Journalists receive hundreds of press releases every day but only few gets published. So naturally they come across many types of press release fails. According to the study, the average attention span of any individual lasts only up to 8-10 seconds. Making press releases stand out requires skills and tactics. There are many tools available that can help communication professionals write flawless PRs. But sometimes they overlook some mistakes that reduce chances of coverage. It can also create negative impression about PR pros in the media fraternity.
Companies are often tempted to publicize every single update in media. To impress them, communicators pitch irrelevant press releases to the wrong journalists. It creates a bad impression on PR professionals. In extreme scenarios, journalists also block them curtailing their future scope of engagement.
How to Avoid: Not every update can become a press announcement. Study the topic and analyze whether it is newsworthy. Educate your clients/ leadership on what makes news and the ‘so what’ aspect.
This is probably the most irksome of press release fails! PR professionals often neglect third party checks before disseminating the press statements. Later when they spot mistakes, they start running behind journalists to make corrections. It can be disastrous, and journalists might not entertain them next time.
How to Avoid: Always double-check the content for grammatical mistakes and facts. Use automated software like Hemingway or Grammarly, to avoid silly mistakes. Pause for 10 seconds and ensure all elements are proper before hitting the send button.
It is tempting to send lots of resources and references to point your point. But it can exhaust the space of the journalist’s mailbox. Such PRs will find place in their junk boxes. Such press release fails are not as hard to avoid as you may think.
How to Avoid: Restrict attachments to two max. Create a link for high-resolution images and videos and attach them in the mail. Provide reference links for more information instead of attaching many files.
The headline is the first thing journalist sees; based on he/she takes a call to open your mail. The heading should be eye-catchy and prompt them to read the entire PR draft. But, sometimes PR professionals become over creative with headlines. They make it too difficult to understand.
How to Avoid: Restrict headlines up to 12 words max. Make sure the headline aligns with the message without divulging details. Avoid usage of exclamation signs in the headlines. Don’t let a creative press release turn into a press release fail!
If your press release appears to boast off with little or no facts, it will head towards the junk box. Journalists do not re-write press releases. They make few changes in headings and introduction paragraphs if necessary. Press releases that beat around the bush create a negative image of the brand.
How to Avoid: A press release is a formal statement to communicate a specific message to the audience. It is crucial that it is authentic and supported by facts and relevant quotes.
– Priyanka Pugaokar
Priyanka Pugaokar is an Alumna at the School of Communications and Reputation (SCoRe) Fall Batch of 2022 of the PG Programme in PR and Corporate Communications.
She is a communications specialist with 10 years of experience in Journalism and Corporate Communications. Her core competencies include content creation, media relations, internal and external communications, strategic planning, and event management. Currently, as Marketing Manager at Rashi Peripherals Pvt Ltd, she drives PR campaigns, brand communication, internal communication, and special projects.
Priyanka is a blogger and writes for Passion to Explore (blog) and Reputation Today. She is an avid traveler and likes to explore less known places and cuisines. She also has a special interest in Psychology, Yoga, Healing, and Naturopathy.