When Press Releases Go Bad: 5 Things to Avoid When Drafting a Press Release

I just received this article via BurrellesLuce Newsletter (check it out here).

It’s true, a lot of the information found below is fairly obvious, but an oh-so-good reminder, because quite frankly, PR pros tend to get a little lazy now and then…

So the next time you send out a press release, just take a quick gander at these five tips:

1. Un-newsworthy releases. Let’s face it, to the company, brand, or organization that generates it, any “news” could be worthy of a press release. While it is perfectly acceptable to add all types of releases to your online press center, where you can optimize it for search, it may not be necessary for every piece to hit the wire — especially if it’s of little value to your audience. If you are crafting and sending a release just so you have something to show or to remain in front of eyeballs, you may want to think twice. Chances are that you’re only diminishing your credibility for when there is something worth announcing. (Keep in mind the story of the boy who cried “wolf.”)

2. Lack of intrigue. If a release doesn’t excite or spark some form of interest, who is going to bother to read it, let alone act on it? With the increasingly shorter news cycle and abundance of content available to readers, it is imperative that you create a piece that draws attention (in a good way) without being over the top. Otherwise, you’re just adding to the clutter and noise. One good way to measure your impact is to include a call to action in your release. [oh, you’ll want to keep reading…]

3. Ineffective communication. Audiences want to know that they are more than just commodities and that you truly care about forming relationships with them. If you are merely looking to push out your information, you may want to think twice before sending out that standard release across social media. Lou Hoffman, Ishmael’s Corner , sums up relationship-building between PR and the media by saying, “If the PR profession jumped on this bandwagon, we would go a long way toward resolving what the warden in Cool Hand Luke called, ‘a failure to communicate.'”

4. A boilerplate that is longer than the release. Not surprisingly, the Bad Pitch Blog dedicates a whole category to boiler plates, illustrating how these “gems” can easily run amuck in a press release. Their advice: “So what’s the magic formula for boilerplates? No magic, just brevity. Describe your company in one or two sentences and throw in its URL for more information. Done.”

5. Too much or not enough information. Knowing how much information to include in your release is something of an art. Yet, it is still easily achievable, particularly if you know a thing or two about your audience. “You need to get a sense for when people are saturated with information about your idea and are no longer listening. This needs to become second nature to you and you need to trust this sense explicitly,” says Steve Spalding in a Splitting an Atom post entitled, Six Ways to Pitch without People Hating You.

While there is really no guarantee as to how people will react to your release, following these basic guidelines can help point you in the direction of media success.

Via: BurrellesLuce

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