When writing a press release, we are all aware of the main rules to which we must adhere to gain coverage, however it’s often difficult to spot a PR no-no especially when you’re new to the media scene.
That is why here at MediaHQ, we have outlined five main mistakes people often make which we urge you to avoid on your quest towards making the news. Trust us, they will not do you, your campaign or the journalists you’re contacting any favours whatsoever.
Untailored pitches are an easily avoided pitfall PR people tend to find themselves in. Just like blanket campaigns, distributing generic, unspecified pitches won’t offer you or your company anything helpful. Being specific in your pursuits is a crucial aspect of PR when looking to get any kind of media coverage. In order to maintain a positive image in the media, your content has to be relevant to each individual journalist receiving it, otherwise your efforts have been a waste of time.
Keeping your media lists small and up to date is just one tactic you can employ to avoid releasing content to uninterested journalists. Quality must always come before quantity in the world of PR. You are far better off sending your press release on say the refugee crisis to 40 social issues and foreign affairs correspondents who may actually interested in what you have to offer than an unorganised list of 200 journalists, many of which are more than likely out of date or uninterested in your topic of content.
The last thing a journalist wants to see opening their inbox on a Monday morning is a press release that is not newsworthy. Unfortunately, this happens on a daily basis and is one of the main reasons most press releases are not picked up. Releasing irrelevant content is one definite way to diminish your chances of making the news. As we all know, the news we read and watch everyday is, of course, newsworthy. Therefore, when a journalist receives hundreds of press releases each day, they will only pick up the ones that seem this way. Your role in this charade is to provide them with engaging content on a topic that perhaps has not been covered before, which you then offer to shed some light on. When contacting a journalist you must have these good intentions with content relevant and beneficial to them.
As well as keeping your news relevant to the current day, your content must prove engaging to the reader. Since you’re likely going to be picked up by a journalist scanning their inbox, your heading must be eye-catching as well as short and snappy. Something different, something intriguing is what journalists look for, not your everyday press release. Creativity is one specific attribute a lot of PR people lack. Consequently, working and engaging with your creative side will help you spice up your press release to grab the attention of those who matter. Taking the creative leap, saying yes to inventive endeavours, these are all things that will make you the best thing since sliced bread in the world of public relations.
One sure-fire way to kill any chance you have of making the news is filling your press release with verbose, long-winded points. Being concise and succinct in each paragraph is a more effective means of getting your point across to the journalist in a comprehensive and professional style. A press release containing a mountain of information splashed all over the page in a disordered manner will not only turn the journalist off, but they may remember for the future not to interact with you or your campaign.
Everything done in PR reflects back on you and your work. Posing clear points in each paragraph and outlining their reasoning is much more likely to impress a journalist and receive media coverage than a jumbled mess of a press release. Along with this, concise writing will help you gain a better reputation for yourself, show off your range of skills and forge good relations with journalists who specialise in your concentrated area.
Lack of awareness
Being aware of both the media and the audience to whom you’re pitching is just as important as the above points. One of the fundamentals of PR is having a story, knowing how to tell it and who to tell it to. Having a great story is not your golden ticket towards media coverage, understanding how to tell it and who to pitch it to are of equal importance. Finding that area of common interest between you and those you are pitching to will give you a chance to make a good impression, which can often prove to be the life or death of your news-making chances.
Did you find the above mistakes helpful in guiding you in the right direction with your PR? Would you like to learn more about the services we have to offer? Click here or call Gaye on (01) 2541845 for more information on MediaHQ.