Oops, are we allowed to be human
Have you done any personality profiling? And if so, what are your over riding traits?
I find it so interesting. Myers Briggs is my favourite – do go online and take the test. Only takes about 10 minutes, and gives you some real insight into what your personality traits are and why you react and behave as you do, and, more importantly, who OTHERS are (your potential customers) and why THEY do what they do! For reference, I am ENFP!
One of my major traits is not being good at taking criticism. So I hate to make mistakes and even worse, to have them pointed out to me! Even when I know I have gone wrong, I really can’t bear to have others tell me!! Plus I want everyone to like me, so find it SO hard when people reject me in any way! (Oh dear!!)
Thinking about that, I thought I would give you some popular bad mistakes many people make in their press releases – which I hope, if you are like me, you will take to heart and NOT do, so that you can avoid getting it wrong and being criticized!!
Spelling and grammatical errors
With spell and grammar checkers built into our computers, it is quite unforgivable to have these mistakes in your press releases. Other errors include typographical errors, and — oh please no — factual errors.
You need to get someone else to read every press release (and piece of copy to be honest) you create, before sending it off. And you absolutely must double, no, triple check your facts and numbers, to make sure they’re accurate.
Not Being Newsworthy
Journalists will not use press releases that have no topical relevance. The following are generally considered “newsworthy”:
- Immediate – it happened recently or is happening right now
- New or novel – it hasn’t happened before, or we’d never known about it before
- Near – it happened right here
- High impact – it affects a lot of people
- Conflict – David vs Goliath, man vs machine, nature vs nurture, and others
- Awe-inspiring – it’s an unusual achievement
If your press release does not have any of these, then it will be ignored, no matter how well written it is.
Being Overly Promotional
Your release needs to be plain and simple with the facts. Do not write it like sales copyand cut out anything that sounds salesy.
Writing in the First and Second Person Point-of-View
Always write in the third-person point of view. Don’t use “you,” “we,” or “I,” unless you’re quoting someone. This is the convention journalists and editors are used to.
Forgetting Your Contact Information
Every press release should have your contact person’s name, telephone number, email address, and website URL, at the least. Omit this, and you might as well never send it.
You need to be noticed. Journalists receive 100s of pitches and press releases every day. You need to create attention-grabbing and compelling headlines.
Not Having a Call to Action
You must have a call to action telling the reader what you want them to do next – again, otherwise there is no point in sending it out. For example, ‘For further information on the xxxxx visit the website at xxxxxxxxxx, or download the free report, or ask for a product sample for review, etc.’
Those are just seven of the mistakes I often see in press releases. Next time you write a press release, look at this list first before sending it out. Give yourself enough lead-time so you can show the press release to other people to help you catch mistakes, hype, and other horrors.