A press release isn't the only way to get the media's attention.
However, it is the most common method for presenting a specific aspect of a business to qualified media contacts and targeted segments of the buying public.
Your press release doesn't have to be a masterpiece. But it does need to be strong and free of the kinds of mistakes that can sink an otherwise flawless press release.
- Not newsworthy. The problem with most press releases is that they simply aren't newsworthy. Journalists are paid to write interesting news stories, not to sell your products or promote your company.
- Bad timing. Don't send a press release a day or two before publication and expect to get a response. Like everyone else, journalists face tight deadlines and they plan their stories in advance. If you're not sure how soon you need to submit your press release, contact the publication and ask about submission deadlines.
- Too technical. Journalists write stories for everyday people. If your press release is packed with technical data and industry jargon, reporters may have difficulty seeing the story's broader appeal.
- Wrong media contacts. Your press release should be emailed or faxed to the appropriate person. If it lands on the wrong desk, the odds that it will find its way to the right desk are slim to none.
- Inappropriate tone. A press release is an informational document – not a selling sheet. If your press release tries to sell the reader instead of informing him, it will be difficult for media contacts to qualify it as a legitimate news item.
- Failure to highlight main points first. If the beginning or your press release is weak, journalists won't read the rest of it. Put your primary points at the beginning of the press release rather than saving them for the end.
- Too long. A good press release shouldn't be more than two or three pages in length. Journalists don't have time to thoroughly read every press release they see, so an informative title and bullet points can give your press release an advantage over the other ones in the pile.