When you’re ready to write a press release, it’s important to know the rules. Press releases are a critical part of public relations, and they are vital for getting your story out there. However, not all press releases get through and that’s where this list comes in! Here are 13 reasons why your PR might be rejected:
|1. Pay attention to proper formatting and structure.|
|2. Avoid excessive use of promotional language.|
|3. Ensure your press release has a newsworthiness angle.|
|4. Double-check for accuracy and correctness.|
|5. Provide relevant and engaging content.|
|6. Use clear and concise language.|
|7. Tailor your press release for the target audience.|
|8. Follow submission guidelines of media outlets.|
|9. Include credible and updated contact information.|
|10. Avoid making the press release overly lengthy.|
|11. Incorporate quotes and testimonials for authenticity.|
|12. Check for any grammatical and typographical errors.|
|13. Evaluate the uniqueness and timeliness of the story.|
1. Your Release Was Poorly Written
It’s important to remember that the press release is a marketing document, so it should be well-written and easy to read. Here are some tips for writing your releases:
Use active voice instead of passive voice (e.g., “The company announced…” vs “It was announced…”).
Avoid jargon or acronyms if possible (e.g., “We have implemented an innovative new strategy that will allow us to continue growing rapidly while maintaining our high levels of customer satisfaction”).
Use simple language instead of overly technical terms or industry lingo that may not be familiar outside your industry (e.g., “Our proprietary technology uses advanced algorithms based on artificial intelligence,” instead of “We have been working on a new algorithm called AI-based technology”).
Avoid short sentences and short paragraphs – try keeping them between 3-5 sentences long, with no more than three sentences in one paragraph; this makes it easier for readers who skim through articles quickly without reading every word carefully (and there are plenty who do this).
Building an effective press release requires attention to detail and strategic planning. Learn how to put together a compelling press release with 17 essential tips that can enhance your media outreach strategy.
2. Your Story Isn’t Newsworthy
A press release is a news story. And to be a newsworthy story, you need to write about something of interest to your readers not just yourself or your company. It should also be relevant, timely, unique, and credible.
These are the components that make up the most important criteria for any press release:
- Newsworthy what makes the story interesting? Why should anyone care?
- Relevant does it relate directly to your audience’s interests?
Timeliness-when did this happen? Is it still happening now or was it in the past? How long ago was it published? Why does this matter when it comes to getting coverage for your company or product/service (or event)?
Unique-is there anything else out there with similar information but presented differently than what we already know about this topic (or…why even write another article on something already covered elsewhere)?
If so then why do we need more info on this subject matter -unless there’s an angle no one else has covered yet which might connect these two pieces of knowledge?
Credible sources- who said what when where why did they say these things etc…
3. You Didn’t Write In A Journalistic Style
You used passive voice: “The press release was released by the company.”
You used longer sentences: “The press release was released by the company and contained a link to their website, which as you can see here is very informative about their many products.”
You used complex words: “the press release that was written by our team at HQ was sent out to thousands of journalists around the world, who then decided whether or not they wanted to run it on their website or newsletter.
Creating press releases that capture the imagination of readers can lead to viral success. Discover the secrets to crafting press releases that go viral with our comprehensive guide on how to create viral press releases and maximize your outreach potential.
4. You Were Too Promotional
If you’re trying to sell something, or get something for free, or make a “me-too” announcement, or make a big announcement in your press release (like “our company is going public!”), then it’s likely that the editor will throw your release into the trash.
5. You Wanted To Make A “Me-Too” Announcement
If you’ve been paying attention to the headlines, you may have noticed that many companies are making “me-too” announcements.
These are press releases announcing new features or products that are similar to what other companies are doing, but not revolutionary or different enough to warrant their news cycle. To be clear: your company’s announcement isn’t worth reporting if it falls into this category. But why?
The problem with a me-too announcement is that journalists don’t want to waste their time reporting on something that has already been covered by someone else.
They’re looking for originality and innovation something they haven’t seen before in another publication. If they’ve already published an article about your news item, then there is no point in publishing another one unless it adds value or insight that wasn’t already explained in the previous story.
