Why News Releases Fail
Why News Releases Fail
Sorry for my Otaku with this problem (Otaku = more than a hobby, a little less than an obsession).
Many of you may know me because I use Imediafax, the Internet to Media Fax service. I send over a million press releases a year by fax and e-mail to people. You probably think I get press releases every day that are not working.
Not really. The press releases that I write and send to people do quite well. My clients are very pleased with me because they succeed with their outreach efforts.
It’s the drafts of press releases that are sent to me and that are my problem.
Fixing the issues I see in the press releases sent to me by people takes forever. It is also very painful.
I’ve seen many press release issues over the years and now I know what the key issues are and how they can be resolved.
My problem as a publicist is that I spend a lot of time educating my clients in order to get them to understand the psychology of dealing with the media.
In the press release, the rubber hits the street, because this single sheet of paper is the key to all communication with the media. The importance of the copy in a press release can not be stressed enough. It must be free from negative aspects or factors that reduce or eliminate the interest and resonance of the media. A serious mistake and it’s all over.
It is therefore crucial to identify the issues and revise the press releases. I spend a great deal of time and effort not sending out press releases that are still causing problems.
The problem is that sending out press releases often takes a long time to identify and communicate the problems, and then more time is needed to explain all the word changes to customers and negotiate press releases and have them ready and prepared for them Transmission approved.
Honestly, it can be very painful for everyone involved. I’m pretty brutal towards my clients, because success is everything that counts. I do not pull punches. My comment process, on the way to a hassle-free press release that maximizes the chances of success when it is finally broadcast, can hurt a lot of the highly inflated egos of some otherwise very accomplished people. Many people think that they can write a press release. Very few of them can do that very well.
They simply did not track the media response to enough press releases to find out what mistakes occur when writing press releases. They have not yet learned what the mistakes are, and there is no learning from continuous improvement.
Here’s the blood, sweat, and tears of the copywriting business. It gets even more difficult when another professional publicist wrote the press release for the client. Now, the client receives contradictory advice from two professionals. One says “Make it Hot” and the other says “Cool it”. What can a publicist do?
So my motivation for this article is pretty selfish. I would like to spend less time with it. My life will greatly improve if my clients send me press releases that take less time and energy to fix. Quite simply, with every new press release that comes in and does not have these issues, I can spend more time doing things that are more profitable for my clients and me.
The issues listed here have all been identified as reasons for the failure of a press release. This is based on over 20 years of experience in dealing with the consequences – the actual number and quality of responses generated from submitting a press release.
The most common reasons for the failure of press releases are:
1. You have written an ad. It is not a press release at all. It sells product. It does not provide solid news of real tangible interest, value-added information, education or entertainment.
2. You have written for a minority, not for a majority of the audience. They simply will not compete with other press releases that are clearly written for a larger audience of the media audience.
3. You are the focus, not the media audience. They focus on your business and your marketing, not on things that interest publishers and their audiences.
4. You forgot to put the five Ws forward. (WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN AND WHY IS THE AUDIENCE INTERESTED?) They did not tell the media clearly why the audience would be interested.
5. They are too wordy and text-tight. They’ve focused on details and trifles rather than key ideas, topics, factors, facts, and news. You do not go into the main effects of your story on people.
6. You put too much information on a page – the one-page press release has a font size that is so small that an editor needs a magnifying glass to read.
7. You’ve added company logos and other non-compelling, low-value graphics that distract the editor from your core message. You may also have used an unusual, fancy font or a file format that turns into “GobbledyGook” as it passes through a fax machine.
8. You have written a personally biased article that the media should publish rather than presenting the idea to the media and the objective reasons why the media audience will be interested.
9. They wrote about characteristics and facts and forgot to explain what it means to real people. Tell a story about real people. Add human interest in real life.
10. You’ve written about how your messages are associated with the glory and glory of another. Forget it. Never stand in the shadow of another. Make your own light. Tell your own story.
11. Your press release responds to something that has just happened. You’re too late. You are behind the eight. Forget it. Get in front of the news.
12. You’ve included too much hype, self-praise, pithy quotes, useless testimonials, jargon, or gobbledygook. Get rid of it.
