Why Media are Sending Your Press Release to the Trash Bin
I see it all of the time. A press release that reads like more of an informational brochure than an actual compelling news story; a boring corporate-type release that never quite says why the announcement is important. And, companies pay thousands to their PR agencies to push it out and hundreds of dollars to post said release on wire services just because “that’s the way it’s always been done”. In truth, few media will see it.
This kind of press release is everywhere and it hardly ever gets media pick up. For some reason it continues to be an accepted practice, mostly because an executive, who doesn’t understand PR, gets a kick out of it popping up on a major media site. The only reason that happens is because you paid to have it there through the wire service’s partnerships. It's not a true media "hit" but a re-posting of your press release.
Here’s the deal. Decades ago this approach was a perfectly acceptable approach to news releases, but today things have changed. Media don’t have time to read a press release or press kit and figure out the story. You have to tell them “Why”.
Even worse is when you email that press release directly to a journalist….it gets instantly trashed. I know this because media I work with tell me they do so. To them, you’re just clogging their email. And, by the way, spamming the media repeatedly with your press release, hoping they will see it, is a great way to get “blacklisted”. If you haven’t heard from them, it’s a good bet you have been, and will never hear from them. In fact, I just heard all of this from another major newspaper writer recently, so, I decided it’s high time I help "Save Your Press Release" (in my best Lost In Space voice).
It’s more than just putting the facts on paper.
If you want news, you have to CREATE and BE the NEWS! There's an easy secret that most companies miss:
If you want people to actually pay attention to your press release then you must write it like a compelling story, including facts and statistics that show WHY, and WHAT, your company is doing that is so important; WHY and HOW it will change people’s lives, and possibly the world. Don’t just tell them you’re partnering or merging with another company, launching a new product, opening a new location. Tell them “WHY” they, and their readers, should care about it.
Your WHY is not your benefits, but the WHY behind the benefits. Tell your story, don't sell it.
Look, media get hundreds of email pitches a day and some national journalists get thousands per day…..
Don’t be afraid to be different in order to stand out! But be smart about it.
The news business is cluttered with all kinds of noise from brands new and old, and you have to break through it with some creativity. Thanks to social media, we live in a world of compelling headlines yet few know how to write them. Take notice of what makes you click on shared content, and then take that to your business’ press releases and media pitches. And don’t forget that the Subject Line is the most important if you want someone to be curious enough to open the email!
Sometimes, the best way to run a business and achieve great, high ROI marketing is to step outside of it; look at it from the perspective of your customer, and then tell them WHY you should matter to them.
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