Most people don’t realize just how much work goes into a good press release. It’s easy to assume that all you have to do is write a few paragraphs, grab some quotes and send it out. But as anyone who’s written a good press release knows, there are many other factors involved in creating an effective one.
Writing an eye-catching headline is important but if it doesn’t tell what your story is about then what use is it? In this blog post we’ll cover 20 mistakes most writers make when writing their own press releases:
|Failing to tailor press releases to the target audience’s interests and needs can be the most significant mistake for press release writers.|
|A one-size-fits-all approach to press releases often leads to disengagement and missed opportunities for media coverage.|
|Understanding the preferences of journalists and the specific industry you’re targeting is essential for crafting effective press releases.|
|Researching and customizing each press release to resonate with the intended audience increases the chances of capturing attention and generating interest.|
|Overcoming the biggest mistake involves focusing on relevance, personalization, and creating press releases that offer genuine value to both journalists and readers.|
Failing To Get To The Point Fast
The first thing to remember is that you don’t have a lot of time. Your audience is busy, and they may not even read your entire press release. If you’re writing a long-winded introduction or background section, only about one in ten readers will likely make it through the whole thing.
So get right to the point and stay there! Don’t waste time with introductions, lengthy explanations, or background information (unless those things are necessary). Focus on what makes your company special and different from all the others who are doing something similar to you.
Creating press releases that capture attention and go viral requires careful planning and execution. Learn the strategies to create press releases that go viral and maximize your impact in the digital landscape.
Quoting Someone Who Isn’t An Authority
One of the biggest mistakes press release writers make is quoting someone who isn’t an authority. If you want your press release to be taken seriously, it’s important to quote people with credibility.
They can be experts in their field or they can simply be well-known and respected within your industry. Quoting someone like this will help your readers trust what you have to say because they know the person who said it is trustworthy and knows what he or she is talking about.
You might think that since you’re promoting your own company, there’s no need for any additional credibility after all, if you sell something that works, why would anyone doubt its effectiveness?
While this logic may hold up in some cases (for example: “Our products are great because we manufacture them ourselves”), most people won’t trust it unless backed up by third-party proof (like testimonials).
So when writing a press release for any reason whether it’s an advertisement or just information about your brand it’s always best practice to quote someone else who can attest to how amazing whatever product/service/idea being promoted is!
There are two ways this could happen: either directly through one of four types of quotes listed below…
Including Most Of The Press Release In The Headline
Hitting the high points of a press release in your headline is important because it gets readers to click on the release and read it. When you write headlines, don’t be afraid to assume that readers won’t read anything further than the headline, so you should make them count.
Including most of the text in your headline is a big mistake because it doesn’t give readers much incentive to click through and find out more about what you’re saying. If they’ve read this far, they probably didn’t need any convincing! Make sure not to include too much information here either you want them to want more without giving away everything at once!
To write effective press releases, it’s crucial to understand the do’s and don’ts of the process. Explore our insights into my favorite do’s and don’ts for writing press releases and enhance your press release writing skills.
Creating A Headline That Doesn’t Tell What It’s About
The headline is the most important part of your press release, so you mustn’t waste it.
The first rule of writing a good headline is to keep it short. A press release should be 25 words or less for best results, but if you can get away with even fewer characters even one even better word.
What this means is that if your title isn’t going to fit within these guidelines, you probably need to rethink what you’re doing here: maybe there isn’t enough meat in your story. Maybe there are more efficient ways to convey the same information?
Or maybe this concept doesn’t meet all three criteria we talked about earlier (what problem does this solve? who has that problem and how big is it? what solution does our product offer?).
If there are any questions left unanswered after reading this section then chances are good that some aspect of your story needs further development before we can consider publishing anything about it!
Not Including A Summary Paragraph
The most important section of your press release is the summary paragraph. This should be the first paragraph after the headline, and it should be no more than one sentence long (though it can be as long as you like).
This is your last chance to grab a reader’s attention before they decide whether or not to read through any further. People skim what they’re reading, so make this paragraph count by summarizing the entire story in that first sentence and then mention some key points from there on out.
This is also where you can mention any important information about deadlines or call-to-action prompts for readers interested in sharing their opinions or participating in other ways (like taking part in a survey or making an appointment for an interview).
Not Writing In The Inverted Pyramid-Style
The inverted pyramid style is a writing style used in journalism. It’s used to determine which information is the most important and make it stand out.
The inverted pyramid also helps determine which information is least important and makes it stand out. In short, the inverted pyramid can be used in several different types of writing including press releases.
You may have heard that an “inverted pyramid” refers to a specific structure: start with your conclusion or most important point, then move down through less significant points until you reach your very least significant point or one-sentence summary of your article/press release/etc., etc.
