7 reasons why your last press release failed

Unless you’re a corporate giant that can practically guarantee the media will run every story you issue, chances are good that you’ve had at least one press release fall flat with no media pick up. Media Relations Agency has been telling our clients’ stories through the media for more than 30 years. We developed our Media Grade Content® to increase our press releases’ appeal to reporters and producers. We also use our releases more strategically than other agencies.

Media Relations Agency’s press releases are different than traditional press releases. In part, that’s because we avoid the seven reasons why most press releases go unnoticed by the media. As you review this list, remember the media are no different than the rest of us: they skim content first then read the entire piece if it catches their interest.

Mistake #1: It is too commercial. Many reporters won’t give much thought to releases that use a product’s name in the headline; worse is to repeat it too often throughout the content. Spark their curiosity; don’t bang them over the head with hype.

Mistake #2: It is slugged with location and date. That instantly limits its appeal. If reporters find your release a few months later, they’ll likely presume that it is outdated. Likewise, a Los Angeles reporter who sees Minneapolis in the slug may not see the importance to her audience.

Mistake #3: It makes the reporter do all the work. A good press release helps reporters with their jobs by showing them how the information can be presented to their audiences. Establish an emotional connection between your product and the reader.

Mistake #4: It is confusing. Be courteous and spell out acronyms even in a trade release. Readers may be new to your industry. A release should also be as free of grammar and punctuation errors as possible. It should not be ambiguous (“Teacher strikes idle kids”). Anyone struggling to understand your meaning may click off your document.

Mistake #5: It is too clever. Wordplay can backfire. Clever headlines may not rank high in search engine results if they don’t understand the puns. Instead, consider how people will search for your product or service.

Mistake #6: It exceeds two pages. If you can’t tell the story in two pages, reporters may question whether you really understand its value.

Mistake #7: You depended on the release to do all the work. Instead of simply using wire services, firing off an email or messaging reporters on a social media platform, Media Relations still believes it’s essential to have one-on-one conversations with the media. Our publicists use our releases as just one tool to co-produce complete stories in the media on behalf of our clients.

When we write a press release, it is with the understanding that people buy on emotion and justify their purchases with facts. The Media Relations team (strategists, publicists, writers and graphic artists) provides the media and online audiences with complete stories. We control the angle. We connect with them by sharing how our clients’ products help to enhance their lives. Our clients’ messaging and value points become a natural part of these stories.

This approach helps reporters and producers envision why their audiences will care about our clients’ stories.

We love what we do, and we’re happy to share our advice with you. Contact us for a free press release assessment. We’ll review your release and show you how to give it more spark. Or if you’d like to discuss other content needs, call us at 952-697-5269 or use this form.

Written by Robin Miller

Robin will coordinate the writing for your newsletters, social media posts, website, blogs, newsletters and press releases. “I like interviewing clients and spokespeople, hearing their stories, getting to know their personalities and listening to how they phrase their thoughts,” she says. “It’s fun to transform what I’ve learned from those conversations into media-grade content.” Robin enjoys shaping content to ensure that the message will be clearly received. “When someone understands the relevance of what they’re writing and can position it properly for their audience, their work tends to be more convincing and on point. I’m fortunate to have a very diverse background, which gives me a good perspective whenever we bring on a new client.” An IABC- and Mercury-award winner, Robin says her practical experience in the health sciences has proven particularly beneficial as she interprets clients’ scientific information for mainstream media. “But it’s no longer sufficient to write well,” she cautions. “As marketers, we must now comply with the intricacies of digital marketing. That involves a whole set of rules, which are constantly evolving.”

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