How NOT To Write A Press Release

29 replies
I am amazed at the way people write a press release. I discovered a new free press release site, and it seems they will accept anything.

The problem is, if you don't know how to write a press release correctly, and you find 1 site which accepts it, don't assume that proper press release sites will accept it.

We first discovered this when someone contacted us to write their press release. They had been told to write an ad, and guess what happened. None of the decent sites accepted it. We wrote the press release and it was accepted.

Press Releases are not classified ads.

You don't write a press release in the 1st person.

Press Releases are always written in the 3rd person.

Just because there is at least 1 site which allows anything, you should get into the habit of writing a press release correctly. When you do, you will find that many papers will pick it up and the traffic you get will be amazing.
#press #release #write
  • Profile picture of the author J. Barry Mandel
    Exactly Bev.

    Writing a press release takes skill, but you need to know the "rules" for which to write it

    The same thing goes for offline press release submissions. Just because you email it out or send it off via fax to your local newspaper does not mean the editor won't just throw it right into the trash.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[944450].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author indigo
    Another important point is press release structure. The press release content structure should be "sorted" by importance:
    HEADLINE
    SUMMARY
    VERY IMPORTANT
    IMPORTANT
    LESS IMPORTANT
    :..

    Editors usually trim PRs for publishing in news feeds or compilations. So if the most essential and important info is in the top then it will remain even in a trimmed version.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[944458].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Zemalf
    Thanks fellows! Great simple tips for a press-release-newbie like me. I haven't done any press releases yet but I have plans on writing them in the future.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[944644].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Jillian Slack
      Excellent advice, Bev!

      It's vital to understand that a press release is not an ad. If it sounds like an ad, it will get tossed.

      Another important thing to remember is not to use those awful, made-up quotes that are so stiff and formal. You know the ones I'm talking about. You read them and think, "Sheesh! Nobody speaks like this in normal, everyday conversation."
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[945102].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Cerberus
    This just confirms to me the need to outsource. I tried to write my own PR but they all failed terribly.

    I don't use PR much but I always hire a writer who is experienced to write them for me. Well worth the money.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[945356].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Shaka
    Great advice, thank you for the press release insights.
    Signature

    Every new day is a gift.

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[945371].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author 123rlp
    Thanks Bev great info. Could some one please give a example of wrighting in the 3rd person.I would love to learn more of the ins and outs of a good press release.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[945388].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Nigel Greaves
      Originally Posted by 123rlp View Post

      Thanks Bev great info. Could some one please give a example of wrighting in the 3rd person.I would love to learn more of the ins and outs of a good press release.
      You might want to check out Dana Wilhoit's Free WSO from a few months ago to help you write your press releases.

      Nigel
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[945877].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Sylvia Meier
      Great tips Bev. I just started using press releases and they kick some serious butt done right. It has taken me some work to talk third person, but it is more than worth it. One release I wrote for a client got picked up on 1k + sites in around 72 hours, just hoping all the ones I do for myself get half that.

      Originally Posted by 123rlp View Post

      Thanks Bev great info. Could some one please give a example of wrighting in the 3rd person.I would love to learn more of the ins and outs of a good press release.
      Here's one I wrote for me and Vince that show's third person...
      Young Mom Uses Barter To Escape Recession | PressReleasePoint

      It's not the best but it should show you the whole 3rd person idea.

      Best wishes,
      Sylvia
      Signature
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[952146].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Mo Goulet
    Originally Posted by veenaf1611 View Post

    Every time I sit me down to write a press release...

    I back off!!!

    I just can't do it.

    Can someone help me?

    Regards

    veena
    Veena, I just finished one which I will release on Tuesday/

    You can see it and save it by going to www.smokintimes.com/press.pdf

    I follow Blair Warren's philosophy

    People will follow you anywhere, to the extent you...

    Encourage their dreams,

    Justify their failures,

    Allay their fears,

    Confirm their suspicions,

    * (And help them...)

