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5 Things Reporters Hate

Why did your last press release go unpublished or your last few phone calls to the local newspaper go unanswered? Probably because you did one of the following things reporters loathe! Seriously, the following 5 things drive journalists crazy, and may put you on their black list for quite some time. Try to avoid these at all costs!

1. Send in Stuff They Can’t Use

You sent a wonderful pitch to the magazine “Doggie Power” detailing the release of your brand new product. Unfortunately, your company makes power converters, and the release was crumpled up and angrily tossed in the garbage. The reporter knows that you just pulled their publication name out of a random keyword search and didn’t even bother to read up on their guidelines.

When you send out press releases and other information, make sure the media outlet fits. You’d be surprised how many releases newspapers and newsrooms get that have nothing to do with what they report on. Do your research first!

2. Don’t Proofread

I can’t believe this has to be said, but make sure to proofread your work before you send it in. If your press release has spelling errors or is incoherent babble it won’t get printed, ever. Go over what you’ve written a few times, and then let someone else read it. Then you read it again and edit it some more. Don’t let even the smallest error show up. It hurts your credibility… and irks a reporter.

3. Send it to Everyone and Let Them Know

We all like to feel special. It’s nice to know someone out there is thinking of us and only us. Reporters are no different; they like to know the press release you sent out was only for them. So why are you telling them you sent the release to every Tom, Dick, and Harriet in town?

Granted, you may not be telling them this on purpose. You may have just used a generic salutation, or forgot to send out individual emails so everyone saw all the email addresses you sent it to. Whatever the case may be, you let the reporter at The Times-Herald know she wasn’t the only recipient of your story. Now she knows hundreds of others have the same story and doesn’t feel special. Now she’s sad.

4. Contacting to Ask About the Release

“Did you get the release? I sent it five minutes ago, was just wondering if you’d read it yet.”

“What’d you think of the wording of the first paragraph? I worked really hard on it, wondering what you thought of my brilliance. Let me know!”

“Hey, I’m going to need to see a copy of the article before you print it, thanks. In fact, if you could call me back and read it to me over the phone that’d be great. Thanks!”

After you send the press release in, the reporter will get back to you when you have time. If they need something else, they’ll contact you. Don’t badger them, and for crying out loud don’t ask to see the article first. Just let it go and enjoy the ride.

5. You Made Them Fall Asleep

Contrary to popular belief, reporters want press releases – GOOD press releases, that is. It’s instant gratification; they get to fill up space and have less work to do that day, meaning they can go home and get some more sleep and possibly see their children. Doesn’t that sound nice?

But then you send in your press release and they do get some sleep. Unfortunately, the reason they slept is because your story bored them into slumber! If you’re not passionate about your story and business, why should anyone else be, much less a journalist? Make sure your passion is coming through the press release or otherwise the story will never see the light of day.

How many press releases do you typically send out a year?

This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (http://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Grab three free ebooks, including the Big Press Release Book and Twitter Tactics, here: http://www.ereleases.com/insider/freebooks.html

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4 Responses

  1. Thank you so much for posting this! It will be highly useful information when I start writing my own press releases.

  2. When my old managing editor and I gave press-release clinics, we used to teach about “fit.” The press release writer has about 30 words — about what can be read aloud in one breath — to capture our attention. If the local hook (since we were a local paper) couldn’t be established in those 30 words, it’s going in the trash.

  3. Nikki says:

    “I’m enraged/passionate about something & you should do a story on it!”

    “Great – your story sounds worthwhile. When can I interview you about it?”

    “Oh….well, I don’t want to go on camera…”

  4. Good info to know before hasseling the journalist to death.

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