media relations

Top 5 wrong reasons to write a press release

By Katherine Buhl

Press releases can be very beneficial for a business, but only if they are done for the right reasons. If done correctly they can build your credibility + authority, increase customer interaction with your business, help you establish media relations, and build social relevance. However, companies often send out press releases for all the wrong reasons. There are numerous guidelines as to why you should or should not write a press release.

If you want your press release to be taken seriously by the media, avoid these top mistakes:

1. If you are pushing irrelevant news 

“You should not be sending out a press release if no one outside of your organization needs to know or will care.”

-Amy Roberts, VP of Communications + Client Services at KNB Communications

Think about why your audience should care. Will your news be meaningful to the people that matter? Your news should be timely, cover a trendy topic, and be innovative. Additionally, you should not be sharing news that has already been announced to the general public. 

2. If you are using press releases in place of storytelling + pitches

“Press releases are not meant to take the place of actual storytelling and pitches. If there is nothing newsworthy or tangible to announce, you are better off working with reporters and editors on a story idea, rather than convincing them the press release itself is the valuable thing.”

-Doug Haslam, Account Director at KNB Communications

Journalists want to write stories, but this is not the purpose of a press release. Think both about your audience and journalists— what will make your press release stand out in order to gain media attention? 

3. If you are promoting yourself or substituting for press coverage 

“If your news is interesting enough to get a media story, that is a plus. But many releases that may be necessary (say, announcing a new executive or a product upgrade) are best served as an announcement on your own channels (website, newsletters, social media) along with the press release wire; if they don't get coverage outside of that, that is not a failure. “

-Doug Haslam, Account Director at KNB Communications

Often the audience for a press release are current customers, investors, and regulatory bodies— a press release should have a client-focused message. You  should not go to the media to promote a new product or service; journalists are more interested in your brand as a whole. A press release will give your company publicity which could help with the promotion of your services, but it should not be the initial goal of a release. 

4. If you aren’t willing or prepared to speak on the topic 

“If there isn't interest in securing additional coverage beyond the wire (including setting time aside, being available, and flexible to take interviews when secured).”

-Corrie Fisher, Account Executive at KNB Communications

You should not write a press release if you can’t support it with relevant facts and respond with follow-up interviews. Ideally, your press release should stir interest and generate questions from the public, so you can quickly respond to them.

5. If it is an announcement with no guarantees 

“Funding announcement: When funds aren't guaranteed and you make up a number on what your company ‘might’ secure.” 

-Corrie Fisher, Account Executive at KNB Communications

It may seem like common sense, but you should not make an announcement about something that is not guaranteed. This will lead to mistrust in your company and  can result in an overall bad reputation. It is important to have all the accurate information before releasing something to the public because negative publicity will take time + money to fix. 

Any business can send a press release, but not every business can earn media coverage. This is because many businesses try to force a press release for the wrong reasons. A successful public relations strategy has many moving parts, therefore it is important to start with a reachable goal that will help ensure you are writing a press release with good intentions. If successful, it can help your business gain positive publicity.




by Katherine Buhl

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