Now we’ve got your attention, let us help you have the same impact with journalists. Check out our top 10 most-common mistakes we see here at Pressat, mistakes that can so easily be avoided!
A banal or confusing subject line
You never get a second chance to make a first impression – so make it count! Did you know that 90% of an advert rests on its headline? The same applies with a PR. If you want a journalist to take notice, you need to nail the subject line. Journalists delete most of the emails they receive without even reading them, so you need to make sure you catch their eye.
Why would I open a press release titled ‘BFN Solutions has just partnered with TSB Logistics to deliver an increase in benefits to customers’. It doesn’t sound like anything of interest. Make your subject lines catchy and interesting in 5–10 words. Journalists are humans like the rest of us, prone to be taken in by a hook. You wouldn’t start an advert like that; don’t do it here either.
A badly structured opening paragraph
If you’ve got your headline sorted but follow it up with a confused opening paragraph, journalists will be inclined to add it to their trash bin. Their time is short, so they want to process information quickly to assess whether they can use it. Make sure your opening paragraph is clear, easy to read and contains all the most important points about what’s in your press release.
Unnecessarily complicated text
We just mentioned that your opening paragraph needs to be clear, but of course this applies all the way through your press release too. Don’t use fancy words where none are needed. Don’t make sentences exceedingly long when they could be broken up. Where possible, do give them short soundbites that are easy to digest.
If your press release is longer than 1,000 words, something is seriously wrong!
A picture paints a thousand words, so send high-quality images, or no images at all. Ten 25MB high-res pictures paint more words than the journalist has time to bother with. Make journalists’ lives easy for them: two or three pictures that are high-res but saved for web should be all that’s needed. Just make sure the pictures you do send illustrate your point well and capture what you’re saying. They should look great too!
Don’t forget to provide captions telling who or what is in each picture.
Spelling or grammar mistakes and typos
Simply put, proofread what you send. We’re happy to make any changes to your press release once it’s been published, but we suggest you get a friend, a colleague or even our copy-proofing add-on to minimise any errors that will undoubtedly put off journalists.
No hook or story
Your press release doesn’t need to have all the drama of a Hollywood blockbuster (although that would be sweet), but it does need to appeal to core senses, as journalists want to write articles people will actually read. Make sure the hook triggers a key emotion – happy, surprised, afraid, disgusted, angry, sad – and it will reel the journalist in, as long as it’s accurate, that is!
No phone number!
It’s such a rookie error, but it’s done more times than you can imagine. If the journalist likes what they read, there’s every chance they may want to contact you to dig deeper into the story. They may even want to do much bigger coverage on you than you originally envisaged, but you’ll never know if you don’t give them an easy way to instantly talk to you, the human being.
Always make sure to include your number.
Delays in answering queries
So the journalist has contacted you – great! It means they’re interested, but they won’t be forever. They’ve got hundreds of other stories vying for their attention, so if you dilly-dally in replying, they may have found another fish to fry. Strike while the iron is hot and get back to them ASAP making sure to clearly answer any questions they may have.
Not scoping out the publication
Vegan Weekly will not be interested in a press release on the new steakhouse you’ve just opened. Make sure you do your research to ensure that the publications you’re approaching write stories about the types of thing in your press release, otherwise it’s just a big fat waste of your time and theirs.
So when creating your campaign on Pressat, remember to select only the relevant categories, choose only the related add-on circuits and, if required, make our editors aware of any story-specific ideas or constraints.
Out of office
You wouldn’t believe the number of people who ‘leave the office’ seconds after sending out a press release. Please stick around to answer any urgent questions a journalist may have, or, if you really do have to get to the doctor, barber, dentist or whatever, leave the details of a colleague.