Are you writing for the wrong audience?

By Lisa Goldsberry

15332412_sGet maximum effect from your press releases by hiring a PR firm

All writing is not created equal. Even if you’re accustomed to writing articles for your newsletter, copy for your website or information for your annual report, it’s not the same as writing press releases for the media.

Many companies make the mistake of selecting any employee who can write to handle their press releases. Think of it this way: Even the country’s best-selling authors hire PR professionals to write their press releases and other promotional materials for them. It may be something you should consider, as well. 

Why do so many press releases fail?

Some journalists receive up to 100 pitches and press releases daily, even though they only write one article per day. This means your press releases must stand out and rise above the fray.

The top reason that most press releases are ineffective is poor writing. That’s not to say that the writing is always bad; sometimes it’s just written for the wrong audience. Some common mistakes include:

Using humor that falls flat: Journalists are only interested in the facts, like who, what, where, when and why. Attempts to impress them with a joke, pun or cute play on words may only serve to annoy them. If you’re not careful, it could even be offensive.

Unnecessary punctuation: Elements like excessive quotation marks and special characters have no place in a press release. Save the exclamation points for your advertisements.

Incorrect formatting: Journalists are accustomed to receiving information in a certain way. Since they receive so many press releases each day, a consistent format is essential for ease and speed of reading.

Sending information that just isn’t newsworthy: Of course you believe that every achievement or announcement from your company is interesting, but that doesn’t always translate to deserving of news coverage. Information that’s best suited for internal audiences but not the general public should appear only on your website or in your newsletter.

Too promotional: A press release should read more like a news story than an advertisement. It must include information such as what the main point is and who will benefit from the release of the news.

How to write for the media

The same copy that packs a punch for a room full of prospects won’t even secure a journalist’s glance. They expect clarity, objectivity and information that will be appropriate for their audiences.

There are tools and tactics you can use to make it more likely that a journalist will pay attention to your press release, which is one step closer to getting positive news coverage. For your next press release, you can try:

  • A great headline or subject line that concisely summarizes your information and encourages further reading

  • Some visuals or graphic elements, like photos, videos and infographics, that will help break up the text or add to your story

  • Ensuring that it’s written clearly and quickly gets to the point

  • Hiring a PR firm to manage your media relations for you

The right PR firm can craft your story and explain your news in a way that will capture media attention. At Axia, we use well-written press releases and other PR tools to help you generate earned media for increased brand recognition and profitability. Contact us today or download our free e-book Learn Media Relations from the Media to find out how we work to ensure that your company’s messages are accurately communicated to the media.



Lisa Goldsberry is a writer for Axia Public Relations with more than 15 years of public relations experience. She specializes in business, higher education and technology PR. Connect with Axia Public Relations on Twitter @axiapr.

New Call-to-action

Featured image credit: 123rf.com

Topics: Public Relations, Featured

Liked this blog post? Share it with others!