7 Reasons Why Your Press Releases Are Getting Binned
You’ve spent years developing a new product for your business. You’ve scrounged together a decent marketing budget and have prepared a press release to celebrate your launch. You eagerly submit your story and wait. The next morning, you check your emails and…nothing.
Press releases are a tricky beast. Just like the headlines that journalists write, you need a captivating story that stands out amid the sea of daily news. Trouble is, you’re an expert at running your business, not doing PR.
But help is at hand. Avoiding these seven simple mistakes will put you miles ahead of the competition and have journalists chomping at the bit to find out more about your story:
1. A poor title
As the title is the first thing a journalist will see, it can be the beginning or end of everything. If your title is great, the journalist will want to keep reading. If it’s terrible, you’ve damned the entire thing to the recycle bin.
Press release rookies often make the mistake of crafting a super long, overly detailed title. Or worse, they write a witty headline that has no relevance to the story. Experienced press release pros know that a concise and straightforward title is the way to go
2. Bloated content
Press releases are meant to provide a lead into a story; just enough detail to pique interest. So don’t bloat it with unnecessary details, or information that’s completely out of context. Follow the inverted pyramid style of writing: put the most important details at the top – the who, when, why, what, how, and write down to the least important bit that only a small percentage of readers will be interested in.
3. What you’re sending isn’t really news
Leading on from the last point, I hate to break it to you, but not everyone is going to find your business as thrilling as you do. Sending out a press release about something arbitrary, like a new hire, is not newsworthy and won’t get a positive response from a journalist. Save your press releases for news that will have a significant impact on your customers or industry.
4. Your release is long-winded
Just like every other person who reads things electronically, journalists scan. No one has time to read your four-page press release and accompanying email that requires them to scroll to read it all. State your news, say why it’s a good fit for the journalists’ readership, and ask if they’d like more information. That’s it.
5. It’s too salesy
While press releases are promotional, they’re not ads. While an advertisement tries to sell, a good press release will inform in an objective voice. If your news release screams ‘BUY ME’, you should consider reworking it.
6. Not making the most of quotes
Using quotes from experts on the subject matter will increase your press release’s credibility greatly. But use them wisely. Make sure they are used in context, or they’ll lose their impact.
7. Forgetting to include contact info
We’re all on the internet now, so we all use email. But as strange as it may sound, some people actually want to call you on the phone and talk to you. Novice press release writers don’t always realise this and forget to include their phone number on the release.
This could be important for another reason: journalists are busy. If it’s three in the morning and they need to ask you a question about your press release to meet a deadline, an email isn’t going to work. If there’s no phone number, they’ll more than likely skip over your story and run with something else.
Attracting earned media is crucial for visibility, reputation building and brand recognition, and press releases are an important component of this. While some see them as less important in the age of social media, they are still very effective at securing positive media coverage and boosting your company profile.