When Good Press Releases Go Bad

Every PR pros dreams of the day when their press release gets snatched up by the magazine, newspaper, or website of their choice. They imagine all the great hits they’ll get, showing that all their hard work was worth it. 

press_release_gravestoneWhat they don’t imagine, and what you may not have thought of, is that press release turning on you and harming your business instead of helping it. It’s unthinkable that something that’s supposed to rocket your company to success could harm it instead, but it happens.

How? While you may have wanted readers to get one thing out of your press release, they may have gotten something completely different.

Mixed Messages 

Let’s say your company is planning on unveiling a brand new product and headed in an entirely new direction. Naturally everyone at the company is excited about the move and thinks it will lead to further growth and an even better understanding of the industry you operate within. You’re also sure your customers will feel the same, or at least hope they will.

So you write a press release that reflects all this. It even gets printed in a national paper much to your delight. However, your long-time customers read it and take it as a slight against them. They think that you’re saying they’re outdated, boring, and passé compared to this new direction you’re going in.

What it looks like to them is you’re leaving them behind with no regard to their loyalty over the years. Of course you didn’t mean this, but you’re sending mixed messages by focusing your press release totally on the future and ignoring the past.

Have you ever seen a band you like live and they ignore all the past albums in favor of new music? Your customers feel the same way right now and your press release just reaffirmed their hurt feelings and worries. You could be in for a big PR nightmare or, worse, big loss in sales.

How to Avoid This 

Writing press releases is like writing anything – it can come off great in your head and when you read it, but through the eyes of your readers it can be a different story. That’s because one single word can change the meaning of any sentence or an entire piece which could change how your readers take it.

So you write “MegaCorp is 100% focused on our bright new future with Tornado Vacuums” and your readers think you’re ignoring the past. It doesn’t matter what your intent was – all they know is what they read.

How to avoid this is to let many others read the press release before you even think about sending it out. A coworker or someone completely outside the company reads it and gets a totally different meaning out of the text. They suggest changing the sentence to “MegaCorp is focused on our bright new future with Tornado Vacuums while still bringing the same customer support you’ve known with Super Crunchy Crackers.” This simple change could make the difference between angry customers and the brand new direction you wanted to go in.

Has a press release ever turned on you?

This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (, the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Download your free copy of the Beginner’s Guide to Writing Powerful Press Releases here:

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