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Writing In A Style That Is Too Formal
Although writing a press release is not the same as writing a novel, you can use some of the same techniques. For one thing, it’s better to make your writing active than passive. The active voice sounds more direct and engaging than the passive voice. Here’s an example:
“The boy threw the ball.” (passive) vs. “The boy threw the ball down.” (active)
A good rule of thumb is to use simple words instead of complicated ones when possible and no jargon!
A word like “utilize” may sound sophisticated, but it’s just another way to say “use.” And don’t forget about those acronyms and abbreviations they’re great for shortening long phrases but should be avoided when possible because they slow down reading speed and distract from your message.
Using Passive Voice Instead Of Active Voice
Let’s say you’re trying to hire a new employee for your company. You send out an email to the team with the job description and requirements, and then you wait for resumes. When they start rolling in, do you want them to be precise? Or vague and unclear?
Do you want them to come off as confident, assured professionals who know exactly what they want? Or nervous novices who don’t know where their career will take them next? The answer is clear: You want them to sound confident and assured professionals who know exactly what they want!
To achieve that goal, writers should use active voice instead of passive voice in all of their press releases.
Here are just some of the ways active voice lends clarity:
Beginning Each Sentence With The Same Word Or Phrase
You should not begin each sentence with the same word or phrase. This is called a “sentence-starter” and it’s a bad habit that can ruin your writing. The most obvious reason is that it makes it difficult to follow, but there are other reasons as well:
It makes your writing sound monotonous, which can make readers stop reading.
It’s hard for people to remember what you’ve written because they have no point of reference for where they left off in their mind when starting each sentence fresh every time that happens.
It can make understanding difficult because readers aren’t sure why certain words have been emphasized over others in certain ways (or if they’re being emphasized at all). In this case, having more variety between sentences allows readers to understand more easily when someone is emphasizing something versus not emphasizing anything at all.
An analogy might be how we typically read books aloud by pausing longer on important words than unimportant ones; this helps us make sense of them faster because we’re able to hear where the emphasis needs to go without having everything being equally emphasized throughout every paragraph!
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Concluding With A Marketing Message Only
There are four things you should do at the end of your press release.
Conclude with a marketing message only. Don’t just say “read more about our new product” or “you can find us on Facebook and Twitter” without explaining what you mean by that, what people should do if they want to learn more, and where they can find you online.
Conclude with a summary of the most important information (which you should include in the first paragraph). If this is not clear from reading your entire release, then it needs to be presented clearly at the end as well!
Conclude with a quote from yourself or someone else in your company who has expertise in this area someone who knows what they’re talking about!
Conclude with an open-ended statement about how great your company is doing right now – such as “We expect these changes will help us grow even faster than before.”
Not Providing Practical Information Readers Can Use Or Remember
Press releases are written to inform readers, but it’s easy to forget that they’re meant to provide information that’s useful, actionable, and easy to remember. Press releases are often written in a dry manner that feels detached from the reader; this causes many writers (and readers) to feel like they’re reading something that doesn’t apply directly to them.
Your goal should be to find a way of providing information that is relevant and interesting so that the reader remembers it even if they don’t know exactly why they’ve decided those things at the time of reading.
Prepare Three Versions Of Your Press Release
To get your press release in the hands of most journalists, you’ll want to prepare three versions of it.
The original version: This is for internal use. It should be short but tell a complete story. You’ll want to include enough information to explain why the news is important and why people should care about it without boring them with superfluous details or jargon that only industry insiders would understand.
Make sure your writing is easy to read and understand so journalists can quickly scan through it and get the gist of what’s being said without having to stop and reread sentences or paragraphs multiple times because they’re unclear.
Also make sure that if data or statistics are included in this version, they are clearly labeled so reporters don’t have any trouble finding them later on when they look over their notes before writing their articles (this step will save you time).
The second version: This one will go out with all press releases sent out publicly by email blast services like PRWeb or BusinessWire so make sure it’s written in inverted pyramid style (with most important information first).
Everything inside reads correctly as far as spelling goes (grammar errors don’t usually matter much here since most people won’t notice them anyway),
That there aren’t any sentences missing punctuation marks at ends like periods/exclamation points which could confuse later down the road when trying to read back through again after publishing online (and potentially missing something important).
Also, remember not to forget to use active voice over passive voice wherever possible since active tend. . .
Gain valuable insights from an experienced professional in the field of press release writing. Dive into the lessons shared in lessons from an experienced press release writer to refine your press release strategies and elevate your writing skills.
Understand The Importance Of Grammar, Spelling, And Punctuation
As press release writers, we should understand the importance of grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
Grammar: The rules of what makes a sentence correct or incorrect. Writing in such a way that conveys your message clearly to anyone who reads it.
Spelling: Using the correct words correctly according to their meaning and sound. Having good spelling skills means you can check your work before sending it out into the world!
Punctuation: Marks used at certain points within sentences to show how they should be read aloud; for example an apostrophe (’) or a full stop (.).
