When written correctly, press releases can be essential and beneficial to a business. In the past, they have followed a traditional format. Since a press release is designed to help a journalist or influencer write a good story, you should do what you can to create a quality press release. In order to do this, you can either hire an in-house PR specialist or hire an external PR agency. If you choose to write your press release in-house, then you need to avoid making mistakes that will cost you valuable media coverage.
Common mistakes in public relations
1) Not tailoring your pitches effectively
Since media outlets get hundreds of pitches daily, sending a generic email pitch is the worst thing you can do for your brand. Journalists like to know that you have sought them out specifically because of their expertise in writing content in your niche. You cannot communicate this if you send a generic pitch. In addition to customizing each pitch to the journalist receiving it, you need to customize the story to match the style and expectations of each media outlet. The main goal is to tailor messages to try and convince journalists that this story is a good fit for their audiences.
2) Poorly written press releases
The next step would be to create a press release. You need to create one that is engaging and interesting. Besides writing well, you will also gain more traction if you can insert interesting information and attach background materials. After all, written content alone is not enough. This content should be enhanced by infographics, photos, videos, and links to other source materials. A great way to figure out whether the story will be picked up is to put yourself in the journalist’s shoes by asking what kind of message they would like to receive and whether yours would pique their interest.
3) Being vague about who the message is for
One of the most common mistakes is sending out the same email message to whatever media outlet is out there. Many brands do this without considering their interests and target audience. Spamming journalists without considering how relevant your story is to their audience will harm your company’s reputation. It will also annoy the journalist, and waste time that could have been used on something else. Tailoring your message to a specific journalist or media outlet takes time and effort. Nevertheless, it can positively impact your company’s visibility.
Media lists are important because they contain valuable information about target journalists and their contact information. Everything is in one place, thus making it easy for you to customize your messages. Finding the right journalists takes time which you could be using on product development. To make life easier, PR agencies like Pressfarm usually offer access to media databases that you can use. Pressfarm’s database can help you connect with over 1 million journalists and media outlets. You can filter through these contacts to find your perfect match.
If digging through a media database to find relevant contacts isn’t your thing, then you can take advantage of Pressfarm’s custom media lists. These lists are built to fit your specific niche and to help you meet your specific brand goals. With these media lists, you can connect with the best journalists in your industry.
4) Expecting too much from readers
You need to keep in mind that you are not the only person who wants to share news with the world. Your competitors share similar content every day, and people are not just sitting around waiting to hear this news. If the story does not get picked up by a journalist, there could be many possible reasons. For example, they may not have seen the email or they may not have had time to reply. Sometimes you don’t hear back because a journalist has read the same pitch over and over from different journalists, and they are just not interested anymore. If that is the case, then you should go back to the drawing board to figure out a different angle that will attract the journalist’s readers.
5) Not preparing for follow-up and going mute
Once a journalist decides to write a story about your company, they will most likely reply with a request for additional information. If you are not prepared to share the information they need to write their story, then you’ll be doing your brand a great disservice. After all, capturing media attention is just the first step. If you can’t follow through with sustained effort, then you’ll lose out on the chance of getting media coverage altogether. If you’re not prepared to follow up in a timely manner, any journalists who are curious will simply move on and completely forget about your company.
5) Forgetting about other methods of distribution
While journalists generally prefer beginning a relationship with a company through email, there are other effective ways of keeping in touch with a journalist. Since more and more people are on social media these days, you can also connect with journalists there. However, you need to go beyond merely following the journalist. Instead of just following them and liking their content, make a sustained effort to engage with them and initiate conversations about the content they share. After all, using less conventional forms of communication can give you a leg up when trying to reach your target audience.
Press release mistakes and how to avoid them
Press releases are a presentation of facts about a company. They present an opportunity for brands to reach their target audience through the media. Your press release can help you share news about anything from product launches to new appointments, events, innovations, and awards. A press release can help you create a memorable first impression of your brand. However, it’s also easy to make mistakes that damage your brand reputation.
Common mistakes on press releases include:
1) Ineffective title
The title of a press release is the first thing that a journalist will see; it will draw them into the rest of the content. Your title needs to be concise, enticing, and give a good overview of the story to get the needed attention.
2) Not providing enough information or giving too much information
A common mistake is assuming that journalists already know everything about you. Most likely, they have never heard about the company or know very little about it. For this reason, the press release must include all the necessary facts like where you are based, your company name, and the entire angle of the story. However, you need to achieve a balance between too little and too much information. After all, a journalist wants to get all the facts without having to read through the entire history of your business.
3) Too much self-promotion
While a press release is technically about the company, what matters more than the story you want to share is whether the target audience will connect with the message. A lot of it has to do with how your company, its products/services, and other news benefit them. While press releases should create a positive brand image, they are not advertisements.
4) Sole focus on driving traffic
It’s true that press releases are designed to drive traffic and boost Search Engine Optimization (SEO). However, there is more to a good release than that. Your press release should also focus on promoting transparency, growing brand awareness, and building audience engagement. If you’re only writing this press release to generate backlinks, you will end up with a low-quality result.
On the other hand, not optimizing a press release can also cost you. In addition to using press release distribution sites, you should also publish your press releases as a piece of content marketing on your owned media such as your website, blog, or social media.
Press releases are an essential part of any PR and marketing campaign. When used correctly, they can work wonders and help your brand to gain visibility and media attention. However, sometimes you can make costly mistakes without even realizing it. By understanding these common mistakes, you can figure out how to avoid them.