Why journalists hate getting press releases as email attachments

I couldn’t help but titter when I saw the following tweet from tech journalist, Mike Butcher, earlier today:


The reason I found it funny is that I remember journalists complaining about exactly the same thing when I was a hack as far back as the late nineties. It seems that fifteen years later, some PR people still haven’t learned that journalists hate it when you send your press release as a PDF or Word attachment.

Try to understand things from the journalist’s perspective: every day you’re likely to receive dozens, maybe hundreds of emails begging for your attention. At best you can skim through them all, picking out the ones which might be interesting to you. But if the important detail is hidden in an attachment, you have to interrupt your flow and wait for the document to open, which could take anything from a few seconds to a couple of minutes. Doing this once or twice might seem like a minor inconvenience, but those minor inconveniences pile up pretty quickly when you’re dealing with dozens of them every day.

And imagine if they’re reading emails on a mobile device, do you really think they’re going to open attachments then? Life is simply too short.

When you email your press release to a journalist, you’re asking them to take time out from what they’re doing to pay attention to your pitch. That’s always going to be a hard sell so, if you want to improve your chances of getting through to them, the very least you can do is make life easier for the journalist by including the release as plain text within the email.

3 Replies to “Why journalists hate getting press releases as email attachments”

  1. The one that bugs the hell out of me is those little graphic attachments that people use as their email business card. I always feel obliged to open them because they just MIGHT be a photo that brings everything to life!

    I really don’t need to see your business card every time you mail!

  2. Or as somebody pointed out on Twitter – sending infographics as PDF attachments. Imagine asking a blogger to publish your graphic and then giving it to them in a format they can’t actually use on their site…

  3. you precious little shit. How long will it take before you stop receiving ANY news at all from those dickhead little PR’s that choose to disseminate information via a PDF? One day, in the not too distant future, when the PR’s have passed you by, as they have figured out information dissemination all by themselves -(social media etc), that you will realise, you are shit out of luck – with no one to ‘buy’ your valuable media contributions. One day, you will be stoked to receive something, anything, by PDF. Whinging wanker.

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