Earlier this week, I wrote a post titled Why Journalists Hate PR People. While I actually get along quite well with public-relations professionals, that article listed 10 ways that some of them annoy me and my fellow editors and reporters.
In order to help out the hundreds of PR reps who email us every day, I thought I’d write a follow-up post. So, here’s 13 ways your press release may be deficient—at least according to this journalist, who assigns stories to reporters and writes about news, technology, food, and other topics.
1. Your email subject line just says “Press Release”.
2. Your press release is attached as a Word or PDF document, but not pasted in the body of the email.
3. You haven’t included both a phone number and an email address for the main contacts.
4. You’ve only listed contact info for yourself, the PR agent, not the proposed interviewee.
5. You haven’t included a quote from your client for writers who don’t have the time or inclination to do an interview.
6. Your headline only makes sense to your client.
7. Your press release doesn’t fit on one or two printed pages.
8. Your press release doesn’t feature an “about” section, offering a few sentences describing your client, for writers who aren’t familiar with the organization.
9. Your press release is riddled with inaccuracies, poor grammar, and/or typos.
10. Your press release doesn’t contain links to high-resolution images of relevant people or products.
11. Your email comes with a useless, three-megabyte attachment of a company logo.
12. Your press release is for an event taking place in the next half-hour, or something that happened two weeks ago.
13. Your press release is only slightly different than the one you sent last week and the week before that.
Of course, some of these and other press-release deficiencies may be intentional. (Governments love to send out “bad news” on Fridays after 5 p.m., and companies often prefer to be vague about job losses.) In many cases, however, they’re just oversights.
That being said, I appreciate all the work that goes into press releases, and I look forward to receiving your next email.
Got any of your own gripes about press releases? Post a comment!