Saturday, December 17, 2011

Fed up with your press releases never being used?

Author: Barney Thom

Are you fed up of your press releases never being used?

Whether it's a new great event coming up, or band or artist that you are trying to promote – it's always a struggle to write content that will grab the editor's attention enough to use.

Well you could make a change for the better, and enrol on a PR course!

Below is just a taster of the sort of thing you'll learn, once enrolled on a PR course.

Select your subject

Make a rule not to send releases out for the sake of it – only send them when your client has something to say. There is nothing worse than organisations that pump out releases like a machine gun – news editors end up binning them all … the good with the bad.

  • Ask yourself: what am I trying to achieve with this release? Write it down in one sentence. If you can't decide, then don't go any further until you can. A press release without a purpose has little, if any, value.
  • But DON'T limit yourself to the obvious subjects. News Editors expect every press release to be a plug for your company. So be more subtle. Look for –
  • Employee activities – sports, charity, achievement.
  • Employee successes – long service; special achievement; someone who has won an award.
  • New recruits – unusual backgrounds or stories?
  • People leaving – is there a story to tell?
  • Staff who went out of their way to help a reader / client.
  • Human stories – the blind girl who can now use the internet because of your client's software.
  • Company successes – sales, profits, new contracts.
  • Events.
  • New company initiatives – production methods etc.

These will help raise your client's media profile – without being too blatant about it. And you can slip in your client's key messages more subtly, along the way.

You will soon discover that many of your clients will not like this approach. They want the release to be ABOUT THEM. FULL STOP. The chairman wants his name in the intro, and the vice president thinks that he should be in the second par. Then a meeting of a corporate communications department decides that the product's name and serial number must be in the second par, too.

The result? The release is written for their benefit, rather than the recipient's (ie the journalist's) – and the chairman, vice president and the corporate communications department will later moan at you because their press release was not used!

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About the Author

Barney Thom

CTJT Creative Director