This time we would like to look at the matter of professional writing of press releases from another angle - focus on what not to write in your news story and what mistakes you should avoid.
Below we have listed the most common issues that can destroy any press release and offered a number of suggestions on how to get around this issues:
1. Boring and inappropriate title You may noticed that in almost every blog entry we are focusing your attention on this main component as a headline is the “calling card” of your press release, so it’s really important and essential to think over it. The title presents the content, that’s why it should be engaging, short and informative. But don’t go deep into the details, lead is intended for this.
2. Writing an essay The main target of any press release is to be published and read by your audience. Take into account that nobody has time to read 10 paragraphs of text, especially a busy journalist or editor. The recommended length of a press-release is about 2000 symbols. It’s preferably to break your text into short paragraphs, so your press release can be structured and easy-to-perceive.
3. Too much advertisement The title, lead and text body shouldn't contain any evident promotional content or, in other words, screaming marketing claims. Have in mind that your are writing a press release, not an advertisement. Remember that a press release needs to be as newsworthy and informative as possible. That’s why read over and cut out anything that sounds too promotional.
4. Writing in the first or second person When writing a press release forget about “I”, “you”, “we”, “us”, “ours”. You need to create your copy in third person, meaning the usage of such pronouns as they, them and theirs. Check any newsletter or article and you can see that “the format of third person” is used everywhere and the same with press releases.
5. Undisclosed topic Try to include all facts and necessary details about your press release as well as about your company. Accept the fact that people may not know about your business, so your task is to reveal the main point of your news story and represent your company, in particular. Pay attention that the title, lead and text body should be logically connected and correspond to each other.
6. Too many quotes Don’t go overboard with numerous quotes in your press release. Provide one or two quotes in order to explain the news hook as well as raise a profile of your company. Arrange your quotes in compact and informative messages, underlining the main point of your news story.
7. Grammar and Punctuation Errors Mistakes of that type can kill your press release and nip it in the bud. Even if you don’t have any deep grammar knowledge or unsure how to write some word or sentence, you can always use free online spell checker and correct your errors. It’s always better to recheck your copy one more time and send your proper and accurate content to the journalists.
Try to avoid these common mistakes and strive to write a professional and accurate copy. And one more advice – write what you think your audience wants to read. If your press release will be uninteresting and blurred, no one would want to review it.
This September the Mail.ru Group presented new products for journalists and media. We selected the highlights from the talk of the Mail.Ru Group’s editorial director Sergey Paranko. He talked about how media measure the effect of publications; what is the “infoxication,” and how the users’ behaviour have changed recently.
One of the best ways of feel your way into what makes a great news release headline is to analyse existing headlines. Have a look at what is already out there and you will definitely get a sense of what works well and what doesn't.