According to a study realized by comunicatistampa.net, three out of four journalists regard the Press Release as a still essential tool to compose articles and news. Throughout economically challenging times for the editorial, press offices are critical to ensure visibility to companies, events, and much more.
The press release is often a work of writing following tight deadlines. However, the core of the press release is about reasoning, strategy and experience. Also, some things should be shunned. Here are ten mistakes that are limiting your media coverage.
- LACK OF RELEVANCY
Writing a press release without a piece of news is a bad start. The foundations of a press release are the news and the need to communicate them. Not all press releases are of interest to every journalist, but they should be at least for a specific media category.
Whenever a journalist snubs our press releases, our reputation as a source of valuable news is affected.
Alternatively, you can work with wits, with the data search or keys to interpretations. Sometimes, news can be created. Not invented, of course.
- CONCEALING THE NEWS
A press release's primary goal is the diffusion of news. For this reason, it is crucial to put out key things first. Along with the 5W1H rule (who, what, where, when, why and how), it is essential to express the main concept in the first lines of the press release.
When the news needs to be positioned in the PR's final part, it is better to anticipate it in the abstract.
When catching the attention is the goal, you can't hide your best cards for too long.
- NOT INCLUDING STATEMENTS
Not all press releases are similar - they can differ in style, tone of voice and strategic value. Within a relevant piece of content, adding a quote gives an authentic touch, and can help to remark a key strategic message. Also, quotes are the best way to express specific views without being self-referential.
Exaggerated claims, superlatives, exclamations, self-referential contents: evaluative expressions shall be limited when professionally handling communication. Journalists need information, not opinions: if you wish to say your customer's product is the best, then you need to tell how and why providing data and references.
Writing in emphatic terms will not give greater importance to your content. Proving a point with numbers and stats will, most of the times.
- ERRORS AND TYPOS
Read and proof-read. Check and proof-check. Proof-reading drafts is a good practice. Along with the typos, in press releases, you need to pay attention to the correctness of information: date of the event, name of organizers, sponsoring companies, you name it.
The best-case scenario is an annoying slip, but the consequences may be severe in the worst-case scenario, even leading to unpleasant situations. Perfection does not exist, but whimsy is a bad habit.
Also, watch out for how the expression flows - or doesn't. If you can't read the whole period without running out of breath, then maybe you are missing a comma or two.
- NEGLECTING THE OVERALL LOOK
Graphical features and the choice of the main picture are critical when sending a press release. It is the same concept that applies to social networks: the correct image is the synonym of an eye-catcher, increasing the chances of reading and publishing, but keep in mind that journalists also need high-resolution photos.
A well-curated, easy to read content is sure to enhance the receiver's consideration - of whatever category. That's never a bad thing. The way we work around things tells a lot about who we are.
- FORGETTING TO INCLUDE CONTACTS
The Press Office job does not cease with sending the press releases. For this reason, signature and contacts are very important. And, honestly, we believe each and every of us have forgotten it at least once! But it's not just a matter of form or - even less - vanity.
When delivering a press release, the press office has two main goals: getting exposure and building relationships with the recipients. That's why contact e-mail, phone number and website must always be there.
- SENDING EVERYTHING TO EVERYONE
Curated mailing lists are a major asset for any communication agency. As long as no mailing list will communicate by itself, though, connections need to be activated: unsurprisingly, that's our job to do.
That's why it's critical to personalize and segment contacts according to their characteristics and fields of expertise. CRMs and/or platforms of e-mail marketing like Mailup, Mailchimp, and SendinBlue are fundamental for the job: you don't want to send contents to the wrong media category.
Mailing lists are like babies: they need everyday care. And you can't automate all that much: you need to newspaper, blog, journalists and editorial offices. And be in the position to keep tabs with what's going on within them.
- CHOOSING BAD DELIVERY TIMING
When a journalist receives the press release at the appropriate time, the chances of being considered and reaching our goal increase.
However, there are no fixed timing rules to send a press release. Generally speaking, a scheduled press release should be sent in the morning to facilitate the job of media.
Unless you are dealing with breaking news, try to avoid sending after 6 PM - it's better to schedule at 8.30 AM on the following day. Actually, that's also a matter of respect: who likes receiving non-urgent work-related communications at 11 PM? Gotcha.
It is also essential to schedule the press release after analyzing the activity of potential "competitor" entities. If another relevant event is ongoing during the day, maybe it is better to look for another option. Does it sound too straightforward? Apparently, it is not.
- FORGETTING THE PHONE
After sending the press release, only half of the job is done. Following up on specific leads is also crucial. The press office must guarantee that the press release got received by the correct journalists. Also, journalists must recognize the relevance of our content, and sometimes that needs help. Remember: nowadays, editorial offices are very short in human forces - "missing" a piece of news is occasionally unavoidable.
For this reason, selected phone contacts are essential with three goals in mind: validation, marking, and deepening. We need to check whether the press release has reached the correct person, understanding what the feeling for the news is, getting deeper on the content of the press release, possibly providing some extra details that could make it even more enticing.
It's time-consuming, often more than drafting the release itself. But you need to look at the results. At the end of the year, companies and organizations examine the effects in exposure - their results, not the number of releases we send.
That's what a press office does. We cannot be content with hitting the “send” button.