Are You Making These News Release Mistakes?

By: shannon3113
The circular file next to the reporter's desk: it's the last place you want to be when trying to get media coverage. But statistics show that almost 95% of news release never see the light of day.

If you want to get out of the trash heap and onto the reporter's radar, make sure you aren't making any of these PR mistakes:

1. Your press release reads like an advertisement. The media is in the news business. If you focus your release on how great your product or service is, it will surely be thrown away. Find newsworthy angles that tell as story.

2. The release is laced with jargon. Big words, acronyms, and words that have questionable meaning all spell "LOSER" in the eyes of a reporter. You need to remember the average reading grade level is 5 or 6 grade (which is what most publications use), so keep your writing to that level.

3. You've sent the release to the wrong person. Just sending a release to a media contact without knowing what topics they cover is just a waste. Also, don't send it to everyone in a newsroom. Do your homework.

4. Your release is in a nontraditional format, or with added 'stuff.' Put your release on letterhead or plain white paper. Don't use big envelopes, brightly colored paper or scented handwritten stationary. And don't include samples unless you're asked. When it comes to email, no attachments.

5. You've submitted your release during busy newsroom times. Reporters, like all of us, have deadlines each day. Know when they are and avoid any communication with journalist during that time.

6. The release contains grammatical and spelling errors. When you offer a release, you are offering a look at yourself. Do you want to convey sloppy or professional? Don't rely on spell checks and grammar checks for everything.

7. You forgot to put your contact details on the release. Even if you use company letterhead, put separate contact information on the release, including a name, phone number, and email address. A savvy publicist also includes after-hours contact details, because you never know when a reporter may call.
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