You might think that having multiple articles on the same topic will help your SEO rankings and visibility online; however, Google doesn’t differentiate between duplicate content anymore (unless it’s spammy).
If everything you publish has identical content across all platforms (including social media), Google will penalize your website ranking because of how outdated these methods were years ago when search engine optimization was still new! So how do we avoid making this mistake?
When it comes to press releases, understanding the do’s and don’ts can significantly impact your success. Explore our insightful article featuring favorite do’s and don’ts for writing press releases to ensure your content stands out and avoids common pitfalls.
6. Your Press Release Was Too Long Or Short
One of the most important factors to take into account when it comes to submitting a press release is length. While there is no hard and fast rule regarding the ideal length of a document, there are some things you can do to ensure that your content is not too long or too short.
If your press release is too long, you risk losing readers’ interest and if it’s too short (or rather, “too short”), you may be leaving out critical information that could have been included to increase its value.
The best way to write an effective press release is by keeping in mind what type of story or news item you’re releasing and structuring the document accordingly.
If it’s something important and unique, then providing more detail will help ensure that people pay attention; if it’s routine information about an event or product launch, then being brief is usually best so as not to bore readers with additional reading material they don’t necessarily want or need from their daily dose of news stories!
7. Your Release Included An Embargo With No Good Reason
An embargo is a set period during which journalists are prevented from publishing information about your release.
The reasoning behind embargoes is simple: If you have something you want to make public, it’s in your best interest to control the flow of information and choose exactly when that news will hit the wire.
In some cases, companies use embargoes as a way to manage their news cycle they want certain information released at a specific time so they can maximize exposure on social media channels and drive traffic back to their website.
So what happens if you schedule an embargo without any good reason? You’ll probably get rejected by journalists who don’t see how an artificial cutoff point improves their job or makes them any better at reporting than they were before.
They might also suspect that there’s no real news here (i.e., it’s just an attempt by your company or organization to self-promote). And finally, some reporters may feel like they’re being treated unfairly when they’re given less advance notice than everyone else who received multiple releases from your company today (or even this week).
8. Your Release Didn’t Have The Right Information
Include all of the relevant details. The press release should have a clear and concise message.
Make sure your release includes all the information the reporter needs to write a story about your product or service, including facts, figures, quotes from company officials and/or customers/clients, etc. Don’t waste time trying to impress someone with overly wordy prose or flowery language that’s not necessary for getting across the point you’re trying to make.
Include all of the most important details first, such as: who you are and why you’re contacting them; what new product/service is being launched; when it will be available for purchase; where it can be purchased; how much it costs (if applicable); any additional information that might interest journalists
To achieve maximum impact with your press releases, including the right elements is crucial. Learn how to create press releases that leave a lasting impression by incorporating key components with our guide on things to include in impactful press releases.
9. You Wrote A Bad Headline And Subject Line
You wrote a bad headline and subject line.
The headline of your release should be newsworthy, engaging, and written in an inverted pyramid style.
It should also be short and to the point no more than 60 characters and written in active voice rather than passive voice (e.g., “New York Times publishes article on tech companies that are failing,” versus “Tech companies that are failing are being covered by The New York Times”).
Your subject line should follow the same rules as your headline: short, engaging, written collaboratively with other writers instead of just by yourself (since there’s no way you can write everything all by yourself), etcetera.
10. You Ignored Media Outlet Guidelines And Requests
Don’t be too quick to ignore the rules. Sure, it’s annoying when you have to follow a whole bunch of guidelines and requests from the media outlet, but it’s worth it if your press release gets accepted.
If you’re lucky enough to get a reporter interested in your story, then listen closely to what they want from you!
They may ask for certain formats or specifications (like word count), or they might request a phone call so that they can get more background on the topic. If this happens, don’t blow up their inbox with emails saying “yes” every time they ask something because then they’ll just stop asking things altogether.
11. You Didn’t Provide Photos, Video Or Audio Clips When You Should Have
It’s not enough to just write a press release. You should also provide photos, video clips, and audio files that illustrate the story you’re telling. After all, it’s much easier to convey your message when people can see what you mean in pictures and hear it in sound clips.
