10 Common Mistakes in Writing Press Releases
Knowing how to write a press release also means that you know what not to write. Many people think that writing press releases is a no-frills task. That’s where they’re wrong. There are common mistakes in writing press releases that every writer should know (and avoid). Don’t let yourself fall into the trap of thinking that any press release article will do. Press releases rely heavily on strict content that you can use for businesses. Here, we present the 10 most common mistakes that people commit when they write press releases.
1. The title is boring, or is unrelated to the content
The title is the first thing that will catch the attention of the reader. Therefore, your title is as relevant as the content. I will go as far as saying that your content will never be read if your title is not catchy. People that know how to write a press release also know that you shouldn’t use clichés too much in your title. This is because they are commonly heard and do not sound interesting anymore. If you decide to use any puns, make sure that the puns that you will use are witty.
2. You write in the first person
Pick up a newspaper on any given day and you will see that the articles are always written in the third person. The same goes for press releases. Never us the phrase “I discovered that Martians live in Mars,” but instead write, “It was discovered that there are Martians in Mars.” Writing in the third person is much like writing academic articles. They require a strict style of writing that is formal, but not too stiff. It should be as informative and concise as possible so that you press release will garner respect for readers.
3. You don’t say enough
A common mistake of those that do not know how to write a press release is that they assume that the reader know everything pertinent about them. Well, they don’t and you have to make sure you add the proper information in the first few paragraphs of your press release. State your company name, address, your title, along with contact information. Journalists and reporters are busy people, and if they have to look up the information about your company before they publish your story, you will become more a bother than a help.
4. You’re missing a comma
Proper punctuation is essential for your press release to be published. Journalists wouldn’t want to correct your punctuation mistakes for you, so make sure that you submit copies that are ready for publishing. This also works for you since you will solidify your reputation as a source of press releases and they will want to publish your future press releases too.
5. You lifted your copy
We’re not just talking about the obvious no-no of plagiarism, but of lifting content from your own website. Not only will these be likely written in the first person, but they are usually internal documents and not fit for publication. You should look at how to write a press release so that you can create your own copy from scratch. The tone of newspaper articles is completely different from that used on most websites, so make sure you look out for this.
6. Not making the most of quotes
Using quotes from experts on the subject matter will increase your press release’s credibility greatly. However, you have to use your quotes wisely. Don’t just place it anywhere on the article. Make sure that you use pertinent, supporting points for every quote that you use. This will make it more relevant to the topic. Quotes are not something that journalists should change or delete, so make the most of it.
7. YOU USE CAPS TOO MUCH
Some people have the tendency to capitalize all the letters of their company name to add emphasis. Believe me, your company name will be obvious without over-capitalization. Additionally, editors and journalists will have to read over your press release again and change your caps to lower case letters. Knowing how to write a press release means knowing how to put emphasis through writing and not through loud capitals that will not serve their purpose anyway. Words in all caps is like SHOUTING.
8. It’s too short
If you think being concise means that you have to make your press release as short as possible, then you are wrong. Your press release should never be lacking in information or else journalists will have to look up the information themselves if it is at all available. Never forget to satisfy the who, what, when, where, how and why of your article.
9. You advertise
Press releases are press releases. As such, they can be promotional but should never be an advertisement. If your copy screams “please buy from us today” then it won’t be so credible. Have you given a well-rounded view of your product? Is it even worthy of a press release? Be balanced in promoting, but don’t advertise.
10. You don’t just advertise, you scream
Don’t scatter exclamation marks throughout your press release. It will sound too much like an advertisement and will end up in the spam folder. You also want to avoid using too much adjectives because it will read like an advertisement, and you are writing a press release, not an advertisement. So, while you want to tell the world that your company has just found a cure for HIV and that all doctors should buy the vaccine from you, you have to give information, not demand sales of your product.
These are the common mistakes that people who don’t know how to write a press release make. You would do well to avoid them so that you can write a press release that is worthy of being published and read by a wide audience. Press releases are not hard to make, but there are rules that you have to follow.
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