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When to Retract a Press Release

As a PR guy, there may not be a word I hate hearing more than “retraction.” Any time a client approaches me with the request to retract a press release, I instantly cringe. Retractions suck. Not just because they’re a good amount of work, but because they can lead to a lot of negative fallout. A press release retraction can get you unwanted scrutiny, making reporters think something bad is happening. So, often times, when you request a press release retraction, the reporters are like sharks sensing blood in the water, and they’re ready to attack and find out the real story.

That’s why I almost always advise against retracting press releases. The truth is that most people don’t have a good enough reason to request a retraction. Being a little unhappy with the wording or forgetting to include some minor detail of information aren’t reasons enough for retracting a press release.

Now, does that mean there’s never a reason to retract a press release? Of course not.

I believe there are some legitimate, unfortunate situations that demand you retract a press release.

One such situation is when you announce news prematurely. It’s possible that you jumped the gun with your press release and sent out a story that either wasn’t yet confirmed or couldn’t be announced just yet due to legal reasons. In these situations, you need to get on the ball immediately and retract that press release.

Another reason to retract a press release is when the press release contains major factual errors. In this case, the news is inaccurate, and you owe it to both yourself and the media to run a retraction. You can’t be spreading misinformation. It will kill your credibility.

So, suppose you need to retract a press release. What do you do? Here are some tips to keep in mind.

  • Act fast — The longer you wait around, the further that original press release could travel. As soon as you’ve committed to retracting a press release, you need to get on the ball and contact all reporters you sent the press release to. At the very least, email them, but if possible, get them on the phone and explain your reasons for retracting the press release.
  • Give specific reasons in the retraction — Remember what I said earlier about reporters sensing blood in the water when you run a retraction? You can quell their killer instincts if you’re upfront about the reasons for your retraction. If your original press release contained errors, state these errors in the retraction. If the story was released too early, let them know. Be forthcoming.

Have you ever retracted a press release? How did it go for you?

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

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