Optimize for E-Mail First, Mobile Later

  |  September 14, 2006   |  Comments

If you're not a journalist, you've probably never seen the e-mails of press releases PR Newswire sends to the media

If you're not a journalist, you've probably never seen the e-mails of press releases PR Newswire sends to the media. But you're welcome to share our pain. Just click to enlarge the image.

Reproduced is the HTML dispatch. Text doesn't fare much better. Headlines aren't bolded. Worse, they run into the end of the preceding item without so much as a paragraph break. Just about the only thing that really pops for harried, headline-scanning editors and reporters is the useless "get" link which, if you click it, theoretically e-mails you the full text of the press release.

None of this has changed since...well, forever. It's not like we don't forward inquiries and complaints into the black hole that is PR Newswire's media inquiry service.

Oh, and unlike their major competitor, PR Newswire's RSS feeds aren't even customizable.

Yet the company keeps crowing about its digital updates. Yesterday, the announcement was news feeds for mobile devices optimized for both search and formatting.

"People using their mobile devices to search the web should be able to access news releases that are formatted for the small screen. We're committed to solving that problem,” said COO Dave Armon.

Dave, the media has a problem. We can't make heads or tails of your e-mails -- the ones you send multiple times per day. We delete them because we literally can't read them.

Do your clients know we can't decode the press releases they pay you to get in front of our eyes?


Rebecca Lieb

Rebecca was previously VP, U.S. operations of Econsultancy, an independent source of advice and insight on digital marketing and e-commerce. Earlier, she held executive marketing and communications positions at strategic e-services companies, including Siegel & Gale, and has worked in the same capacity for global entertainment and media companies, including Universal Television & Networks Group (formerly USA Networks International) and Bertelsmann's RTL Television. As a journalist, she's written on media for numerous publications, including "The New York Times" and "The Wall Street Journal." Rebecca spent five years as Variety's Berlin-based German/Eastern European bureau chief. Rebecca also taught at New York University's Center for Publishing, where she also served on the Electronic Publishing Advisory Group. Rebecca, author of "The Truth About Search Engine Optimization," was ClickZ's editor-in-chief for over seven years.

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