Your materials should look professional, but don't waste money paying for glitz. The press doesn't care if your release is printed on 60-pound, colored paper with colored envelopes. They just want useful information.
The most economical, cost-effective press releases are produced on plain 20-pound bond paper with the company's letterhead. Some companies think a colored press release stands out, but that's not the case. A press release should not look like a brochure, pamphlet or any other sales material. Jeff Silverstein, publisher of the Digital Information Group, was not impressed with a stunning press release with big headlines, pictures, lots of color and very little text.
"It doesn't look like it contains the information I am looking for," he said.
If the press release is too fancy, a reporter might think it is a brochure or sales piece that doesn't contain the hard information needed to write the story. Editors dislike receiving publicity material identical to items meant for dealers or distributors.
Because reporters receive so much material every day -- including dozens of press releases printed on colored paper -- yours won't stand out just because it looks glitzy. Rich Malloy, the executive editor of ByteWeek, receives about three feet of press releases each day. And the unsolicited software can be measured in shelves! What stand out, however, are return addresses. The press looks at the return address and thinks:
* "This is a great company. They do good work. I better look at this."
* "This is a company I've never heard of. I'll give it a shot."
* "This is a company that I've seen before. I don't like their product. I'm going to chuck it out without even reading it."
If you develop good products and a good rapport with the press, your releases will get noticed.
Concentrate on content, not glitz.