5 common PR rookie press release blunders

OK, let’s not castigate newbies exclusively for these missteps—they’re the failings of many a seasoned pro as well. Worry not; these mistakes are easily remedied.

If you’re new to marketing your business and have heard that press releases are the bee’s knees, keep reading.

Newbies make several fatal mistakes that can cause you to wonder why anyone recommended publishing press releases in the first place. Not to worry; they’re all 100 percent remediable with the solutions I provide below:

1. Your headline isn’t interesting enough to get clicks.

For some reason, a lot of people think press release headlines should be stiff and robotic. Not so. People would rather get their teeth pulled without anesthetic than click on a snooze-worthy headline.

The cure: Ask yourself: Would I click on this headline? If not, why would anyone else?

2. You don’t have critical answers.

You have to answer five essential questions before publishing a press release. Knowing the who, what, when, where and why behind your press release can help you focus on writing it for your audience.

The cure: Be able to answer those questions for each and every press release you write.

Free download: 11 Essentials for a Stellar Online Newsroom

3. You have no goals.

Why are you writing a release? If you don’t have an answer, you’re wasting your time. Having goals will help you know how well you’re doing with each press release and pitch.

The cure: Decide what’s important to you. Number of reads? Clicks back to your site? Set objectives, and then measure results.

4. You don’t warm up before the pitch.

You think something significant is happening, so you look up journalists and immediately start pitching. Guess what kind of results you’re going to get. That’s right; not good ones. The PR pitch begins long before your news happens. Otherwise you look like someone who showed up to a party uninvited and started taking advantage of the free bar.

The cure: Identify the journalists who cover your industry and make contact with them now, not when you need them. Connect via social media. Comment on and share their articles. Once you’ve built a relationship with them, your pitch will be more successful.

5. You think, ‘the longer, the better.’

Another newbie gaffe is writing a tremendously long press release; nobody wants to read that. If journalists need additional information, they can ask you for it or visit your website.

The cure: Keep your press release to 300–400 words, including your boilerplate. Make your contact information prominent so people can easily find it to get more details.

Knowing these common mistakes may help you avoid them. If you do make them, use the cure to remedy the error.

A version of this article first appeared on Cision’s blog.

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Topics: PR

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