Want to irritate a journalist? Send them a press release riddled with varying fonts, flowery language, and no clear purpose.
Journalists, news producers, editors and online content managers receive hundreds of press releases every week. While scrolling through their e-mail inboxes, they make snap decisions on your news in a matter of seconds.
Like everyone else, journalists want to work with people who make their lives easier. A well written, well-presented press release does just that.
Here are six tips to follow if you want to avoid irritating journalists with your press releases:
Journalists know you want to promote your business – maybe you’ve launched a new product or expanded your company. However, the way to announce that news isn’t through a variety of styles.
That doesn’t stop people from trying. On a daily basis, journalists receive e-mails where words are EMPHASIZED through unnecessary capital letters or products described using seemingly pointless italics.
Even if the entire word isn’t capitalized, trying to Draw Attention To Your Product by randomly capitalizing or making words bold is a frustration.
Newsrooms across the nation have faced cutbacks and layoffs. With fewer people available to cover the news, press releases increasingly fill a content gap. However, the time-saving potential of a press release goes away if a journalist has to re-format and retype the entire release to rid it of strange styling decisions.
Often, style choices you may think help emphasize your news are simply viewed as extra work for journalists.
You may know your product is “the best thing to ever be developed” or that it features “a stunningly beautiful design.” What a journalist sees is “unnecessary opinion.” Who, they might ask, says it has a stunningly beautiful design? Everyone in the entire world?
Journalists strive for “Just the facts, Ma’am.” Flowery words and phrases or an excess of opinion in press releases means the release strays from the “news” category to the “advertisement” arena.
However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for opinion or superlatives, you just need to follow the next tip.
News articles have quotes, and you want your press release to be viewed as news. As a result, you need quotes.
Quotes give you the chance to showcase your expertise. They also offers a way to express opinion because that opinion can be attributed to an individual.
“We’re proud of our new product’s stunningly beautiful design,” said company president Mark Smith.
In that quote, it’s Mark Smith’s opinion the product is “stunning beautiful.” It’s a statement tied to an individual person, not a broad generalization.
When faced with a piece of information, journalists have to ask themselves, “Why is this important? Why is this newsworthy? Why now?”
Journalists ask those questions because they know their readers and/or viewers will ask the same questions. Why is this story being shared at this moment?
A press release falls under the same criteria. When issuing a press release, always ask yourself, “Why is this release important at this moment?”
In many cases, the answer is because the press release is timely:
Issuing a press release just for the sake of issuing a press release can confuse journalists. Because journalists are the ones who determine what’s newsworthy, make sure they understand why it’s important your release is shared.
We live in a world where there’s a 24-hour news cycle, but that doesn’t mean journalists are always prepared to react to events at a moment’s notice.
Journalists will tell you all too often they learn of an event or are asked to cover a news item at the last minute. In cases of “breaking news” this is often unavoidable.
But in many cases, last-minute notification is the result of poor planning. If you’re having an event on Tuesday, a good way to ensure the event goes unnoticed is to send the press release only hours before the start time.
If you want your event to receive media coverage, be considerate of a journalist’s time and their schedule. Send the release far enough in advance (usually one or two weeks prior) to allow them to properly plan for your event.
A good press release includes contact information a journalist can use if they have questions or need additional information.
Make sure that contact information matches the person who can best answer a journalist’s question.
It’s frustrating for a journalist to call a contact person listed on a release only to have the contact say, “What press release?” or “You’ll have to talk to someone else.”
Or worse, to have a journalist call on the day the release is issued only to be told the contact “is on vacation for the next two weeks.”
If you’re listed as a contact, make sure you are available when the release is issued and are the best media point of contact.
At Team WTI, we understand that creating a press release can be difficult. Writing an effective press release may feel like an overwhelming or daunting task. We’re here to help! At Team WTI, we can write and distribute your press release to local, statewide or national audiences.