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Press Release Highs and Lows

Getting started on that new press release? Getting started on anything is always the scariest part, and when it comes to writing a new press release that blank page can stare straight into your soul. Part of the fear is wondering if you’ve even got a good idea for a press release in the first place – will executing it be a cinch or will you accidentally ostracize a portion of your customer base?

One of the first rules of writing is to read many examples of whatever it is you’re writing, no matter if it’s a novel, a screenplay, or a press release. So to help assuage your fears a bit let’s take a look at both a good press release…and one that’s not so hot.

Yikes

Let’s go ahead and peel the band-aid off and take a look at a bad example of a press release. We want one that shows what not to do in every aspect, from headline to signature, so as not to repeat any of it when we start typing up our own.

Do you love air hockey? Who doesn’t, right? After reading this press release from Games Room Accessories, you might not. They certainly go out of their way to turn people away from ever playing the game again.

First, read the whole thing through. What’s the angle here? Is there one at all? There doesn’t seem to be, other than “air hockey is awesome.” This is the biggest mistake you can make, and it’s made before you type one word. If your press release isn’t going to be about real news, forget it. Nobody cares. Tweet about it instead – you may get a few retweets from people who agree that, indeed, air hockey is awesome.

Next, the title is atrocious. Right away we know this isn’t about anything worth reading. Plus, it doesn’t have much to do with the rest of the press release. The opening paragraph certainly doesn’t tie in, and it really doesn’t say anything at all…much like the rest of it.

I’m not sure what’s going on with the random link behind the date. It is important to use links and such in a press release that’s going online, but they have to be embedded. It just looks bad like that. Finally, the signature doesn’t have real contact info, just their website. If the rest of this press release was fine and I wanted to contact the company for more info, I will have to pass as I’m a busy news editor and I don’t have time to go on a hunt. Put it all in the release.

Sight for Sore Eyes 

Whew! Now that that’s over with, let’s check out a much less offensive press release. You should see a huge and immediate difference between the two. Keep in mind experience is a huge deal with press releases, so pumping out a few before you ever submit one is a great idea. The above example could’ve been great with a second and third draft.

Jim Adler, a lawyer known for his TV ads, moved into the mobile commerce world in 2010 and wanted everyone to know. His press release was featured on OnlinePRNews.com’s “Anatomy of an Awesome Press Release” and for good reason. While the headline is a bit long, it gets the point across immediately.

While the point of the release might seem a little boring, remember this was from 2 ½ years ago. Having a mobile focused website was still relatively new and Jim was pinpointing how forward thinking he is. Despite this, he still goes out of his way to show why he’s talking about the mobile site in the first place, providing numbers and percentages that show how his service will improve and why it’s important to everyone.

To wrap it all up, the contact information is very thorough: address, website, phone number. The only thing missing is his email.

When designing your own press release, make sure to take what you’ve learned from Jim and Games Room Accessories and apply them. There’s value in learning both from the good and the bad, so make sure to read as much as you can!

What’s the best or worst press release you’ve ever seen?

This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (http://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Download a free copy of the PR Checklist – a 24 point list of Press Release Dos and Don’ts here: http://www.ereleases.com/prchecklist.html

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