Welcome to the Hometown Newsmaker FAQ! We hope you find it useful
in getting your important news to the right audience. Below are some
answers about how to use the Hometown Newsmaker. If you don't find what you're looking
for, please tell us or give us a call.
The Hometown Newsmaker allows you to create highly localized hometown news releases. The contents of each press release are specific to the newspaper receiving it.
You can use it for anything, especially any time you have news that is
geographically specific to an individual or individuals. Common uses
include things like graduation announcements and Dean's lists.You'll find examples in the Getting The Most Out Of The Hometown Newsmaker section.
Two things: A spreadsheet including the names and zip codes of each person whose hometown you plan to deliver news to, and a draft of a press release.
Your dashboard is the central location for all of your Hometown Newsmaker activity. Your spreadsheets, templates, drafts, and delivery reports can be accessed there.
A Group Hometowner uses spreadsheets and templates to send news about multiple people at the same time. They can be used for sending news about a couple people or thousands of people at once.
An Individual Hometowner is a standard text news story about one person delivered to the newspapers covering their hometown.
We highly recommend using Firefox, but Internet Explorer version 6 or later is also supported.
readMedia has a detailed database of newspapers, and delivers hometown releases to them in the method that they prefer. Depending upon the publication, a newspaper will receive their press release by either email or fax. Press releases are sent from readMedia's newswire email address.
Yes, you must use a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet (.xls) or comma-delimited (.csv) file.
Yes, you need to have a field labeled "postal_code" in your spreadsheet. Why? The Hometown Newsmaker determines which newspapers to deliver your news to based upon the zip codes in your spreadsheet.
Once your spreadsheet is done importing you will be notified about rows that were missing zip codes or zip codes that are invalid. Follow the prompts to fix the missing and invalid zip codes right within your account. Without a zip code there is no media to match it with for delivery.
The Hometown Newsmaker will automatically format your data into standard five-digit postal codes. This means two things: First, any zip codes with four-digit extensions (12345-6789) will be shortened to only the first five numbers. Second, any zip codes with fewer than five digits (1234) will be lengthened by adding a zero to the front of the zip code (01234).
Anything you'd like. You'll always want to include the basics (the person's name, hometown and zip code), but you're free to include any additional information you'd like in your spreadsheet. Insert student majors, minors, and GPAs or include individual sports statistics for example.
The best thing to do is to create a duplicate record in your spreadsheet including the alternate zip code and any other specific information. For example: If you wanted to send a hometown news release about a student whose mother lives in New York and father lives in California, you could put the student in your spreadsheet twice, once with the NY zip code and once with the CA zip code.
No, there are no size restrictions for spreadsheets to be uploaded into the Hometown Newsmaker. A spreadsheet can include one column or thousands of records.
When you upload a spreadsheet two things happen. First, the data is imported from the original file into your Hometown Newsmaker account. Then the data is automatically matched to corresponding newspapers in readMedia's database by zip code.
The first row of your spreadsheet will become the heading for all data that falls under it. Because of this, you cannot have duplicates in the first row. Each column must have a unique title.
No. You can edit any spreadsheet you've uploaded by going to the "Spreadsheets" section of your Hometown Newsmaker homepage and clicking "Edit". You can double click on any field in your spreadsheet to make changes. Simply click "Update" when you're done and your changes will be saved.
No, the total number of rows in your spreadsheet is determined while your spreadsheet is being imported. There is no way to add an extra line to your existing spreadsheets. You can, however, upload the spreadsheet again with the corrected data.
No, the number of columns and rows is determined when you import your spreadsheet. However, you can import a spreadsheet with blank columns if you anticipate having to add data at a later date. Every column with a header will be imported into the Hometown Newsmaker. You cannot edit the column title once it's been imported.
No, once you've uploaded your spreadsheet into the Hometown Newsmaker you cannot export the file.
No, you can create and save as many templates as you wish. Your templates will remain on your dashboard until you delete them. You can reuse them as many times as you'd like.
On your computer, simply open the document you plan to use as a template, and click "Compose a Template" on the Hometown Newsmaker homepage. It's best to write your templates using a word processing program on your own computer and then cut and paste the text into the text box.
The template name is the name of the template as it will appear on your Hometown Newsmaker Dashboard. The release headline will the be headline of the actual press release that is delivered to the media.
Yes, your template will automatically include some information from your account and populate the appropriate fields with your details, like the name of your organization and the city you are in. You can make changes to any of this information by typing over it.
Yes, you will see an option to add letterhead while you are composing a template. Click the dropdown arrow to select any letterhead files that you have previously uploaded into your account.
Note: To upload a letterhead file, click on the press releases tab at the top of the screen and then the click on the my letterhead tab.
When your release is delivered to a newspaper, they will only receive one press release from readMedia. The press release will contain individual details about EVERY entry in your spreadsheet that has a zip code in that newspaper's coverage area. Depending upon how many individuals in your release are of interest to that newspaper, they will either receive a press release about one individual (Single Format) or a press release about several people (Multiple Format). You will need to fill out both the Single Format and Multiple Format tabs when creating a template. This ensures that your news can be delivered to every newspaper appropriately.
