a quick tweet.

3) Read a few posts before deciding to email me. I love getting them, but you might not be happy if I write critically about a project that you hope will garner some positive. I will give an honest assessment of any given idea.  My aim is to always be fair with what I write, but reading this blog should indicate that I am not simply a cheerleader.

4)Provide as much supporting information as possible. Give me some data, charts, links, hard reports, etc. The more information I have the easier it is to develop a post.

5)Follow up. Sometimes I have other posts set to be published for the week. Other times the email might slowly make its way down my inbox. A follow up is always welcome as a friendly nudge.

6) Advanced information is the best. I love being able to get my hands on a report a few days ahead of the official release. It allows me to plan a bit better and can let me coincide with when the official release takes place.

7) Keep them coming. I was a little perplexed when I first started to get press releases and inquiries, but now I quite enjoy ones that are put together well. It is hard to catch everything myself, so this is a nice way of having gathering information I may have missed.