Clients that ruin good press releases

As a journalist I get sent some hilarious press releases each day. Trouble is, they are not meant to be funny.

Press releases with long winded subject headings, uncaptioned image attachments, unchecked facts and pages of useless information.

I cringe for the poor publicist whose name appears at the bottom for I know this may not have been their work (if it was then they should know better or come to our PitchIt2Me press release workshop) – even the best press releases can go wrong when a client gets their hands on it.

If you are going to employ a public relations professional then trust them to do their job. I assume you have employed them because you don’t know how to write a press release or pitch a story to a journalist.  So, why, then when the PR professional gives you the press release do so many clients feel they need to make their mark on it?

I ghost wrote a press release for a PR company recently. Kept the subject heading to five words, limited the release to one short page, got to the point in the first paragraph and wrote what I, and my surveyed journalist friends, would have opened and read. Isn’t that the point?

What was returned to my client by his client was a complete rewrite that stretched the press release across two pages, increased the subject heading to nine words and added floral brochure style copy to the first paragraph followed by CEO quotes in the second.

A journalist would have to have read to the fourth paragraph to understand what was going on. Trust me, they won’t have read that far.

Things can get even worse when untrained tourism operators and small business owners take it upon themselves to write their own press release without a public relations professional or in house marketer who understands media.

If you are going to take it upon yourself to write one then make note of this blog or enrol in our press release writing workshop.

Journalists don’t respond to generic contact details like info@  admin@  bookings@  marketing@  and especially if there is no contact name associated with the email address.  We want a specific name of a professional who will handle our request and you’d better make sure your release is telling the truth or you will get seriously caught out.

That’s what PR professionals do – they double check your facts and get approval from everyone mentioned in the release itself unless you are quoting a published piece. There’s a reason you can’t speak on behalf of someone else without their knowledge – it’s called libel.

Team work is when everyone listens to those who are the leaders in their field within that team and heeds the advice they have paid for.

Are you a PR professional whose releases have been ruined by a client? Are you a tourism operator wanting to know the tips to writing a good release that will be read by journalists every time?  Post your comments on our blog below.

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One Comment

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  1. I have a filter on my e-mails for ‘CEO’. It goes straight to junk folder. Any press release under the impression that some random blather quotes from the CEO have any story interest is not one I can be bothered to even click on, let alone read…

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