There are 3 ways: 1) right clicking with your mouse then selecting paste; 2) clicking on the edit menu of your internet browser, then selecting paste; 3) using the paste button in the toolbar directly about where you paste your press release.
If you use option 3, a pop-up text box will open automatically. You can then paste the text into the box and click the insert button. Your text will then appear in your template.
Note: If you have a pop-up blocker activated on your internet browser, you may need to turn it off briefly, or change the settings to allow pop-ups from readMedia.
A placeholder is a blank space in your template that will later be populated with information from your spreadsheet. When you send a press release your template will draw data from the column that you tell it to. You will want to insert placeholders into each template you create.
You can use the data from any column in a spreadsheet as a placeholder. There is no limit to the amount of information that can appear in an individual spreadsheet cell. Your placeholders can be more than just a word or two. Some creative Hometown Newsmaker users have inserted entire sentences as placeholders.
Opening, Repeating, and Closing are the three parts of a multiple format release. Every newspaper that receives a multiple format release will see the same 'Opening' and 'Closing' sections. The 'Repeating' section will differ depending on which records concern each newspaper. This is where you'll put your placeholders, and you should keep this part brief and remember that it may repeat many times in a single release.
When you copy a template, you create a duplicate of it on your Hometown Newsmaker dashboard. After clicking "Copy" you will immediately be back on your dashboard. You will see your press release template as "Template Name (Copy)". If you have more than four templates, you will need to use the scroll bar to find the template you just created.
Simply click on "Send a Group Hometowner" on your Hometown Newsmaker Dashboard and select the template and spreadsheet that you want to use for your press release.
The drop down boxes that show up in your press release are your placeholders. When you created your template, these are the locations that you designated for placeholders. To insert data into these fields, click on the drop-down box. You will see a list of the available columns of data that can be inserted. When you select the field that you want to add, the information will be inserted into your press release. You will want to do this in both the single and multiple format tabs.
You will see this error when you forget to select a field to populate all of your placeholders with. More than likely, you simply forgot to select the values for placeholders in the multiple format tab.
Yes. You will see an option to add an attachment at the bottom of your release while sending it. Simply click the link, and you'll be prompted to attach your file. Use the "Description" field for any captions you'd like to include.
Note: Any attachments will go to ALL recipients of your press release. Email recipients receive a link when they can download the attachment. Fax recipients receive the url where the attachment is located.
Yes, click on the "Newspaper preview" button while you're sending a press release to see what your press release will look like to a specific newspaper. Click on the newspaper's name to view the release that will be delivered to them.
Yes, select "save as draft" button while sending a release, and your press release will appear as a draft on your Hometown Newsmaker dashboard.
Yes, you can send a carbon copy of your hometown news release to private email
addresses. To do so, you'll want to create a column
in your spreadsheet titled "email". Every person in your spreadsheet
who has an email address in this column will have a copy of their press
release sent to the email address in your file. You can separate multiple email addresses by commas.
Note: people who receive a cc'd version of your press release will receive it as though it came from the email address associated with your user account.
Yes. From your dashboard, click "Edit" next to the spreadsheet's name to view the spreadsheet. On the left side of the screen you will see a highlighted recipients link. Click on the link to see the distribution list for that zip code.
Yes. Every column in your spreadsheet is sortable. Simply click on the column title at the top of the sheet to sort the column alphabetically.
Yes. If you notice that the wrong newspaper appears in the distribution
information for a zip code, you can remove that newspaper from the list
by clicking "Not the right newspaper for 12345?"
NOTE: This will permanently remove the newspaper as a recipient for that zip code, so only use it when you are 100% certain a newspaper should NEVER receive news from that postal code.
Yes. If you know that a newspaper covers a zip code in your spreadsheet, but it doesn't appear in the distribution area, you can add that newspaper to the list by clicking "Add Newspaper" at the bottom. You can then search for the newspaper by name. Once you've found the one you're looking for, click the checkbox next to its name. Then, choose whether or not you want to add that newspaper to the distribution list for only that record, OR all the records in your spreadsheet that have the same zip code.
You should click this link when you only need to change the distribution for one record, and the newspaper you add is not relevant to the rest of the records with that zip code.
When you click "add to all records," you're contributing to the accuracy of our media database. Adding a newspaper to all records will ensure that the newspaper you added will always match up with that zip code, for both you and other users. Likewise, when you click "Not the right newspaper for 12345?" you prevent that newspaper from being matched up with that zip code in future releases from all users.
Yes, you can access delivery reports for all of your Hometown Newsmaker press releases on your Hometown Newsmaker dashboard. You will find them at the bottom of the page under "Sent Press Releases". On this page you will find a phone number for every newspaper for follow-up calls.
Choosing "view by record" allows you to see a breakdown of transmissions according to each record in your spreadsheet. Clicking on the recipients link lets you see which newspapers received news about each record.
Choosing view all records allows Hometown Newsmaker users to see a breakdown of transmissions by newspaper. Click "view release" to see a copy of the press release that the newspaper received.