Monday, March 02, 2009

Seven ways to ruin a press release

Press releases are vital tools in the PR armoury. Here are seven ways that you could end up firing blanks;

1. Have no obvious angle or hook. Journalists need to have an angle for every story. If your press release doesn't have one in the first few words, it will end up in the bin.

2. Deliver an old story. There must be an element of "news". If the story has been covered before, or happened a long time ago, there won't be any journalistic interest

3. Have a confusing headline. Does your headline pass the "poster test"? Trying to be too clever, with puns or double meanings, can backfire.

4. Cram in too much information. If the story is not obvious, the release is not doing its job.

5. Don't bother with quotes. In order to give real interest to a story, quotes are vital.

6. Avoid any controversy. Don't be boring - would you read a boring article?

7. Give only email contact details. Better make sure you take your computer to bed if you do this.

3 comments:

Jeff Cutler said...

Good piece. The biggest complaint I have as a journalist is that PR people seem to think the important part of the story is the company or individual being featured. That's not true. The actions people take and the things businesses do are most times more in line with what readers want to hear about.

Keep up the good work.

Jeff

http://www.jeffcutler.com

Alan said...

Jeff,

Thanks for your comment. As I often say to PR account execs - journalists want stories, not dull facts and poorly disguised adverts.

Best wishes

Alan

Giles said...

Alan,

Thanks for a great post! Press releases I've written the past have always lacked a certain something, and you've given a few clues why that might be.

I've just written one with your comments in mind, and it certainly seems a lot more powerful - if it generates more interest than the old ones, I'll be sure to stop by and let you know!


Cheers,

Giles