In the world of PR, a press release is the belle of the ball, the key to unlocking the door of media attention. Yet, a harsh reality is waiting for those who underestimate this seemingly simple document. The difference between the spotlight and being in the shadows often comes down to avoiding certain common missteps. In this blog, we will cover the top 9 press release mistakes to avoid so you can ensure your press release does the intended job.
A press release, often referred to as a news release, is a written communication targeted at members of the news media for the purpose of announcing something newsworthy. This one or two-page document is designed to show journalists and editors the newsworthy value of a certain event, product, or service, with the aim of piquing their interest for further coverage. Crafted with careful precision and brimming with details, it should be interesting, informative, and, most importantly, newsworthy. A great press release is the equivalent of a siren’s song, virtually irresistible to the media, drawing them in for a closer look.
Top 9 Press Release Mistakes to Avoid
Although there could be many reasons for a press release to go wrong, the 9 listed below are some of the most common Press Release mistakes that you have to avoid to ensure your PR brings the intended results:
1. Not Knowing the Audience
Imagine crafting a gorgeous, gourmet vegetarian meal only to find out your guest is a steadfast carnivore. A press release sent to the wrong audience is similarly futile. Identifying your target audience is essential, or else your intended message will not get out, and you will miss the opportunity to create impact. You need to know who will be interested in your news and write in a style and tone that appeals to them. Crafting your press release with a clear understanding of your audience will ensure it lands in front of the right eyes.
2. Giving it a Promotional Feel
Businesses often confuse press releases with advertising, thinking it’s the perfect platform to promote their latest products or services. This is, again widespread mistake. Press releases should inform, not sell. Journalists are not interested in acting as your company’s personal marketing machine. They are looking for a story that offers fresh, newsworthy content to their readers. Overly promotional press releases swiftly find their way into the recycle bin, so always focus on the news aspect rather than trying to make a sale. Remember, you want to be a newsmaker, not a pitchman.
3. Making it Too Lengthy
In the age of digital media, where attention spans appear to be shrinking, delivering a concise yet comprehensive narrative is vital. Just like a lengthy, drawn-out conversation drains interest, an excessively long press release can be a deterrent for busy journalists. Your press release needs to deliver its key message in as few words as possible, ideally within a one to two-page limit. Overstuffing it with unnecessary details doesn’t make it more impressive. Instead, it dilutes the impact of your message and increases the chances of it being ignored.
4. Failing to Angle Perfectly
Creating the perfect angle for your press release is similar to finding the perfect dress for a gala; it must fit, flatter, and stand out. A poorly angled press release is like wearing sneakers to a black-tie event. Your angle should highlight the unique and newsworthy aspects of your story and what makes it novel, relevant, or impactful. Tailor the angle to your audience and industry, ensuring it is both appealing and appropriate. When done well, the right press release angle will draw in the attention you seek and more.
5. Not Including the Right Information
Though it seems like common sense to include all relevant information in your press release, a lot of people forget some rather important points. This includes the company name and contact information, the date and location of the announcement, details about any individuals involved, quotes from appropriate sources, and other pertinent facts. All these elements create an accurate narrative that journalists can understand and refer to when preparing their stories. If you miss any of these crucial elements, your press release could fail to make an impact.
6. Using a Wrong Press Release Type
There are several types of press releases, including product releases, event announcements, or personnel appointments, each serving a distinct purpose. It is essential to use the right type of press release that suits your purpose, otherwise, you will not be able to convey your message effectively. For example, using a product release for an event announcement can confuse readers and lead them in the wrong direction. If you are sending out a press release, make sure it is the right type for your purpose and is tailored to meet the needs of your audience.
7. Not Reaching Out After Sending the Press Release
Just sending a press release is like sending an invitation without a follow-up, leaving the RSVP unanswered. Your job is not done after you hit the “send” button on your press release. If you sit back and wait for journalists to come to you, you might be waiting a while. It is important to reach out, follow up, and foster the connection. This not only reminds them about your press release but it also provides a personal touch and shows your commitment to the story.
8. Missing Helpful Links
Imagine presenting a research paper without any citations; it would lose credibility, wouldn’t it? Similarly, not including helpful links in a press release can undermine its effectiveness and leave journalists scrambling for more information. Links enhance the credibility of your press release by providing direct access to primary sources, such as your company website, relevant studies, or supporting data. They also offer journalists an easy way to dig deeper into your story. However, be cautious about overloading your press release with links, as this can be overwhelming and come off as spammy.
9. Taking SEO Easy
The sole purpose of a press release is to communicate your news in a clear, concise, and compelling manner. However, in the digital era, one cannot afford to ignore the power of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO is the strategy that ensures your content is easily discovered by search engines, resulting in higher visibility and increased traffic. Incorporating SEO into your press release doesn’t mean stuffing it with keywords. That might have worked a decade ago, but search engines have since evolved, and they now value quality and relevance over sheer keyword density. Instead, focus on naturally integrating relevant keywords into your content, ensuring they fit the context and add value to the reader.
In conclusion, the top 9 press release mistakes to avoid serving as a strategic roadmap for businesses aiming to effectively communicate their news and narratives to the world. Remember, a press release is not an advertisement but a medium to inform and engage. Keep it concise yet comprehensive, prioritize quality over quantity, and ensure it’s tailored to your audience’s interests. By avoiding these common pitfalls, you’re on your way to crafting press releases that capture attention and create lasting impact.