Issuing Press Releases
This is a step-by-step guide for issuing press releases once they are written.
As this guide deals only with the actual issuing of a press release, and not the writing or approvals process, please see the Press Release Guide for everything else.
For convenience, a summary of the process prior to issuing is as follows:
- Press releases are written using Etherpad.
- The link to the press release pad is made available to members via IRC and the Press Team's mailing list.
- The press release is written according to the formatting rules in the Press Release Guide.
- Authorisation is then sought from a member of the National Council and the Press Officer.
- The press release is issued to journalists and others in the press release list.
This is a tutorial for the final step.
Accessing the system
You can access the mailing system by following these steps:
- Go to http://mailer.pirateparty.org.au. The URL should automatically change to http://mailer.pirateparty.org.au/cgi-bin/dada/mail.cgi.
- Edit the URL by adding /admin to the end so that it reads http://mailer.pirateparty.org.au/cgi-bin/dada/mail.cgi/admin. You can go directly to this link, but for convenience it is often easier to follow all the steps.
- When prompted to enter the list password, make sure that "Press Release" is selected from the drop-down menu, and type in the password. Click login.
Although it may look overwhelming at first, the interface is quite simple and you need only concern yourself with the main section on the right, disregarding the options down the left hand side. Please see the illustration at the end of this guide for visual aids.
For the most part, you will want to leave all the options as they are.
Writing a message
The first thing you should do is insert the subject in the appropriate field at the top as this is easy to overlook. The subject field should always begin with "[Press Release]" followed by the title of the press release. By default, "[Press Release]" will already be there.
It is recommended that you copy and "paste and match style," "paste as plain text" or similar into the "Message Body" box. This will strip the press release of its formatting and match it to the message default, preventing inconsistent formatting.
The formatting options should be quite clear. Remember that if you've stripped the content of its formatting as above, you will need to redo the formatting. If you use the formatting options, remember to adhere to the [Press Release Guide], and that Arial 12 pt is preferred as a default. You can edit the HTML code by clicking the "Source" button at the bottom right of the formatting options. The rest is very similar to a word processor.
You should not need to worry about a plain text version as it will be created automatically from the HTML version. Disregard the "PlainText Version" tab.
NOTE: for unknown reasons, text in square brackets is rendered without the square brackets when the message is sent. This will affect citations. The workaround for this is to replace all citation numbers in the body of the text with superscript text. Remove the brackets, select the number, and press the "X2" button in the top row of the formatting palette. In the citations section, replace " http://…" with "1. http://…" and so on.
Saving a draft or cancelling a message
Clicking the green "Save Draft" button at the top left does exactly what it says: it saves the message so that you can return to it later. Next to this is a smaller link that says "Cancel Message" which will discard your draft.
Sending a test message
Always send at least one test message prior to issuing a press release to make sure it looks correct and there are no final errors that need adjusting. There is a big green "Send Test Message" button at the top, to the right of the "Save Draft" button. This will send a test message to the default address, which is that of the Press Officer.
You can change the test message address, or check to confirm it is the address you want to use, by clicking on the "Testing" tab in the "Options" section at the bottom of the page. This tab is highlighted in the first illustration below.
Sending a message immediately
When you are ready to issue the press release, click the yellow "Send Mass Mailing" button at the top, next to "Send Test Message," and follow the prompts. It may take some time to send the press release to all recipients (approximately 20 minutes for 1200 contacts) but you do not need to do anything else once it starts sending.
Scheduling a message
Sometimes it is necessary to schedule a press release for a particular time rather than issuing it immediately, particularly if no one will be available to send it out at the right time.
Follow all the steps above, but omit the step where you send the message.
Once you have a press release written and correctly formatted, click the "Source" button to show the HTML code. Select all and copy the contents to your clipboard.
To send a scheduled message, look down the left hand side of the page for "Scheduled Mailings." It will be towards the bottom, in the "Plugins" section. Click it, and then click the green "Add Scheduled Mailing…" button on the right hand side. This page also shows you currently and previously scheduled press releases. Consult the illustrations below if need be for this and the following steps.
After clicking "Add Scheduled Mailing…" you will see a page that looks similar to the Send a Message page.
This has several options, but again only a few will need to be used.
- Give the message a name (the subject of the press release is recommended).
- Check the box below the Scheduled Message Name that says "Active."
- Set the date and time that you want the press release to be issued.
- Type the subject line of the email in accordance with the [Press Release Guide].
- Paste the HTML code that you copied earlier into the HTML Version box towards the bottom. As with regular mailings, ignore then PlainText section.
At the very bottom of the page there are two buttons: "Save Schedule, Then Send Test Message" and "Save Schedule." Both do exactly as they say. Once finished, press one of them and the schedule will be saved. Nothing further is needed and the press release will be issued at the specified date and time. There is a field below them to type an alternative address for test messages.