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Press Releases for Software Developers
from Al Harberg of DP Directory


Software Marketing - Keep Your Press Releases Impersonal

from Al Harberg's stash of software marketing articles, designed to increase your software sales

Don't start your press release with a personal cover-letter to the editor. The editors only want to read the text of the press release, and not a letter from the programmer.

News Release cover letters are a no-no.

impersonal press release Programmers ask me if the press releases that we send to the editors should be personalized. While personalization is becoming an increasingly important component of software marketing, the answer to this question is almost always "no".

From a technical perspective, it's easy for me to personalize the press releases that I send to the editors. My email software lets me do sophisticated email-merges, and I can include any field from my database. I've even taken the time to "genderize" the editors' names. John Smith's email can say "Dear Mr. Smith:", Joan Smith's can say "Dear Ms. Smith:", and Lee Smith's can say "Dear Lee Smith:".

Before email press release submission

impersonal press release are more effective with editors and bloggers Before I introduced my email press release distribution service in August of 1997, developers asked me a very similar question: "Should I include a cover letter when we postal-mail my press release to the editors?"

The answer is an emphatic "no" if you have nothing exciting to say in your cover letter. You hurt yourself by saying "Dear Mr. Smith - We're excited about our new software release, and we feel that your readers will like to hear about it, too. We would appreciate your including our write-up in your New Product Announcements. If we can send you any additional information, please call or write."

The editors know all of this information. That's why you're sending them a press release. There's no need to put the press release in context. By adding this superfluous information, you're inserting an additional 50 noise words between the editor and the important message that you want them to read. Don't do it. It's bad software marketing.

The rare exceptions to this rule involve situations where you can influence the editor to use your press release by pointing out facts that wouldn't be relevant to the press release itself. For example, if you're marketing a programmers tool and you've spoken to the editor about including a code snippet. Or if you're sending a press release about a home inventory application, you might want to include a cover letter that mentions the number of home fires and burglaries that occur each year. Or if you're introducing a version of your software whose major appeal is a GUI in a number of languages, you might want to include a cover letter that specifies the percentage of the editors' readers who use this collection of languages.

Don't personalize your press release

Unless you have a strong message that you can't weave into the body of your press release, don't include a personalized cover letter. Press release cover letters should not be part of your software marketing mix.


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