    Throw rocks @ their enemies

    Being in the tobacco industry gives me the opportunity to really have fun with this.

    Any comments by readers are warmly welcomed
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[945515].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author The Copy Nazi
      Banned
      Originally Posted by proapc View Post

      Veena, I just finished one which I will release on Tuesday/

      You can see it and save it by going to www.smokintimes.com/press.pdf

      I follow Blair Warren's philosophy

      People will follow you anywhere, to the extent you...

      Encourage their dreams,

      Justify their failures,

      Allay their fears,

      Confirm their suspicions,

      * (And help them...)

      Throw rocks @ their enemies

      Being in the tobacco industry gives me the opportunity to really have fun with this.

      Any comments by readers are warmly welcomed
      Terrible Press Release. You don't tell us the most important part - what exactly is your product? Yes I know it's a "Fire-cured tobacco inhaler" but what does that mean? How does it work? What are the real benefits? - and I don't buy the "relaxed and refreshed" answer.
      Going to your awful-looking site doesn't give any answers either. The speaking avatar YouTube clip is just plain dreadful. And it's "testimonial" not "testamonial".
      If this PR floated across my news desk I would pass on it - with the comment "Rinky dink".
      The most interesting part is the giving out of sample cigarettes on airplanes. And the footage showing people smoking on planes. That's your hook. "It's incredible to think that back in the day it was perfectly OK to smoke on a plane. In fact it was downright encouraged. Mickey Mouse Airlines, for instance, used to pass out sample packs of Marlboro to all its passengers. And you were free to smoke them onboard. Can you imagine that happening today?
      Smoking has been banned on aircraft for the last 25 years. While stress and tension levels associated with flying have increased....blah blah blah"
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[945628].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Palitra
    Banned
    [DELETED]
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[945529].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author AndrewCavanagh
      I think it's also important to note that online press releases are different to offline press releases.

      With an online press release you're usually designing it to drive traffic to your website so you need to think through a strategy that will do that.

      Offline press releases are written to get actual coverage in the media like newspapers, radio and television (you literally send the press release to those media outlets.)

      Having done both I can tell you it's very rare that you get regular offline media coverage from an online press release.

      You can write a press release on any news worthy topic.

      And they can be lucrative if you get your strategy right.

      I've had quite a few online press releases get 40,000+ views. But only the ones where I used an effective strategy to move those readers to my website actually made me substantial profits.

      Kindest regards,
      Andrew Cavanagh
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[945559].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author VegasVince
      Right on as usual, Bevvers!

      Beyond just the correct form....you'se peeps also need to realize that a press release MUST be news worthy!

      A great press release needs a "hook."

      One of the best and most effective ways of doing that....is to tie (spin) your business, product, or service... into the current hot news of the day.

      It's a lot easier to do then you think....and it will dramatically increase your chances of success.

      The media does NOT care about you....or your widget business...they ONLY CARE about THEIR AUDIENCE..and your release must speak to them...and provide interest or benefits to their peeps.

      So keep that in mind next time you decide to write a selfish ME centered press release...like so many do.

      Even in perfect form...those usually end up filed in the great Cyber Space land fill.



      xxx Vegas Vince
      Legend.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[945561].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Mo Goulet
    Metronicity.

    Thanks for the feedback...

    I'll work on it today
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[946825].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Bev Clement
    A bad press release which was accepted at a free press release site.

    June 11, 2009 -- Get maximum discount at hostgator by using this hostgator reseler coupon code.
    Coupon code available at

    name of site removed

    That is not how to write a press release.

    Also, writing a press release as an article also isn't the way to write them.

    When talking in the 3rd person, imagine if you were interviewing someone and how you would write what they said.

    Give a quote from them and say who is the person is.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[946938].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Gabe77
    Thanks for the tips guys. I want to learn how to write PR as well. Just don't know where to start.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[946980].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author marciayudkin
    I am amazed at the way people write a press release. I discovered a new free press release site, and it seems they will accept anything.

