Writing a press release is not the most entertaining and exciting thing you’ll ever do. Learning how to write a press release is basically learning how to write another column in your local newspaper. There are thousands of press release examples across the internet – how can you scrutinize and decide which one gets the reporter’s attention and which one goes to the trash? We’ve listed the bad habits you must ditch when writing a press release if you want to make it past the gatekeepers.
1. Stop Publishing Wordy Press Releases
Nobody wants to read a lump of text and glean nothing. It’s best to keep your pitches simple and get straight to the point. Think of it this way, the journalists you are trying to reach are some of the busiest people in media and advertising.
Journalists have hectic schedules and there simply isn’t enough time for them to read through all your details. Just don’t include things that don’t make your story interesting. If it doesn’t sell your story, don’t hesitate to strike it off.
Keep in mind that your pitches must be short, must make their point in only a few sentences. At prREACH, our press release writers know far more than just how to write a press release. We understand that your writeup needs to be informative and compelling, and we work on pitches that get your brand the attention it deserves.
Read more on how to write powerful press releases.
2. Quit Sugarcoating
No over-promising. No too-good-to-be-true claims. These can be tempting but they’re platitudes that you should definitely avoid. Overselling things beyond your brand’s capacity is a common mistake.
Using bombastic language and buzzwords such as “revolutionary breakthrough,” “never before seen,” or “groundbreaking” can be too over-the-top. Remember that you are writing a press release for the masses and not an advertisement aimed at triggering people to buy.
3. Do Not Write for SEO Purposes Alone
Writing a press release shouldn’t only be about getting quality backlinks and increasing your search engine presence by stuffing in relevant keywords. It doesn’t really matter how many long-tail keywords with low competition you add to your press release if it does not speak to your targeted audience.
Yes, optimizing your press release can give your company the exposure you want. However, it can also backfire, giving you a high volume of low-quality traffic. Press release distribution must be well thought out and must speak to a specific audience within your niche.
4. Don’t Skip the Small Steps
While your main goal in writing a press release is to have it published on a magazine cover or see it on television, success is not guaranteed. Don’t get me wrong, every PR pro wants their story to be out there, in all high-traffic areas possible for optimal viewing. You want to be on the cover of national papers or see your CEO speak during a news story or talk show. Most even want to end up on TED talks or Grant Cardone podcasts. While these might be the ultimate goals and sound like big wins for every rising brand out there, you might not want to ignore possibilities with other, smaller publications.
Don’t ignore the countless possibilities related to being featured on the local or regional press – these ultimately improve the local traffic that goes into your site or your physical store. Publications might have a bigger audience reach, but you never know if the viewers are interested in your pitch. Also, it’s important that higher-order publications focus on the “talk of the town.” Once your business is well known in the local and regional press, you’re just one publish away from being featured with a larger network publication.
5. Avoid Bombarding Journalists
Sending out lots of emails would certainly not help if you want to get published. Don’t be annoying by sending out different emails asking if you could be featured in a press release, or asking if they are actively looking for something to publish. The result? You’ll likely end up on their trash list or in their spam folder. Or your emails will be forever muted.
Stop sending bulk emails that slowly become an inconvenience to journalists. You can freely write a press release and send it to them in an email with a catchy subject line, enticing them to open. On the other hand, most people like to bug journalists regarding when their article is coming out. This is another stressful follow-up session for the journalist. The truth is, most of them just don’t know exactly when your press release will come out.
These journalists have to deal with different departments to know how exactly your written press release will be aired or featured. If you’re really concerned about knowing when your press release will finally air, set up a Google alert with the name of the publication tagged so that you are notified when your article or video is finally published.
6. Doesn’t Explain the Why
Writing a press release that makes people lend their ears is a superpower that will expose your brand to people that are highly interested in what you offer. What is it in your press release that other people have not discovered yet? A new platform to make it easy for credit-repair businesses to consolidate their customer’s credit history? A possible cure for a disease? An untouched island that offers people an amazing retreat? New software that detects intrusive activities and immediately alerts the user?
It is very important to set your news apart from any other news people have seen. Find different angles and use a better quote that explains why this news deserves attention. Deviate from what your competitors have published and address people’s curiosity.
If you can’t find anything that sparks their eagerness to learn more about your story’s subject, find something that solves their pain points. Writing a press release that establishes an instant connection with your audience will help you keep their attention. Also, help reporters to understand why your news is so significant that it deserves a sweet spot in their next featured story. There are times when your press release may not fall under the reporter’s main area of coverage.
7. Not Setting a Clear Press Release Example to Your Team
Let’s say that you have an entire team to write your next press release. The pitch must be really catchy, your social media must be primed to hype people up, and your connections must be fully aware that you are going live. Also, when writing a press release you must be sure to have a clear example of what you really want it to look like. Collect files of your favorite press releases that have made positive impacts for their brands, and have your team brainstorm more creative ideas.
From how to write a press release, to the tiny details of the broader story, your team must fully understand that coherence is the key to a successful press release message. If press release elements – such as the message, video elements, animations, or voice-overs – aren’t in sync, you will likely end up with poor impressions from your audience. Here at prREACH, writing a press release and coming up with thought-provoking content is never a struggle. Reach out to us and get your story told without the sugarcoating.
8. Missing the Necessary Information
Writing a press release is just as meticulous as any other form of media that goes out to the public. You can’t afford to feature fake news, hoaxes, or biased opinions. There is absolutely no room for scarce information.
A press release must be solely based on facts and must be written to educate people from all walks of life. Therefore, if you are writing a press release about a newly-formulated cure for a certain disease, or new technology that can save hours and hours of work, giving proper credit to the people behind it is a total must.
Be careful about misleading information and false claims; credibility is a huge factor for almost all audiences. If you happen to publish misleading information, you’ll likely end with a swarm of people denouncing you because of your false claims. This will greatly tarnish the reputation of the publication and your brand.
9. Ignoring Improper Grammar and Punctuation
This might be the most effective killer for anyone reading your press release writeup.
A small discrepancy involving the words “its,” “it’s,” “their,” and “there” are huge no-nos for all publications. It’s also good practice to ditch the extra exclamation points (!!!) as not all readers will be as astounded by the words as you are, nor do they all appreciate shouting via text. While this might work for the younger generations, you can’t expect Gen Zs to embrace “hip” or “cool” concepts in press releases.
Remember that press releases are different from blog posts. The laid-back, humorous, casual nature of blog posts don’t have the same charm when used in press releases. Be careful to steer clear of the reserved, tranquil tone of a blog when writing a press release.
10. Not Including Enough Contact Information
Learning how to write a good press release is pointless if you fail to include the contact information on your boilerplate. The boilerplate will serve as a brief overview of your company’s vision. It will help you form an instant connection with your audience, with those who have similar interests and concerns about the social issues your brand is trying to solve.
Be sure to include a detailed name of the contact person, an email, a reachable mobile number, and your website. Your social media accounts must also be listed. This way, your potential customers will easily be able to find you.
Skip Writing A Press Release By Yourself
Writing a press release requires a lot of tweaking, research, and obsessive proofreading sessions, not to mention finding a huge network to amplify your reach. Whether your brand is a mom-and-pop startup or a mid-sized business ready to achieve new heights, a press release will definitely bump up your marketing strategy. Press releases can be the most cost-effective way to give you a surge of traffic, improve your SEO, and build your brand’s digital footprint.
Reach your target audiences and investors across various channels with the right press release distribution services.
The prREACH team can help you come up with a well-rounded press release campaign that resonates with your audience and boosts your marketing efforts. Reach out to us and start getting your brand the maximum press release distribution exposure it needs!