Here’s something we all know but are often too scared to say: most press releases suck. Plain and simple. Seriously, just venture over to one of those free press release sites and see for yourself. I’ll bet you that you’ll be bored to tears within minutes.
So what is it about press releases, anyway? Is it the format itself that calls for terrible writing? I’d argue that that isn’t the case. Instead, here’s a short list of what I believe causes most press releases to be horrendous.
Just for links – Somewhere along the way, people figured out that press releases can be a good tool to build links back to their site, thus boosting search rankings. And like any tool, people began abusing it almost immediately. The result? Crappy content for the sake of a little link. And with last year’s Google Panda update, those links aren’t worth diddly-squat anymore.
Too much detail – A lot of press release writers feel that they need to include every detail in the release to give the reporter all the information they could possibly need to do a write up. However, that kind of defeats the purpose of adding your contact information at the end, doesn’t it? If they want to feature your story, they’re going to contact you. So just hit them with the most important facts and save the details for the phone conversation.
Sloppy writing – Now that everyone who is anyone has tried their hand at the blogging world, the internet is overrun with sloppy writing. And while this is somewhat acceptable when it comes to blogging, press releases should be a bit more formal and written in third person. However, many novices don’t realize this and end up trying to “blog” their press releases.
Industry jargon – Then you have the higher-ups that love the buzzwords. Doesn’t matter what industry you come from – the buzzwords are out there. But guess what? They weren’t created for communicating with overworked reporters!
Fit the mold – Here’s what it often comes down to. People get too caught up with trying to fit the business press release mold and forget all about being creative. As a result they ended up churning out boring press releases that read just like all the others. Perhaps it’s time to think outside the box.