Advice to PR people – Part II

December 17, 2008

An effective press release is like a perfectly-formed circle. It flows, ends where it starts. Seamlessly.

Or, at least, that’s the theory.

Too few of the press releases I have seen during my time in the Newsrooms of British magazines and newspapers in the past have been relevant, consistent, punchy, and factual from start to finish: more importantly, they need to carry ONE strand of information, ONE central News item to be conveyed, and ONE main media message. Not several bundled into one!

PRs take note and pay attention to the requirements of your primary audience in media relations – the needs of a time-strained Editor juggling to keep the publication on track. It is NOT all about your Client.

Too many PRs send press releases – many of which I can classify from the 250 I receive daily – containing too much information, most of it useless and simple fluff, rather than one key newsworthy, value-adding News item.

At times, of course, many PRs forget to even include one newsworthy element in a press release. It’s just irrelevant.

A regular and significant mistake made by PRs when conducting media relations via press release format is to attempt to cram too much information into the copy. Don’t. Keep it simple. Give Editors one message only.

The Editors you are liasing with will appreciate it, will be able to understand and decide quickly whether they want to proceed your press release to publication, and ultimately, can make the newsworthy judgement call quickly.

Simple fact of press release survival, for me, is this – if you don’t add value to my readership, your press release is binned. And none of us want to see a potentially good story being dropped because of sloppy, ineffective, ill-advised PR activity.

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