13. You may also have found earlier coverage in the media, indicating that it is no longer a new issue. Get rid of it. Let each press release stand on your own two feet.
14. You have tried to impress and to be clever or innovative, but you are naive, less than an expert, biased, funky, arrogant or crazy. Make it quieter. Go straight.
15. You have made vague and unfounded allegations or wild and outrageous allegations, or you have attached a statement that simply rubs the media wrong. Get rid of them.
16. You try to be different just to do it, but you get away from an eccentric. Forget it. Do not create a wrong or bloated picture. Be yourself.
17. You have written a Rant and Rave that is worthy of a letter to the editor, rather than an article with troubleshooting tips that is worthy of a feature story. Decide what you want and do your best.
18. They are just not believable. It may be that your ideas are simply not well thought-out or that you have offered old, worn-out material or that you are too extreme or controversial or unqualified. You may not be knowledgeable or qualified enough to make the statements as compared to others in your field. You must provide information that you properly and appropriately qualify.
19. You provided bad contact information. You need to identify the best individual contact and phone number so that interested media can reach you and get the best possible attention and response from you to meet their needs. A key person, a telephone, not a fax, an e-mail address and a URL (without long string addresses).
20. You have not added a clear media call to action. You did not tell the media what to do with your press release. You have to tell them what you ask or what you propose or offer. Then you have to provide the media with added value incentives to do so, such as free review copies, free test samples, interview questions and answers, storyboard media kits and stats and data, relevant photos, etc.
21. You have not integrated a primary reaction mechanism. You must provide a value added reason that motivates the editor to publish or mention your contact information, which generates calls, traffic, interviews, or requests for more information. This usually means something unique and special to the audience that the publisher likes to mention. Get an offer for a free problem solving report.
22. You have sent the release to the wrong medium. Face the media that your customers read, see and hear when they’re in the right mood, that is, receptive to your messages and ready to take action when they receive your message. Work with your publicist to find the right media.
23. You rely on a single fax or e-mail to produce an avalanche of media calls. They do not follow-up. Become real. Track it correctly and you can triple or quadruple your media response rate. Better yet, you can ask the editors, “What can I give you to support a feature story and meet your needs?”.
After all, the main reason for the failure of press releases is the attitude. How do you define success or failure? This is called unrealistic expectations.
Become real. You will not get rich with a press release. Your chances of becoming famous are about as low.
You might be able to break even.
Look at your investment and compare it with what you need to get the most out of your investment. If you need to sell 100 books to cover the cost of $ 500, you will need ten items because each item will only produce ten sales. So that’s your breakeven target. The more books per article, the fewer articles will meet your requirements.
You may just have to be realistic and understand that while the topic may be of great interest, it may not have the broad public interest that you have for the topic. If you have authored an article of local interest, and you expect the national media to look at it, think again.
If you want to be part of the Oprah Winfrey Show, you better pray because the chances of having a press release are very low, almost zero. Become real. When she calls, congratulations are in order. But do not expect it.
If you’ve written an ad and would like to have a story and interviews, do not be surprised if the only medium you can call is the advertising manager who offers you a package deal. You get what you ask for. What you offer is often what you get.
Even if you advertise, it may not come out the way you want it to. The bigger the media, the less likely it is that they publish contact information.
Often the quality is there, while the numbers are not.
One or two quality media responses can be what you want or need. If you get that, it’s a success.
An article in USA Today is allowed to list ten articles in small daily and weekly newspapers in the Midwest.
On the other side it can not. The small, high-quality items can surpass the small mentions in the big media.
Similarly, a 30-minute quality interview on a popular talk show by a radio station in the middle of nowhere in the Midwest is likely to be a 5-minute interview in an Arbitron-rated radio station in the middle of the year surpassing morning talk show in a large metropolitan area. You can not judge the audience’s listening quality.
So if you are writing a press release, check it using these criteria to see if you made one of these mistakes. Then fix each one of them yourself and when you’re done, you’re welcome to send me your final draft. I will gladly look at it.
So listen to your publicist. Observe these warnings and reduce the risk of default. If you do not observe these issues, you are at your own risk.