Many publishers welcome the odd press release, to help them fill their news pages.
PR agencies provide a steady stream of relevant stories, thereby saving us the effort of having to dig them all up ourselves.
Many press releases are well written, objective, factual and accurate. They need the lightest of touches before publication.
Others… err, need a little more work.
So, on behalf of any publisher that’s ever accepted a press release, here’s my wish list for our friends in PR:
- Turn down the spin: high risk words include ‘unprecedented’, ‘state of the art’, ‘cutting edge’, ‘industry first’ and ‘unique’. Any competent journalist, on fluff-watch, will screen them out and outlets that do publish the release verbatim are probably not worth being on in the first place.
- Name the awards: it’s amazing how many people can be described as ‘award-winning’ which makes us super-sceptical. You can get awards for all sorts nowadays – there are even some you can buy.
- Make it worthwhile: A three-line press release not only undersells what you are trying to say, it’s virtually useless to the publisher.
- Make it newsworthy: the thirtieth birthday of such and such a brand is not a news story. A celebratory party attended by the original launch team and local mayor is.
- Work out what you want doing with it: Is it to run on a news page? If so, then it’s got to be a, … err… news story. Case studies, Q&As and profiles are for feature pages and usually require a different conversation altogether.
- Include pics: don’t wait to be asked. Include a high res pic from the start and caption it. Otherwise we’re having to guess which one of the smiling faces belongs to Rita, Sue and Bob too.
Otherwise, keep up the good work!