If you’re an organization with a PR team, you probably already know that to get the word out about your work, you have to write a press release. But not just any press release. A well-crafted, targeted press release will help journalists see the value of your story and give more attention to your organization than if you just sent them an email. And yet, it’s so common for organizations to get this wrong. Why? Well, it’s because there are some popular myths about press releases that lead people in the wrong direction when trying to communicate their work effectively. Here are 5 common reasons people write a bad press release and how to avoid falling into that trap:
It’s a simple PR tactic that requires no effort
A press release is not a marketing tactic, but a communication tool. Just like a phone call or in-person meeting, there are certain steps you need to take to make sure it’s successful. You need to plan who you’re targeting, what you want to share with them, and how you want to frame your message. It’s not a simple tactic that you can just throw together with no effort or thought. A press release needs to be targeted, carefully crafted, and well-researched. It should also be easy to understand and not be wordy. It’s not easy to write a good press release, but it is worth the effort in the end.
Lacking news value
The first thing people look for in a press release is news value. It’s important to remember that a press release isn’t just a public relations piece - it’s also a form of journalism. When writing a press release, one wants to be mindful of the news cycle, as well as the needs of the readers and target audiences. It is not a newsworthy event if you are the only person who cares about it. So, make sure you’re writing a press release that has news value and isn’t just a press release with information about your organization.
You’re using it as an advertising opportunity
If you’re trying to sneak advertising into your press release, your audience is definitely going to catch on. You’ll lose credibility as an organization if you try to sneak in ads. The audience doesn't want to be misled. This is why it’s important to remember that a press release is not an advertisement.
Your press release includes false information
This one is pretty obvious. Your audience can be quick to pick up any misleading information that could land your organization in hot water. This can be something as small as an incorrect statistic or a misquote in your interview quotes. It could also be something as big as a false claim that you make in your press release. Remember that it’s important to be transparent in a press release.
Your only goal is to drive website traffic and email signups
If you only care about getting website traffic and email signups, your press release won’t be targeted or thoughtful. You’ll lose credibility as an organization. This is a common problem with press releases from companies like tech startups or other organizations that are in the business of gaining new customers. It’s clear when a press release is only focused on driving website traffic or collecting email addresses. It’s easy to spot these kinds of press releases. If your press release is only focused on these goals, it won’t be successful.
A press release should never be written for the sake of getting published. Not only are they about announcing your product or service to the world; they are also about announcing your company’s expertise in a certain field. It can make or break how the outside world views a company. It’s important to keep these tricks in mind when writing your next press release.