And what are the 5 biggest mistakes you should avoid when sending out a press release?
Do editors even read your press release?
Recently, a good friend of mine, who is working as an editor for an important prime time daily television show here in the Netherlands, told me that only 3 or 4 times a year, a topic in the show is based on a press release. That is not even 1%! All the other topics were based either on their own research, or on personal contact. Since I am one of the people sending those releases, I started wondering if they still have any effect at all. So I questioned some friends and relations working for television, radio and newspaper. Long story short: keep sending your press releases, but make a call if you want to make sure your story gets attention. Be aware that some journalists do not like it when you call after sending a press release. So call your 10 most important contacts before sending out a press release, with a personal email ready in your drafts. The reason it is still useful to send out a press release, is because for just a brief moment, journalists are reminded of your existence. Most of the people I interviewed scan every release they receive.
The 5 biggest mistakes you can make
What are the 5 things you can do wrong that will make sure your news ends up in trash:
- Sending press release as an attachment. Attachments will not be opened or read. All the information necessary must be included in the e-mail itself.
- Writing a long elaborate text. Think about the receiver of your message! They would really like to be able to read your text as fast as possible, because there are another 100 messages in their inbox.
- No news. This was the actual feedback I got several times. We marketeers and PR pro’s like to “make up” news, it’s common practice. But be careful to whom you are sending a message about, for example, your 100.000th visitor. This was referred to as No News, and therefore it is seen as spam.
- Stalking. Sending more than 2 press releases in one week, is already considered stalking. Try to spread your news.
- Not using a proper lay-out. Make your text easy to read by choosing a good lay-out. Make the important parts bold, maybe even use some colour or a picture, but not too much. Keep thinking about your audience, and the 50 other press releases they have to read the same morning.