    The problem is, if you don't know how to write a press release correctly, and you find 1 site which accepts it, don't assume that proper press release sites will accept it.
    What you want to happen when you post a release at a press release site is at least the following:

    1)It gets picked up by Google News, Yahoo News and other news sites.

    2)It sends traffic to your site from a highly ranked and credible web site.

    3)Other people who are opinion leaders who monitor press releases or search them read the release and some of these go to your site.

    4)Bloggers find your release interesting and write about it.

    If you post a press release that is written as if it's an ad, then none of the above will happen. Google actually has strict criteria for what gets into Google News. If there is no editorial review, that web site will sooner or later not get into Google News, will not have the rank you want, your release will not be read by opinion leaders or bloggers... so what's the good of it?

    In that case, you might as well have posted the release on your best friend's blog for all the good it did you!

    Marcia Yudkin
    Signature
    Check out Marcia Yudkin's No-Hype Marketing Academy for courses on copywriting, publicity, infomarketing, marketing plans, naming, and branding - not to mention the popular "Marketing for Introverts" course.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[947061].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Mo Goulet
    I rewrote my press release and if you have an opportunity, please take a look and let me know what you think. I'll work on the Video part tomorrow...Does anyone have any suggestions about a live walk on actor to do the Audio portion of the video?

    Mo

    Press Release www.SmokinTimes.com/press.pdf
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[947260].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author braver55b
      Good stuff Bev,


      You're really right about that especially the part about writing in the third person and it needs to be newsworthy and not be too "salesy"
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[947320].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author marciayudkin
      Originally Posted by proapc View Post

      Mo,

      Not sure if you know this or not. Reporters HATE to see press releases in PDF format. So I'm not sure what you're planning to do with this, but you'll have to distribute it as text plus pictures.

      All pictures will need informative captions, too.

      Good luck,
      Marcia Yudkin
      Signature
      Check out Marcia Yudkin's No-Hype Marketing Academy for courses on copywriting, publicity, infomarketing, marketing plans, naming, and branding - not to mention the popular "Marketing for Introverts" course.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[947378].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author Mo Goulet
        Originally Posted by marciayudkin View Post

        Mo,

        Not sure if you know this or not. Reporters HATE to see press releases in PDF format. So I'm not sure what you're planning to do with this, but you'll have to distribute it as text plus pictures.

        All pictures will need informative captions, too.

        Good luck,
        Marcia Yudkin
        I'm not sure I understand what you mean here...

        Are you referring to PR's that are submitted through agencies like PRWeb or are you referring to another distribution method?
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[950987].message }}
        • Profile picture of the author Sylvia Meier
          Originally Posted by proapc View Post

          I'm not sure I understand what you mean here...

          Are you referring to PR's that are submitted through agencies like PRWeb or are you referring to another distribution method?
          Usually they have to be in txt form not PDF, not many sites will accept them in PDF format.

          Hope that helps,

          Sylvia
          Signature
          {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[952149].message }}
          • Profile picture of the author marciayudkin
            Are you referring to PR's that are submitted through agencies like PRWeb or are you referring to another distribution method?
            Whatever third-party distribution method you choose, they do not accept PDFs, and if you distribute or post a press release yourself, you are shooting yourself in the foot to do so as a PDF.

            Marcia Yudkin
            Signature
            Check out Marcia Yudkin's No-Hype Marketing Academy for courses on copywriting, publicity, infomarketing, marketing plans, naming, and branding - not to mention the popular "Marketing for Introverts" course.
            {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[952993].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Jillian Slack
      Originally Posted by proapc View Post

      I rewrote my press release and if you have an opportunity, please take a look and let me know what you think. I'll work on the Video part tomorrow...Does anyone have any suggestions about a live walk on actor to do the Audio portion of the video?

