You’ve just spend the better part of your afternoon writing up press releases about the latest and greatest development in your business.
You’ve put in the quotes and you’re fired up and ready to spread it to the masses.
But, wait. Before you hit send make sure you’re not guilty of one of these rookie mistakes.
1. You write in the first person
“We did such and such…”
“In my opinion…”
These are the first mistake that many make with their press releases. A good press release should be written in the same style as the news – the third person.
This isn’t always easy to do, especially if you’re writing about your own business. When you write, pretend you are the journalist and you are telling others about something that someone else has done.
The only place, of course, for first person language is within the quotes you provide in your press release.
2. The title is boring
This is the first thing any potential journalist is going to see of your release. It must be enticing and interesting, but still short enough to encourage them to keep reading.
Think of the titles you see on magazine covers in the supermarket. Concise, intriguing and giving away just enough to make you want to read more.
3. It’s too self-promotional
If you’ve done the lazy thing and simply copied some marketing collateral or ad copy into your press release, you’re making this mistake.
It’s too promotional to be suitable for a press release. Remember, journalists are looking to present a balanced story, so give them a balanced and not overly self-promotional feel. Explain what others are doing and how your business fits into the picture or contributes to the work of your industry. That’s much more interesting than banging on about how great you are.
4. It’s a punctuation pickle
Does the full stop go within or outside the quotation marks?
Journalists are a notoriously time-starved bunch. So make their lives easier and make a reputation for providing impeccable copy that is ready to roll. Not only will you be making their lives easier, but you’ll be ensuring you are remembered for quality content.
5. You use too much hype!
All CAPS words. Exclamations galore!
These are red-flags for the weary journalist.
While most marketers might steer clear of the dreaded exclamation, they far too often include hyperbole to make the average reader’s teeth sit on edge.
See point 3 above. Remember, a good press release is not salesy. It should be written in a matter-of-fact style that reserves judgement and sounds like a proper piece of journalism.
If in doubt, grab a newspaper and read some stories to get a flavour for how they’re written. Now mimic that.