Pursue Perfection In Writing, Not Time Savings
When writing a press release, you should never:
Write to a deadline. Remember that the time you spend on each press release will make or break your ability to get coverage in major outlets and drive traffic to your website or social media profile. If you rush through a press release, it will show.
Your readers won’t trust what they’re reading and might not bother with any of your content down the line a mistake that can cost you dearly in terms of lost revenue opportunities and brand recognition.
Write too quickly or try to meet an arbitrary word count requirement (e.g., 500 words).
It’s OK if your first draft is longer than expected; just don’t let yourself get carried away as you revise and don’t go overboard by adding fluff just so that it fits into whatever space someone else expects! This isn’t about meeting expectations it’s about creating something great that people want to read…and share!
Use templates for formatting purposes only they’re designed for ease of use but should never be used as a guide for what goes where when writing content meant for distribution online (such as through blogging platforms like Medium).
While some things may seem obvious from this perspective (such as putting links at the bottom), others might not be so clear until after doing some digging into how different platforms operate online like Twitter versus LinkedIn versus Facebook pages/groups/etc.”
Stop Calling It A Press Release
Press releases are a dated term. The idea of “press” is outdated and doesn’t necessarily mean news anymore. In the eyes of journalists and bloggers, a press release is not a good way to get media coverage or publicity. It’s more likely to be ignored than considered for coverage.
If you use the word “press” when pitching your story, and especially if you call it a “press release” you’re already creating an obstacle in your path toward getting covered by traditional outlets and blogs alike.
Forget Worrying About Word Count
The first mistake most press release writers make is worrying too much about word count. Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying the number of words isn’t important, but it’s far from the most important thing to consider.
The headline is probably what will get people reading your press release (especially if you’re sending it out via email), and it’s also going to be what makes or breaks whether or not you get coverage for your client.
So how do you write a good headline? Well, there are a few rules that I follow:
Keep it short! No one wants to read a long-winded headline when they’re trying to skim through their emails before bedtime.
Make sure that what’s in the title is conveyed in just five words or less which means using active language and sticking with simple nouns and verbs rather than using any form of “to be” (e.g., “is,” “was,” etc.).
Write the title last it helps ensure that all other parts of the press release make sense about this crucial element of success!
Stop Writing The Headline First
It is tempting to start writing the headline first, but this is a big mistake. The headline should come last after you have written the body of the press release.
When you start with the headline, it is easy to get caught up in thinking about what will make your company look good and forget about why you are writing a press release in the first place: to attract attention from journalists and media outlets who will then write about your product or service.
To write an effective press release that gets coverage, focus on writing a persuasive but accurate summary of your newsworthy event or product/service announcement followed by your contact information at the end of the document (more on this later).
Press releases are a powerful tool for getting your business into the spotlight. They help you generate leads, increase brand awareness, and can even improve your website’s search engine optimization (SEO).
However, as with any marketing tactic, there are ways to do it the right and wrong way to go about it. If you want to create an effective press release that will get you the results you want, then make sure not to make these common mistakes:
Not Having a Clear Call-to-Action (CTA)
Your CTA is what gets people interested enough in your product or service that they decide to follow up with further information. It should be specific so that readers know exactly what they can expect by clicking on it rather than simply generalizing what their offer might be like (which most people don’t care about).
Your CTA should also be prominently displayed at or near the end of each paragraph so that visitors see this immediately when they scroll through content without having read through every word first.”
Here are some additional resources to help you dive deeper into the topic of press release writing and common mistakes to avoid:
19 of the Biggest Mistakes Brands Make with Press Releases Short Description: Learn about the major mistakes brands often commit when crafting press releases, as highlighted by industry journalists.
Writing Press Releases: Common Mistakes Short Description: Discover the most prevalent mistakes made while writing press releases and gain insights on how to avoid them.
Common Mistakes in Writing Press Releases Short Description: Delve into the cultural sector’s perspective on the common errors seen in press releases and how to rectify them.
How can I avoid the biggest mistakes in press release writing?
Understanding the pitfalls and learning from the experiences of others is crucial. Exploring resources that highlight common mistakes will help you steer clear of them in your own press releases.
What are some key elements to focus on when crafting a press release?
When writing a press release, pay attention to your headline, the newsworthiness of the content, the inclusion of relevant details, and maintaining a concise yet informative style.
How can I ensure that my press release is well-received by journalists?
To increase the chances of journalists engaging with your press release, ensure it’s relevant to their beat, personalized, free of jargon, and includes a strong hook to capture their attention.
Are there industry-specific guidelines for press release writing?
Yes, different industries may have specific guidelines for press releases. It’s essential to research and tailor your approach based on the norms and preferences of your target industry.
What role does proofreading play in press release writing?
Proofreading is essential to catch grammatical errors, typos, and inconsistencies that can undermine the credibility of your press release. A well-proofread press release demonstrates professionalism and attention to detail.
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.