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10 Common mistakes that kill press releases.

There are a few things that you can do to a press release that will kill it stone dead, here are the 10 that we try to avoid at all costs.

10 Common mistakes that kill press releases. 

If you're sending out news about your organisation then any journalist or editor is going to expect it to have been produced in a manner, and to a standard, that will interest, advise and inform both them and their readers. If you can avoid making any of the mistakes below, there’s a good chance your release will hit the sweet spot and win some coverage. 

  1. Don't sell - this is a news release, it's information for the readers of the news channel, so keep it factual and informative. If your release seems to be selling the product, service or your organisation then it's unlikely to gain coverage, an editor will probably point you in the direction of their advertising sales team and spike the story.

  2. Don't use hyperbole - no matter how enthusiastic you are about your product, keep it factual and strip out the intensifiers. If you don't an editor will. If it’s the least bit of trouble, they’ll spike the release entirely.

  3. Don't send copy ridden with typos - there's really no excuse to send a release with spelling errors or incorrect grammar. Run a spell checker through the release but also check it manually, a spell checker won't spot an incorrectly placed word that is spelled correctly. Reading the whole thing aloud is a great way to quickly uncover crooked grammar, run-on sentences and dodgy punctuation.

  4. Don't forget to structure your release correctly - editors are used to receiving news releases that are structured in a way that they are familiar with, it allows them to read and edit them quickly and easily. The will edit from the bottom upwards so make sure all the key info is in the first paragraph (structure is a topic we will return to in another blog)

  5. Don't forget to include contacts - if you are offering interviews, provide contact details and times to contact. If not, provide all of your contact details in case the editor has questions raised by the release. Give them as many ways to contact you as possible, different channels work for different people.

  6. Don't forget a good photograph or three - so many releases fail for the lack of a good photograph. We discuss what makes a good press shot in this blog click here, and if possible offer a choice of great images. If a news channel uses your story, it may get additional coverage if a second channel can show a different image.

  7. Don't forget to tell them who is in the photograph - if you are sending an image of a person or people, don't forget to tell the editor who is in the picture, their role and their relationship to the story, you can even provide a suggested caption. If there is more that one don't forget to give the editor a hand in placing them : (l-r) (front row) (seated) etc.

  8. Don't call the editor to check they have received it - there are few things more likely to annoy an editor than being asked if they have received a release and if they are going to use it. If the release was correctly written, sent to the right media and was pertinent to their readers it should receive coverage.

  9. Don't forget the five wise men - who, what, why when and where. You should have all of these in the first paragraph, although you can expand upon them later in the release. They must lead the story so an editor can identify its significance straight away. 

  10. Don't send your news to the entire world - not every release is suitable for every media outlet, take your time to research which stories are likely to appeal to the readers of each outlet. This will increase your hit rate and ensure you get a reputation amongst editors for providing relevant news.

We hope that this has helped you avoid some of the common mistakes that prevent you becoming the favourite of the editorial teams, and if you need an hand with any of the above, we would be delighted to help.

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