Some things should never be press released, not if you want to keep the world sane. This is where you feel for journalists. Email boxes full of pap sprinkled with PR hope and a vain sense of importance. Where's the context? The perspective? The relevance? Understanding how journalists work would go a long way to getting coverage and managing expectation.
While looking for a press release image for this blog - copyright free of course - i came across a link building site which claims "Press releases are highly regarded, authoritative pieces of news." No they are not. They just made that up.
This is a problem because businesses are being mis-sold on the value of press released information. Press releases are not highly regarded authoritive pieces of news. Any journalist would fall off their chair laughing at the mere suggestion.
Unbelieveably I still receive press releases even though I haven't worked in journalism since 2005. Sadly the quality has not improved, particularly in the tech sector where there is a danger to over-use acronyms and write mind-numbing sentences pretending to be headlines.
So when are press releases right to use? And how should they be written? Here are some tips as we see it. It works for us...
1. Take Control
Clients employ PRs to manage their publicity not to write press releases.
2. What's the story?
Ask yourself the question - would you find it interesting?
Who are you trying to reach? Not all journalists will take notice of press releases, regardless of how earth shattering you think the story is.
If you have more than one sector to target, you may need to write more than one version.
4. The Top Line
The most important part of the release. If you don't get the top line right, no one will read it. Simple.
Avoid them. Even if you are preaching to the converted, acronyms rarely work well in releases.
6. The Quotes
Again it sounds obvious but so few people actually make quotes interesting and useable. The majority of releases have salesy quotes which do little to add to the context of the story.
Real quote from major telecoms firm...
"Our growing market share reflects our abilty to understand and address customer needs." Really? How interesting. Do go on...
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