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List Archive: gentoo-pr
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To: gentoo-pr@g.o
From: Donnie Berkholz <dberkholz@g.o>
Subject: Notes on "OSS Project Press Relations" OSCON session
Date: Fri, 04 Aug 2006 21:44:11 -0700
I went to OSCON a couple of weeks ago and attended a session called "OSS 
Project Press Relations." I took a ton of notes on it, and I've attached 
them here in hopes of starting a discussion on how we can apply them to 

Josh Berkus
Open-Source Press Relations

	press contacts
	reference users
	press kit
	a little money

		press releases
		web design and graphics
		handouts and articles
	regional contacts
		press/biz experience
		email/phone for work hrs
		one per country/region/language

PR contributions are as valuable as code

Press contacts
	collect a list
		bloggers/reporters in your community
		reporters who have covered your project
		lists from conferences
		biz cards
	manage the list
		keep in central, secure location
			don't want it stolen, or reporters spammed
		separate into categories
			"warm", "cold", "intimate" contacts

Reference users
	Testify that your project is ready for production use
	You need them
		Quotes, interviews, case studies
	Get them through community
		mailing lists, consultant clients, conferences
	Keep contact info handy

Press kit
	1-stop shopping for reporters
		"what is" doc
		"latest news" doc
		case studies, reference users
		contact info -- regional contacts
		self-booting CD (optional)
	have same info everywhere
		updated on website
		paper handouts at conferences

Handling the press
	Reporters are people, too.
		Don't insult them when they get something wrong
			Contact them, but be nice. Leave your contact info!
		But thank them when they get something right

	There is no "off the record"
		Make a list of talking points, and things you want to avoid
			FAQ is good
			Don't send out the second list
				On second list: e.g., don't rip on other distros/MS
		Make their job easy -- provide facts, quotes, numbers, contacts
		Do _not_ ask to preview the story
		Figure out what the "news" is, and tell them

Press releases
	-8 weeks: draft release
		Do it open source
			involve advocacy group
			use mailing list and wikis/VCS
			many eyes make bugs shallow
			allow 3-4 weeks
		Doing it in the open is not a problem
		Use professional release format
			Emphasize news value
			Have a "theme"
			1-1.5 pages
				If it's too long, they won't reach the link to more info,
				and they may throw it away
			8 parts
				contact info -- need a phone number!
					on deadline, they need phone, won't run the story otherwise
					required! their spam filters toss out badly formatted stuff
				summary 'graf
					5 W's: who, what, when, where (not that imp), why
				theme 'graf (opt)
				1-3 quotes, no more
					biz users, someone famous
					needs to be by "external" user
					need person's full name and title
						ask them what their title is, some people wear many hats
				detail info
				link to more info, prolly the press kit
				about 'graf
					also may have about 'grafs from the companies you quoted

	-4 weeks: create press kit
		release, plus:
			links to more advocacy info (case studies, etc)
			full text of quotes
			detail that didn't fit in release
			info about quoted companies
				contact info
			links to regional contacts
		get website ready to roll
			"bit flip" to activate all content at once
				CMS good for this
			links to downloads
			homepage announcement
			traffic monitors
		release to translators
	-1 week: embargoed releases
		contact "trusted" press
			must agree to not release till release date
			must be willing to postpone/cancel release in case of problems
				say "i will contact you 24 hours before release to let you know
					whether it's a go"
			good way to "reward" reporters you like
		additional advance contact
			Q&A about release
			demo, if appropriate -- send them a CD or download
			arrange interviews with devs/users
		be aware of press schedules
		file release with PRWire
			it's free. you don't need to pay them, but it may be a 3-day delay
				instead of a 1-day delay. you might want to give them the
				minimal amount.
			most useful when you have a small press list
	-12 hours: stuff up on website
		last chance to postpone
			check with lead devs
		put up on web
			press kits
			downloads -- consider cascade delay on mirrors
			lists of regional contacts
		check that regional contacts are ready
	0 hour: send out release
		contact embargo reporters and give them all-clear
		spam your whole press list
			use a script or a mailing list
			do NOT use BCC, spammers use this so it gets filtered
		tell regional contacts/translators "go"
	+1-5 days: follow-up
		follow up with key reporters
		collect links to press coverage
			put up on website
			send corrections if needed -- polite!
		slashdot it!
			find someone in project with high karma rating to post it
		update press list
		thank volunteers
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