We are so sure this product will interest you – How not to write press releases part 2

“That’s our press release, when are you going to publish it?”. “Hi, we want you to write about our product, and it has to be done tomorrow”. “We have come up with this idea in 2007, Mike was still with us, but we decided to do it without him”. Let’s take a look at more mistakes in writing press releases and approaching media.

 

Last week I wrote my first post about common mistakes concerning press releases. Today I would love to share with you some real-life examples of utter PR sins.

 

Mistake nr 2: Awesome is my second name

 

Self-confidence is good, especially in business. But I think there is a thin line between being self-confident and arrogant. It reveals itself not only in the actual press release but also in e-mails, or over the phone. It’s a bit about the tone of writing, but mostly about attitude. If your text is aggressive and narcissistic, media gatekeeper and the editor would most probably say “Ok, that’s too much”. Even if the product you are trying to impress with is fabulous, the risk of rejection is pretty high in case you write “We are 100% sure our product will dazzle you”. Your reader might have a different approach or be very sensitive to a situation when someone is trying to force her or him to have certain reactions.

 

This kind of behavior is super annoying when it happens over the phone – “Hi, I just e-mailed you a minute ago… What do you mean you haven’t read it yet?! … I think you don’t realize what impact will it have on your readers…” You can imagine how furious that person would be when you hang up. This professional will open your e-mail and attached press release and read it with a genuine hatred. Even if it lands in the editor’s inbox, it will be marked with a “rude as hell, they just crossed a line with me” note.

 

It would be absolutely different if:

  • an e-mail was friendly
  • You were friendly over the phone
  • attached text revealed real value for readers – and without vanity 

 

Mistake nr 3: You will publish it when and how I tell you

 

That is probably the fastest and most effective way to unleash hell – to tell the editor what, when and how to do. The editor doesn’t have the obligation to serve you and obey you. That is the person who is taking the shots. If the press material is engaging and vivid, the editor would say something like – “Ok, nice one, I will get X to write about it, ask them few more questions, we might do it… let’s see… next Thursday”. But only if you try to be superior to the editor and make an attempt to force her or him to do anything, the editor can become your die-hard enemy, and that means trouble.

 

So instead of something like this “That’s our press release, when are you going to publish it?” or “Our CEO is waiting for your journalist to call and make a long interview, it has to happen now, otherwise you won’t talk to you at all”, or “This is what’s going to happen, you will publish it tomorrow at 8 AM, then you have to start posting on Facebook and Twitter”, you need to find a different key to open this door.

 

Let them remember you for:

  • Amazing product or story that will be awesome itself
  • Descriptive, easy to follow, and engaging text
  • Being a confident, modest, respectful, and positive professional

 

That’s it for today, next week I will take a look at jargon in press releases.

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