Still not convinced? Let me show you an example from one of our favorite stories on Small Business Trends:
- We wrote about how small businesses can use social media for their marketing efforts.*
- Here are some photos from our article.*
- This is a picture of a company whose owner owns multiple businesses.*
- She uses social media because it helps her connect with customers.*
- This is another image from our article.*
Writing attention-grabbing press releases can significantly reduce the chances of rejection. Explore our collection of 13 tips for crafting attention-grabbing press releases and increase your chances of getting your news noticed by journalists and readers alike.
12. You Sent Your Release To Irrelevant Outlets And Reporters
It’s important to make sure that your release is relevant to the outlet you are sending it to. If you aren’t sure what kind of content an outlet typically publishes, check out their website or social media accounts before submitting your press release. Here are some ways you can tell if your press release is relevant:
Is it related? Check if the topic of your release seems like something that would be interesting for this specific outlet/reporter. For example, if you’re trying to get coverage in a parenting magazine, don’t send them a story about how great it was when you were able to go on a fun vacation last weekend because you knew all the kids would be fine with Grandma!
Does it fit with their audience? Does this story appeal specifically to their audience base? The New York Times might not want an article about how much millennials love puppies because they already know that! But maybe HuffPo would love an article about millennial stereotypes and why they’re wrong (and sometimes right).
Is there any seasonality involved? If so, does this news piece have anything relevant going on during those times of the year?
A good example here would be summer travel guides they tend not only to connect well with consumers looking for places where they can escape from city life but also highlight holidays like Labor Day weekend so readers can plan accordingly if they want more time away from work during these busy months!
13. You Didn’t Include Contact Information
Make sure you include contact information and social media handles for follow-up or promotion of your story. That way, if an editor wants to talk with someone from your organization, they can easily do so.
If they want to share the press release on their own social media channels, it would be helpful for them to have links to your accounts in order not to have to search each time.
Finally, don’t include links that aren’t relevant (like LinkedIn profiles) or outdated (like Twitter profiles).
Follow The Rules If You Want Your Press Release To Get Through!
The number one reason why most press releases are rejected is that they don’t follow the guidelines of the media outlet. So, before sending out your next press release, make sure that it adheres to all of their rules and regulations.
If you want to better your chances of getting your press release published, make sure it’s well written and edited, in a journalistic style.
If it isn’t newsworthy or if it doesn’t have the right information or contact details, there’s no reason for editors to even bother reading past the first paragraph! Make sure your headline is catchy and relevant if not, then who will care about what you have to say?
Finally: don’t be afraid to ask questions if there’s something about submitting your story that seems confusing or unclear. You should always feel comfortable reaching out for help!
Here are additional resources that delve into the reasons behind press release rejections and offer insights on how to avoid them:
Why Do Press Releases Get Rejected?: Explore the common reasons behind press release rejections and gain valuable tips to prevent these pitfalls.
What I Learned From Having My Press Release Rejected: Discover firsthand experiences and lessons learned from having a press release rejected, helping you navigate the process more effectively.
Press Release Rejected Online? What to Do Next: Learn about the steps to take if your press release is rejected online, along with strategies to improve your chances of success.
How can I prevent press release rejections?
Press release rejections can be minimized by following best practices in crafting compelling content, adhering to formatting guidelines, and ensuring accuracy and relevance in the information you provide.
What are some common mistakes that lead to rejection?
Common mistakes include using overly promotional language, lacking newsworthiness, neglecting proper contact information, and failing to follow submission guidelines.
Is there a specific format for press releases to avoid rejection?
Yes, adhering to a proper press release format, including a clear headline, concise lead paragraph, relevant details, and boilerplate information, can enhance your chances of acceptance.
How can I improve the newsworthiness of my press release?
To enhance newsworthiness, focus on sharing timely, unique, and impactful stories that would genuinely interest your target audience and the media.
What should I do if my press release gets rejected?
If your press release is rejected, take the opportunity to review and revise your content. Address any identified issues, ensure accuracy, and consider seeking feedback from professionals before resubmitting.
Costantine Edward is a digital marketing expert, freelance writer, and entrepreneur who helps people attain financial freedom. I’ve been working in marketing since I was 18 years old and have managed to build a successful career doing what I love.