Inject any reporter with truth serum, and they’ll tell you that 99% of press releases they receive don’t matter and get deleted. Most press releases suck, and they’re a waste of words and a waste of everyone’s time, from the person who wrote it to the reporters who get bombarded with it.
But the fact still remains that press releases can be your ticket to landing the media coverage you desire. So instead of abandoning the idea of press releases altogether, let’s focus on the mistakes you might be making that are causing your press releases to be ignored.
- There’s no real news — Here’s something most people seem to forget: press releases are for announcing news. Wow! What a concept! But seriously, if you don’t have anything newsworthy to talk about, you shouldn’t write a press release. Yes, I’m an advocate for the leaky faucet approach to PR, which is steadily dropping press releases over a long period of time with the hopes that one sticks. However, I’d never suggest to write a press release just for the sake of writing one. You must always focus on finding a creative news angle. Otherwise, what the heck are you writing about?
- It’s irrelevant to the audience — Different reporters cover different topics, and different publications have different audiences with different interests. What I’m getting at is that you have to make sure your press releases are actually relevant to the people you’re sending them to and to their audiences. You may need to tweak and customize your press releases for different reporters to make them more tailored to their interests.
- It’s filled with blatant self-promotion — A press release is supposed to share a news story from an unbiased perspective. It shouldn’t read like an advertisement for your product. Rather than focusing on selling your product, spend your energy finding a solid newsworthy idea backed with good information. If your only goal is to promote yourself, buy an ad. You’ll have more success.
- You’re telling too much of the story — The point of a press release is to get the reporter interested in your story. You don’t need to share every single detail about the story. Just give them enough information to pique their interest and get them to contact you for more information.
- Your press release isn’t unique and fresh — Reporters get bombarded with press releases all day long, and most of them are pretty much the exact same. They follow the same format, use the same meaningless buzzwords, have the same stale quotes, and carry the same level of importance — none.
Stop Playing It Safe!
If you want your press release to matter, you have to do something different. You have to do something that gets you noticed. Sticking to the same old tired press release format and rehashing the same old storylines just isn’t going to cut it anymore. You have to start thinking outside of the box.
Instead of sending a regular press release, use an infographic to tell your story. Add some video or photos to get your message across. Instead of including a generic quote from a company executive, get a quote that actually adds to the story and makes the press release more interesting. Instead of trying to promote your product blatantly, tell a real story about real people.
Be creative. Be daring. Be unique. That’s how you’ll create a press release that matters.
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