Press releases are a good way to get product coverage—there's no doubt about it. But if you don't pitch them correctly, you may as well not send them at all. Here are some other ways you could be sabotaging your PR efforts:
1. You send out too many press releases.
Let's face it, no matter how terrific your company is, you don't have something newsworthy every single day. Yes, I'm an advocate of the leaky faucet approach to PR—a method where you send out newsworthy press releases on a regular basis to eventually get coverage—but the key word is "newsworthy."
Save your press releases for when you truly have something great. Reporters will be more likely to take notice.
2. Your press releases are too long.
You might think bigger is better, but that isn't the case with press releases. Readers don't have time to sift through a four-page release to get to the details. They want quick and easy facts. Get to the point—fast.
3. You don't stay true to your word.
A good way to get solid coverage from a news outlet is to promise a reporter an exclusive. However, don't be tempted to let other reporters in on your little "secret." If you say it's "exclusive," keep it exclusive. Integrity is key.
4. You fail to return phone calls.
You know how you list your contact information at the end of a press release? You do this so reporters can contact you. If you put out a release, make sure you are available to give interviews. Reporters and bloggers won't keep calling you back about your story. They'll just move on to the next one.
5. You make outrageous claims.
A pitch or press release is not the time to hype up your company or product. You merely want to convey the news in the hope that someone will find it interesting enough to pass along to the public. If you make bold claims about your company or how magnificent the new product is, you can bet reporters will pass up your pitch. Stick to the facts.
What other mistakes have you seen PR pros make?
Mickie Kennedy is the CEO and founder of eReleases and blogs at PR Fuel, where a version of this article originally appeared.