Every successful company understands the importance of a well-written press release as it plays a huge role in any effective communication strategy. However, despite its relevance, many companies struggle to curate the perfect press release as it can be rather difficult to create one that captivates and engages the audience. A poorly written or untimely announcement can have detrimental repercussions, forcing your company to regroup and do damage control. Therefore, to help you write an informative yet newsworthy press release, here are the common mistakes you need to avoid.
Having a Bland Headline
Nowadays, journalists wade through a plethora of press releases, and many of them get overlooked because their titles do not generate enough interest. The more eye-catching your press release, the better. A bland headline will not spark interest and will most likely have your copy pushed to the side. To capture the attention of journalists, you’ll need to captivate them with a newsworthy title. You’ll want to come up with a direct and concise headline that communicates your message in an effective yet engaging manner.
Not Including Visuals
Many press releases are blocks of plain text, which deters both journalists and readers alike. Without interesting and relevant visuals, your press release will just be a block of black and white text that journalists are unwilling to read.
If you want readers to stop and take notice, your PR needs to sizzle; this means you need to generate excitement and interest. The best way to ensure this is by including eye-catching visuals that can increase your chances of creating an engaging press release that your audience will want to read. Studies show that today’s market is all about visuals. With the fast pace of the media – specifically social media – we gravitate to visuals first, and that helps us determine whether or not the text included deserves our attention.
If you’re a rookie, the mere idea of writing a press release can make you quite anxious. This can lead to 2 things: either you won’t give yourself enough time to write well-thought-out content, or you will become overwhelmed and cram too much information, which will lead you to lose the audiences’ interest as a result. Avoid rushing the writing process as this will affect your sentence structure and make you more likely to leave out relevant information. You also don’t want to ramble on and confuse your audience. The information has to be relevant to the reader, so give yourself enough time to devise an outline and identify the message you want to convey and the clearest way to do so.
Press releases are the fundamental foundation of a successful PR strategy, which is why you ought to conduct quality research before writing it out. For this reason, experts recommend that you consider using a template to provide your readers with a perfectly-formatted press release. Taking a look at some samples will also give you a better idea of the optimal outline to follow to ensure success.
One Dimensional Formatting
Many people tend to write their press releases in a formal manner similar to that of newspapers. This type of stiff writing has no flow. A lack of fluidity in your sentence structure won’t generate the engaging vibe you need to cultivate excitement. Take a look at some of the most captivating public speakers and pay attention to their rhythms and sentence structure to learn how to intrigue audiences. You want to avoid redundant sentences but, on the other hand, you don’t want your sentences to be short and stiff, either.
Overuse of Links
It’s easy to get carried away with embedded links and forget what the initial goal of this press release is. Follow this golden rule moving forward: stick to 2 links maximum for the best effect. In the meantime, don’t forget the importance of keywords and SEO practices to ensure your writing is not only compelling but that also aligns with your audiences’ online search habits.
Of course, you will have goals you want to achieve and a vision you want to stick to, but a common mistake many people make is that they become so preoccupied with their vision that they create content that doesn’t resonate with the different audiences intend to target. It’s important to remember that it’s not a one-size-fits-all case. You will need to alter your copy for various audiences to resonate with journalists, editors, media publishers, and all the other readers you hope to reach out to. This means customizing your headline and leads accordingly. Some information that may seem relevant to you may not be relevant to a select few of your target audience.
Making it Too Promotional
As mentioned above, being preoccupied with your vision has its downsides. After all, a PR isn’t about patting yourself on the back; it is about resonating with your target audience, most notably, journalists. Avoid making your press release too promotional and instead, focus your attention on providing your readers with real value. Always ask yourself, “Is this news is relevant to readers?” “Does it coincide with what’s going on today?” Nothing that will put off journalists more and give you bad publicity than an untimely press release.
Relying Solely on Distribution Platforms
Back in the day, all you needed to rely on was distribution platforms. However, now there are a plethora of other methods to make use of. You need to be active on social media and keep in mind that it has a huge impact on what is deemed newsworthy and clickable. Therefore, you’ll need to optimize your online content by being informed on trends and popular interests, as this generates better results than traditional news articles. As such, include graphics, visuals, and images to increase your chances of being featured in various publications. It’s also a good idea for up-and-coming brands to cultivate relationships with a circle of journalists to expand their outreach and get their name out there.
Writing a press release may seem overwhelming, but once you understand what is relevant to your target audience, you’ll be able to create a press release that resonates with your readers. To generate and maintain the interest of your audience, you need to provide valuable content that’s suitable for today’s climate. Avoid making the aforementioned common mistakes, and use these tried-and-tested tips to write an engaging and captivating press release.