Why annoy the Media, if you want their help? Do NOT use PDF's for Electronic Press Releases.
When events, clubs and organisations send out media releases, it’s presumably because they want media publications to use their content.
A couple of years ago, a group of four mainstream and sailing journalists with over 120 years of media experience between them, were chatting during a few idle moments in the Media Centre at the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race.
The subject of media release formats came up and all agreed that their absolute pet hate was the Adobe PDF.
PDF documents are perfect for printing, so they are the best thing to use for Notice of Race, Sailing Instructions etc. and they have a place if a Press Release is just going to be printed, but for media who want to use quotes or tables in their own stories, they are media unfriendly.
Plain text, in an email is the simplest and best format, with Jpg images attached, Microsoft Word is a poor second, including images with the copy can be a disaster and the file sizes are often very large but a very distant last is the PDF.
Media Groups wanting to use the content from PDF´s have to use Adobe Acrobat Professional, they have to extract the content they want, pull out tables, like results, deal with a bunch of formatting issues and sort out the mess of images. Only a few minutes work, you might think, it can often be ten. So why would you impose this chore on media groups whose good-will and help you need?
PDF's are also often tricky to format and they often extract very badly
How would you react if you got this? Its an extract from a PDF today, Would you even bother reading it?
There is another major problem, PDF´s are very good vehicles in which to embed rather nasty viruses. Many large organisations for security reason auto-delete PDF´s arriving in their mail servers that don´t come from known sources.
So the journalist whose help you need, may not even know that you sent your carefully crafted PDF.
Text and Jpg might not have the Wow factor, but if you want to make it easier for your content to be used, then that is the preferred delivery method.
Of course, if you disagree with what we´ve said and can make a case for PDF e-news releases, then we´d love to hear from you...
And in the mean time, think about how you would react if you were sent an 80 meg zipped Press Kit, with 14 meg images, without requesting it. Kinda messes with your mail box, for starters..
by Rob Kothe and the Sail-World Team
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12:36 PM Tue 5 Mar 2013GMT
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