The 17 Worst Mistakes Press Release Writers Make

Writing a press release is like writing any other type of story: you need to have characters, action, and a plot. The difference between a good press release and an awful one is in the details. Here are the most common mistakes that press release writers make and how to fix them:

Worst Amateur Writing Mistakes (With Examples!)
1. Avoid vague or misleading headlines that don’t reflect the content accurately.
2. Ensure your press release is free from grammatical errors and typos.
3. Include relevant and newsworthy information to capture the attention of journalists.
4. Provide concise and compelling quotes that add value to the story.
5. Double-check all contact information to ensure journalists can reach you easily.
6. Avoid excessive use of jargon or industry-specific terms that may confuse readers.
7. Use a clear and professional layout with proper formatting to improve readability.
8. Include multimedia elements like images or videos to enhance the press release.
9. Personalize your press release for different media outlets and target audiences.
10. Avoid over-promotional language; focus on providing valuable and informative content.
11. Proofread your press release thoroughly before distribution.
12. Make sure your press release is relevant to current events or trends.
13. Incorporate data and statistics to add credibility to your press release.
14. Include a strong call-to-action to encourage reader engagement.
15. Follow the standard press release structure: headline, summary, body, and boilerplate.
16. Be cautious about using sensitive or controversial topics in your press release.
17. Target the right media outlets and journalists for your press release distribution.

The Headline Is Misleading And/Or Capitalized

This is the most important part of your press release, so don’t blow it by making any of these common mistakes:

Your headline should be short and to the point. There’s no need to include an adjective in a title that already tells you what you need to know.

The headline should be capitalized (unless it’s at the start of a sentence) and written in all caps as if they were shouting at you from across a crowded room. If they weren’t capitalized, we wouldn’t read them at all!

The headline should be written in the present tense because we want our readers’ attention right now and who doesn’t want their immediate attention? We’re writing for people who don’t have time for long narrative stories about how our product is changing lives; we just need them to know that purchasing this product will solve their problem once and for all!!

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The First Paragraph Is Too Long

The first paragraph of a news release should be short, sweet, and to the point. You want to give reporters and editors a summary of why they should care about your story—and then get out of the way.

You can lead with some big news in this first paragraph if you want. But don’t do it until after you’ve given them a quick summary of what’s going on (you should know what that is by now).

The Content Is Filled With Fluff, Jargon, Or Buzzwords

Fluff is filler language that doesn’t add to the meaning of your sentence. It’s often used to fill space in a press release and make it sound more substantial than it is. Sometimes fluff looks like this: “Several companies have begun using this new software for their daily operations.” It could be rewritten as “Companies are using the software.”

Jargon refers to industry-specific words and phrases that might not mean anything to an outside reader. 

If you’re writing a press release about tech products, you may use terms like “cloud computing” or “server farm” without realizing they’re not part of everyday language outside your field. 

Buzzwords are another type of jargon that has become overused so much that they don’t add any meaning when used in context they just serve as filler words that distract readers from what matters most: Your message!

The Content Looks Like An Ad Rather Than A News Story

Content should be news, not an ad. The purpose of a press release is to provide information about the company that’s interesting and relevant to its readership not to sell something. So, if you’re writing about a new product or service, it should focus on the value of that product or service for your audience, rather than just describing what it is and how much it costs.

Content should be factual, not opinionated or controversial. If you have an opinion about something related to your industry or business, keep it out of your press release unless there’s some way you can frame it as objective fact (like citing hard data). 

Otherwise, stick with reporting what happened without editorializing or getting into heated debates online over social media sites like Facebook and Twitter; doing so distracts from the overall message that every company wants their readership and potential customers to hear: this is why we exist!*

Content must be relevant & easy-to-read: This may seem obvious but many writers don’t think about how readable their writing will be when they send out press releases written in hard-to-understand jargon or complicated sentence structure.*

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The Content Includes Quotes That Do Not Add Anything To The Story

You’re sitting at your desk, writing a press release about an upcoming event. You write the following:

A spokesperson said that the company is excited to bring on new employees in 2019.”

You think this is a good quote. It’s short and sweet and tells people what they need to know nothing more, nothing less. But you don’t realize that it’s not adding anything to your story! Why would anyone care about something like this? 

They’re looking for information about how many new employees will be hired, what kinds of jobs are available, etc., not some generic statement from someone who doesn’t exist in real life and isn’t even present at the event itself!

Your readers aren’t stupid they know when something’s being said by someone with no authority over anything being discussed! And if they want confirmation of their suspicions, all they have to do is look at reference links (like LinkedIn profiles) to figure out who exactly made these statements.

The Content Uses The Word “Announces” Non-Ironically

It’s not a mistake to use the word announces in your press release, as long as it’s relevant. For example, if you’re announcing a new product or service, then saying “announces” is appropriate. However, if you’re simply explaining how your company came to be and what it does, using the word announces would be a mistake.

In these cases where the word “announces” isn’t relevant like when talking about what your business does or explaining why you started it you should just state those facts outright instead of using this verb form. One way to do this is by writing something like: “Our team has been providing expert analysis for over twenty years.”

It’s also important that whenever you do use announcements in your content (whether or not it makes sense), make sure it doesn’t sound like an announcement itself!

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There’s No Way To Tell What Region The Company Serves.

The press release doesn’t include any information about how many customers it serves, or who they are.

Instead of sharing the company’s services and achievements, it focuses on what the company does for its customers (and not vice versa).