      Mo

      Press Release www.SmokinTimes.com/press.pdf

      Mo,

      Just a few things to think about:

      Most of your information in the press release is inside quotes. These quotes don't sound like quotes. Quotes need to sound like someone actually said them in conversation. Plus it's just too long. If you're going to have some FACTS about this product (which the press release is sorely lacking), state the facts without putting everything in quotes.

      The president of SmokeScents stated that "Until..."
      You haven't even identified who the president of this company is, yet he is being quoted. Introduce him to the reader by using his name and title the first time he appears.

      Random capitalization and use of the ampersand throughout the document. This distracts the reader and lets the reader know that you didn't give it one last look before you sent it off. If you didn't check something as basic as spelling, formatting, etc., did you neglect checking the facts?

      There is no hook.

      I still have no idea what this product is or why it might be newsworthy. It still reads very much like an ad.

      The only spot that comes close to being newsworthy is when you mention that there was an annual meeting in Las Vegas, but then this thought is forgotten.

      You mentioned the stress of travel and how this gadget reduces that stress. If you're going to mention something like this, include some facts. If this gadget really has been proven to reduce stress, this might be what makes it newsworthy.

      What does "completion of their trademarked Urban Travel Companion" mean? How do you complete the trademark? Has all of the paperwork for the trademark been completed? People do that every day. Has the prototype been completed? Is it now in production?

      Dr. Paul Vernon, MD
      First of all, it is never correct to use both "Dr." and "M.D." Choose one and go with it. The way it reads now, you are calling this guy "Dr. Doctor." Refer to him either as

      Dr. Paul Vernon

      or

      Paul Vernon, M.D.

      Not both. One or the other.

      Who is this doctor and why is his opinion important to this press release? Is he the president of the company (the one that wasn't identified in a previous paragraph)? If so, there is no way for the reader to know this.

      I think you need to decide the one most important thing that you want to express in this press release and then whittle everything else away. Right now, it isn't clear, especially when reading your headline:

      Former 3-PACK A Day Smoking Doctor Creates A Legal To Use Anywhere Fire Cured Tobacco Inhaler For Smokers.
      I don't even know where to take a breath when I read this.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[947434].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author dsmpublishing
    Here is a link to a press release tutorial for anyone having problems:

    free press release tutorial set up your make money online PR campaign

    kind regards


    sam
    X
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[947642].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Mo Goulet
    Thank you for everyone who has shared their insight.

    The release looks a whole lot different than what it started out and you guys probably saved me $380.

    I'll wait till tomorrow evening to decide whether to release it for tuesday based of the feedback I receive here. I'm taking online workshops with PRWeb that have also really helped.

    I redid the video also and got rid of the computer voice.

    Thanks again...looking forward to more comments...you guys are BRUTAL

    Mo

    www.SmokinTimes.com/press.pdf

    PS: And I thought I was just trying to help another warrior and I got the best of it..
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[948378].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author valerieSONORA
    Signature

    siggy taking a break...

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[948627].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author MikeGriffith
    You're right Bev. The most important aspect of a good press release is that it is newsworthy. It must appeal to a broad segment of the local or national population. And that's what press release "writers" fail to grasp.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[953149].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author marciayudkin
      It must appeal to a broad segment of the local or national population.
      I'm sorry, but that is completely wrong.

      This totally depends on what business you are in. If you have a product that's used by medical staff in nursing homes (one of my clients), you design the press release so it will be credible to that very narrow professional group, and to the magazines that serve that niche. If you have a product that's used by parents of triplets, your press release needs to be of interest to that relatively small population as well as the businesses that serve them.

      Marcia Yudkin
      Signature
      Check out Marcia Yudkin's No-Hype Marketing Academy for courses on copywriting, publicity, infomarketing, marketing plans, naming, and branding - not to mention the popular "Marketing for Introverts" course.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[953190].message }}

Trending Topics