There are plenty of tips available about how to write a press release. Instead, let’s look at some press release “sins,” with these five easy ways to have a press release ignored by the media.
1. Forget to include media contact information. If a news angle catches the attention of a journalist, they need to be able to know where they can contact someone for additional information or interviews. If there’s no way for them to contact the sender of the press release (generally through either email or a phone number), the press release can be discarded no matter how strong the news angle is.
2. Don’t make the news angle clear in the headline of the press release. Headlines should be “catchy,” and not “cutesy.” While they have to be able to grab a reader’s attention, it’s just as important that the press release headline makes the basic news value of the story clear immediately.
3. Distribute a press release full of typographical errors. If a company can’t be bothered to proofread a press release, it’s like telling a journalist directly that the news must not be that important after all.
4. Make the press release read like an advertorial. Filling a press release with hype, marketing copy (using adjectives such as saying it’s the “best,” “wonderful,” etc.), or testimonials will turn off most journalists instantly. PR and advertising are not one and the same, and members of the media can tell the difference.
5. Write the press release in long blocks of text, or make it multiple pages. Journalists can receive a large number of press releases every day, and they have to separate the quality news from the rubbish. If they can’t get the basic idea of your news by glancing at your release (through a descriptive headline and summary, and easy-to-scan paragraphs in the press release body), they won’t likely even finish reading it.