Why the PDF press release may be doing you harm

Journalist and guest blogger, Roderick Eime, can’t be PDFed.  He explains why sending your press release in PDF format only ensures it ends up in the trash folder. 

The practice of PRs sending their press information as PDFs has split the media community. While there are many journos happy to wrestle with Adobe’s Portable Document Format, the majority would rather have root canal surgery. Can you take the risk? 

I’m a news blogger. I take the news you send me, largely unaltered and repost it for the rest of the travel industry and some punters to read. I get dozens of worthwhile items every day but publication is often governed not by the quality of the content but by the format in which I receive it.

That dreaded phrase; ‘please see attached PDF for full details’ is like a red rag to many of us. You might as well say, ‘please bin this clumsy nonsense, I don’t care how much effort it takes to use.’ 

When I complained to one PDF-fixated PR about not being able to use their news efficiently, I was told in no uncertain terms “That’s the way our client likes it, and so do we!”

What does that tell you about the relationship management skill of that PR team?

PDFs are pretty, I get that. You see the item exactly you (the PR) and your client intend. All nice and neat. But that ignores the next step. How do we, the receiving editors, deal with that? The answer; mostly by deleting the troublesome file.

When you are dealing in volume, it’s a bugger to open the file, extract, copy/paste, reformat/realign and re-paste before we can publish the thing. The PDF-only option adds considerable time to our processes and more often than not, leads to your news going in the trash.

The same can be said to a certain degree with attached MS Word files and any other obscure format PRs sometimes come up with like TIFF and BMP for images. I mean, really? 

My plea to you, my dear PR colleagues, is to at least issue your news in a universal format. Attach the PDF if the client insists (yes, we understand clients don’t always get it, and that’s why you have a job), but please put the full text in the body of the email for rapid handling.

If there is an image you want us to use, please attach that too in low res JPEG format (around 1000px longest side is ideal). Offer the high res image option, either by a link or have it ready on one second notice.

And with that, everyone is happy. Next item on my list: ‘World Peace’. 

Roderick Eime has worked as a media professional for more than 30 years and either seen or made most of the biggest mistakes. His travel news blogs can be seen at www.traveloscopy.com


 

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