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Why do most of your press releases fail?

By Lisa Goldsberry

17347130_s.jpgPR explains what you need for increased media coverage

Your company has quite a bit going on. As a result, you send out dozens of press releases announcing events, highlighting initiatives and touting all your good work – only to have them wind up in the trash basket of every journalist you sent them to. What gives?

Attracting earned media is crucial for visibility, reputation building and brand recognition. Press releases are an important component, but there are right and wrong ways to use them. With help from PR, you can learn why most press releases fail and the differences between a good press release and a great one.

What makes a great press release?

Every journalist is inundated with dozens of press releases each day – although most write only one story each day. In this set of circumstances, it is imperative that you find ways to make your press release stand out from the crowd.

  • A good press release contains details about your event or program.
  • A great press release serves to intrigue reporters and encourages them to find out more. In other words, there is real news that a reporter will want to craft a story around. The truth is that most press releases are little more than lengthy advertisements for your company or product, with an event or minor announcement thrown in for good measure. It may be big news for those who have a connection to your company, but not to the public as a whole, so it will not be covered. If your news does not have broad appeal, don’t waste the reporter’s time. Save the information for your company newsletter.
  • All good press releases have a headline.
  • A great press release has a strong, eye-catching and engaging headline. It should be accurate and give the reader a good idea of what will follow in the rest of the release. Think of it this way: You would never read (or even pick up) a book with a long, boring title.
  • Any good press release contains all the pertinent details.
  • Great press releases quickly get to the point with all relevant information at the beginning. Don’t make reporters trudge through unnecessary quotes from your CEO and complicated jargon designed to impress the geeks of your industry. Journalists will quickly toss this kind of release in the trash before even trying to decipher its purpose.
  • Good press releases are sent to every reporter, in the hopes that someone will read it.
  • A great press release is sent only to the reporters most likely to cover your news. With the throw-all-your-news-against-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks approach, you may get lucky once in a while, but this is not the way to manage a long-term, strategic communications program. Individual reporters cover specific topics, and news outlets feature only stories that will be of interest to their target audiences. That’s how they sell papers, increase readership and make money. When you can help them do that, your news will have a fighting chance of attracting their attention.
  • Good press releases can be written and distributed by anyone.
  • If you want a great press release, have a qualified PR professional who understands news and media write it. Having established connections with reporters and knowing what they want to see are the best ways to improve your earned media coverage. For instance, most reporters want to see real stories about real people in a quick, easy-to-digest format. It’s even better when you include accompanying graphics so they don’t have to search for them later.

At Axia Public Relations, we are media relations experts who know how to position your company, craft your messages and get results. Contact us today or download our  e-book, Learn Media Relations from the Media, for more information on how we will help you generate media coverage, build credibility and move to the top of your industry.

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Lisa-G-Color-SM.jpgLisa 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 at @axiapr.

Topics: public relations, news release, media

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