The press release is vague about the company’s goals and mission statement: there are no details about what makes this business unique, or why anyone should care!

There’s no way to tell how big the company is.

If you don’t tell the reader how big your company is, they won’t know if it’s a small business or a large corporation. If you’re talking about your company’s size, try to include at least the following:

Annual revenue

Number of employees (the higher, the better)

Number of customers (the more, the better)

Number of locations (these can be stores or distribution centers)

Once again, there are no hard and fast rules for writing an effective press release. But with these tips in mind as you craft future releases, we think you’ll find yourself on track for success!

There Are Not Enough Facts About The Company To Make It Seem Real

A press release should include the name of your company and contact information, as well as a brief statement about what you are announcing. The details of this announcement are called the “meat” because they provide information that is useful to people who might want to use it.

A good press release lists some facts about the person or organization making an announcement such as its name and location and then describes what he or she said in general terms without quoting them directly (this is called paraphrasing). 

The meat section gives all the important details: who did what, when they did it, where they did it, why they did it that way; what happened next; etcetera. You don’t want to sound like an encyclopedia entry here though; try to keep your sentences short so people will read them easily.”

There’s No Contact Information For A Real Person At The Company

There’s no contact information for a real person at the company. This is the most common mistake in press releases because it seems like such an easy fix. Just add in some contact information so that reporters can get in touch!

Wrong address, email address, or phone number. If you’re not careful, your press releases may end up going to an outdated or incorrect address, email account, or phone number.

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The Press Release Reads Like A Timeline Instead Of A Story

The first sentence of your press release should be a summary statement about the story, not a statement about what the story is about.

Your second sentence should be an explanation of the topic or subject matter, not an introduction to you or your organization.

The third sentence is where you want to get into the main point or reason why this story could be important to readers and that’s assuming they’ve read through all three sentences before they decide they’re interested in reading more! (As opposed to just being interested in reading headlines.)

Your fourth sentence should be your lead, which is just another way of saying “here are some facts or details.” This isn’t always necessary but it’s often good practice if there’s anything juicy going on with your topic or story. 

It can also help make up for any mistakes made earlier on in sentences 2 and 3 if need be. Or maybe even save face when someone else finds fault with what was said there…but that depends largely on how bad those mistakes were!

The press release does not use paragraphs or separate paragraphs with lines to make it easy to read quickly.

There are several reasons why you should use paragraphs in your press release. They help to break up content, making it easier to read and digest. They also make the overall appearance of the press release more organized, which can increase its readability. 

And if you’re writing SEO-optimized content, using paragraphs can help with search engine optimization (SEO). Google will often penalize websites that have content written as one long paragraph without any breaks. 

To make sure you don’t fall into this trap and get penalized by Google or other search engines like Yahoo! or Bing, here are some tips on how best to use paragraphs in your next press release:

Use new paragraphs when there is a change in topic or tone throughout your piece of writing for example: when introducing new information about something different than what was previously discussed earlier within an article but still related.

If there’s been a shift from talking about one thing into talking about another thing directly after finishing talking about something else first before moving onto yet another topic entirely different again later on down further into an article…this is where new paragraphs come in handy!

The Press Release Is Much Longer Than 400 Words, Which Makes It Look Like Spam

As you know, the press release is a short form of writing that can be used by businesses to describe their products or services in detail. The most important point when writing a press release is to keep it as short as possible.

When sending out your PR email blast, try to keep it under 400 words (which is about one page). If you go over this amount, it will look like spam and more likely to be ignored by reporters who receive hundreds of emails each day.

It’s also important not to use fluff in your text; instead, focus on what makes your company unique and why other companies should consider doing business with them.

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Good Writing Takes Time And Helps Your Company In Many Ways

Good writing is important, and it helps your company in many ways. You need to build trust and credibility with your target audience before you can expect them to take action. Good writing makes that happen. It also allows you to showcase your expertise, which makes you look more trustworthy.

Good writing builds a good relationship with your readers by making them feel like they are part of your company’s story instead of just being sold on its products or services. 

This can help increase brand loyalty and even boost sales over time because customers will come back again and again if they feel like they’re being treated like friends rather than just another faceless customer demographic being targeted by marketers who don’t care about what matters most: 

Creating genuine connections with real people who want value from their interactions with brands large or small (I believe this one too!).

Further Reading

Common Press Release Mistakes to Avoid: Learn about the most common mistakes to steer clear of when crafting your press releases.

14 Big Mistakes to Avoid When Creating a Press Release: Forbes Agency Council experts share 14 significant press release mistakes and how to avoid them.

19 of the Biggest Mistakes Brands Make with Press Releases: Gain insights into the common errors brands make with press releases from journalists’ perspectives.


What are the key elements of an effective press release?

An effective press release should include a compelling headline, a concise and engaging summary, relevant quotes, contact information, and a call-to-action.

How can I avoid common press release formatting mistakes?

To avoid formatting mistakes, use a clear and professional layout, stick to a standard font and size, and ensure proper alignment and spacing.

What is the best way to distribute a press release?

Consider using press release distribution services or reaching out directly to relevant media outlets and journalists to ensure wider coverage.

How can I make my press release newsworthy?

To make your press release newsworthy, focus on timely and relevant topics, highlight unique angles, and provide valuable information to the target audience.

How do I measure the success of a press release?

Track key metrics such as media mentions, website traffic, social media engagement, and inquiries to gauge the success of your press release campaign.