Press Release: 4 Mistakes to Avoid
Ah, the press release. As a small business owner you are being told that the way to a journalist’s heart is through a strong press release, and you are not wrong. The information needs to be there, to avoid getting ignored by the journalist. These journalists see hundreds of press releases every day. The point is that there are right and wrong ways to write a press release. Below are a few major (and easily avoidable) mistakes to steer clear of when pitching your press release to a journalist.
Mistake #1: Not going through a final edit/fact check
Nothing a journalist (or publicist) writes goes straight to print without being meticulously torn apart by an editor first. The same concept applies to your press release. Take the extra time to be painfully detailed and you will save the journalist a lot of hassle and potential damage control. Don’t give them a reason to pass you by, because you decided not to go back and double check your work.
Mistake #2: No story or news
The local journalist at the community newspaper (or any media outlet for that matter) doesn’t care that your boss just won the community service award. However, if the CEO snagged an award for a breakthrough medical discovery that will alter human existence as we know it, then you have something. The point is that a journalist craves a rich and unique story that answers the critical question: “Why should my readers care?”
Mistake #3: It’s a sale
Now you may argue with me and claim that your latest press release featuring your new product isn’t selling, it’s telling. I don’t buy it and neither will any journalist. Know the publication or writer you are pitching and write something that can easily be turned into an article with one or two quotes and the facts.
Mistake #4: It’s a novel
A press release should be 400 words, max. I like the format of starting with an anecdote or quote, a quick dive into the product/service/cause, brief statistics, a nice fun quote about company and ending with a company boiler plate. The article is practically written for the journalist already. Be brief, but don’t look over any important facts or features.
These are just a few press release mistakes that you should avoid when pitching journalists. What are some lessons you’ve learned in your own experience?
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Photo Credit: Beshef
Written by Erika Taylor Montgomery
Tags: mistakes to avoid, press release