Press releases, otherwise known as news stories, are still an excellent way to get your company’s news out to the world. You can send them out to editors, the traditional way press releases are distributed, on your website or social media platforms, or a combination of both. Typically, large organizations can get away with just posting a news story on their website or on social media. For the rest of us, distributing it to key industry publications as well as adding it to your platforms are the best bet.
Whatever approach you take, if you’re not careful, writing and distributing a press release can be a waste of time.
Here are ten press release mistakes to avoid:
1) Not Newsworthy. Editors don’t want to publish something that isn’t interesting or relevant to their audience. They know what’s interesting and what isn’t after doing this for years. If it doesn’t grab their attention in three seconds, it’s not going to get posted.
2) Too Promotional. A press release is meant to be a lightly biased news item about something happening within or related to your company—not a sales pitch disguised as an article! Promote your organization, products, and services, tactfully, as if you were a third-person writer for a publication or newspaper.
3) Not Written Well. It doesn’t matter how great your company is or how amazing its news, if it’s not clear and concise, it won’t get published. This means eliminating unnecessary words or phrases.
4) Not Relevant. A press release should be about something that’s happening right now, not something that happened months ago. It can be about a future event if it is not too far into the future.
5) Too Long or Too Short. Press releases are typically between 300 and 500 words long—but if yours is too short, it won’t contain enough information; if it’s too long, people will lose interest before they finish reading it. 350 words is the sweet spot.
6)Jargon. Editors like to see press releases that are easy to read, easy to understand, and of interest to all their readers. Lots of jargon such as using industry specific words or words hard to understand get in the way. Make sure a sixth grader can read and understand your news story.
7). Boring Title. Trade publication editors invariably change the title of a press release. So, do you still need an exciting title? Yes. It’s needed to catch the editor’s eye. If they see an exciting or interesting title, the chances go up the news story will be published.
8) Bland presentation. Submitting just text and paragraphs can get dull fast. Add bullets; headshots of someone quoted in the press release or quotes from a couple of people. But don’t go overboard—too many quotes from too many people can cause confusion!
9) Spelling and Grammar Mistakes. Editors will immediately disregard any press release that contains a spelling or grammar mistake.
10) Shot-Gun Press Release Distribution Services. There are many low-end press release distribution services. If you go with one of these services, keep in mind, you are getting what you pay for.
Most can get your news online and in some search engines, but that’s about all. They often have a limited number of editorial contacts, reducing the chances your release will get picked up in publications.
Plus, we must remember, editors get hundreds of emails each day and lots and lots of press releases. If a press release is distributed by a major press release service, they are more likely to read it than one distributed by a service they have never heard of before.
Robert Kravitz is president of AlturaSolutions, which Provides Content Marketing Strategies for the Professional Cleaning Industry
He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org