Last week, we covered five ways to make sure your press release fails the media sniff test. It was one of the most popular posts ever at brendonshank.com. Now, we’ll assume you took those pitfalls to heart, avoided them, and have a fantastic, newsworthy press release in hand.
There are still plenty of ways to screw this up.
Here are five of them:
6: Wait until the last minute. Despite all the talk of the immediacy of news today, reporters and editors still need time to research your information, talk to other experts and write and edit copy, so if you want them to write about your groundbreaking event on Thursday, don’t send it out on Wednesday evening. And give yourself time, too. Plan at least a couple of days ahead to draft your press release and have it reviewed by your experts and leadership.
You can leap over common press release pitfalls. (But I can't resist ways to post Atari graphics on my blog).
7: Keep it to yourself. Posting your press release to your website does not guarantee anyone has seen it. Make sure you have a well-researched list of media contacts that cover your topic and company and send it to them via email. And make sure that your colleagues, other experts and organizations in the field receive it, too. They can be equally valuable in forwarding your news along. Depending on the nature of the news and your budget, you can look into news services like PRWeb.com, EurekAlert!, PR Newswire and BusinessWire.
8: Send it to everybody. This is the flip-side of the rule above. Sending your press release to every media contact in the world, regardless of their relevance to your company or issue, is a great long-term strategy to get ignored. There’s a word for press releases that are way off-topic for a particular reporter’s beat: spam. As appealing as it may be in the short-term, the shotgun approach (aiming broadly and hoping you’ll hit something, anything), can jeopardize valuable relationships, erode your credibility and undermine long-term ROI.
9: Organize a press conference. Unless you are a Fortune 50 company, a professional sports franchise or a cabinet-level government agency, a press conference should not be your go-to news distribution tactic for 99% of your press releases. The era of reporters anxiously scribbling in an auditorium with fedoras and flashbulbs is way, way gone, if it ever existed. The Internet killed it. Now, there are more efficient ways to get the same — if not better — information without the reporters, or you, ever leaving the office. It’s not to say you can’t do a press conference, but be prepared to spend a lot of time and attention organizing an event that could generate the same return as other tactics that require far less investment.
10: Expect immediate results. Sometimes your press releases will generate press right away. Many times, they won’t. Don’t be disheartened. Many publications — especially niche publications with a very specific audience — take months for a story to germinate into an article. Other times, it’s the aggregate story told through multiple releases over time that spark media interest. Or, maybe it’s just a matter of space and time for a particular outlet — if an editor doesn’t have space or time for your story this time, check back next time with your next great release.
But enough focusing on the negative. For the hundreds of ways to screw up a press release, there are just as many ways to make them sing in front of your most important audiences.
Have some favorite tips you want to share? Comment away!