I think it’s a real shame how so many business owners agonize over the proper format of a press release. What’s important about a document that is supposed to be both informative and persuasive is the content, not the layout.
Should it have some semblance of order? Absolutely. But that should not be the author’s first priority, particularly when the great majority of them end up in one of two places: The recycling bin or an editor’s deleted items folder.
It’s not that assigning editors don’t want news or that press releases aren’t effective. They can be very effective when done right. But most are formatted in such a way that’s counterintuitive to the sender’s end goal. I can’t tell you how many press releases I’ve come across that had more information about the company’s founder or sponsors, than the event or service they were trying to promote.
That leads me to my list. Here are five things I hate about press releases.
1. They are too long.
2. They bury the lead, or put the most crucial information in the middle of the document.
3. They provide too many details.
4. They don’t provide context or tell me why the event/subject is significant.
5. They can be too formal.
If you’re guilty of even “one” of the above, you could be your own worst enemy. So before you send out your next press release, keep those five items in mind, and ask yourself what changes you can make to avoid the dreaded recycle bin and deleted items folder, at all costs.
Angela Connor has 15 years of experience in print, broadcast and online media. She has has been the driving force behind local television news coverage in major markets, including Cleveland, Tampa, West Palm Beach and Miami/Fort Lauderdale. She is currently the Managing Editor for User-Generated Content at CBC New Media/WRAL.com.
Angela enjoys providing business owners with information that will help them gain a better understanding of the needs of local media, and increase their chances of getting coverage.
You can visit her blog at http://www.newsworthyornot.wordpress.com