Curtis Gilbert is the owner and creative producer at p3 mediaworks, a full-service video production company in Chicago. He wrote an article “Why Nonprofit Outreach is the Best Way to Build а Beloved Brand”. In the article he tells how to become a popular brand and how non-profit organizations can help in this.
How To Kill The Press Release: The Beginner's Guide
There exist, perhaps, two hundred methods to wipe out the efficiency of any press release. PRNEWS.IO has identified and picked a dozen of the most sound and foolproof* out of them — those, which for sure will slander and damage a company’s reputation straight off. No black PR is needed at all!
*Based on real stories. Not a single press release got hurt at text preparation.
The Title: a Slit Throat
If you wish to kill your press release from the very beginning - make up the longest title ever. Prepare 3 options and then put them together into one. Sounds crappy? Then don’t hesitate to add more details. Point out the company’s name not only in Russian, but in English as well. Insert the description of two or three best products. And a link. There should be at least one.
Many web sites, where the press release will be later on submitted, limit the title length. Sometimes these are 200 symbols, or 120, or can be even 65. No, we’re not kidding — 65 actual characters for real, including spaces. These are, by the way, Google requirements: a snippet title, that is a post fragment suggested to a user in a search engine results page (SERP), includes exactly 65 characters. Ellipsis dots will timidly keep back the rest.
Somebody must click on the “quick and dirty” banners and teasers about Vanga’s predictions, unknown even to her. But it is not your target audience and you are looking for serious buyers, aren’t you? In any case, dirty details and immense sensations in title are the key to success. At least for those who’ll never become your customer — even potentially.
The Lead: a Knife in a Heart
Get rid of the lead entirely. No introduction and no short summary, intended to attract a reader, will do very well. It does not really matter, as there is a lot of other useful information on the web (in the world). For instance, these might be press releases of your competitors. But your optimal solution should be using the first paragraph in place of the lead. If the second paragraph can’t be comprehended without it, therefore excellence is at hand. Make sure to include important details that are nowhere else mentioned.
It’s worth mentioning that certain press release websites use the lead just as a teaser (preview) by cutting it out of the text. Did a potential customer read the text, but failed to get the point, remember event date or place for lack of an introductory part? Well, he's not a clever one!
Do tease and drive to distraction. You should by all means avoid any connections between the title and press release text itself, or even better — any connections with the reality. Highly specialized terms, describing the invasion of aliens, will leave your reader wondering until he finally proceeds to reading the text. If only he proceeds.
The Text: a Fatal Cyanide Dose
Avoid the cause-effect relations: be inconsistent, unpredictable and illogical. Confuse your reader, make him get lost, feel free to blow his mind. Let him forget what was the beginning by the time he reaches the last full stop, and let him leave the site anticipating the date with schizophrenia.
Go back and forth, repeating the same thing over and over in every paragraph. Don’t hesitate to write the longest text which you are capable of creating. 80% of potential readers will close the page without even having read the first sentence. The others will surrender halfway. And those, who courageously manage to cope with all 7-10 thousand letters, still won’t go to your website. Everything has already been learnt from the press release.
Reduce the entire text to one single paragraph. The ideal length of 300-500 characters will attract the reader's attention, but won’t help to say anything in fact. Such press release will look excellent if you also use the title from method 1.
There should be no specifics and as many stop words as possible. Don’t ever explain why your product can be useful to a customer. If you fail to prove why your offer is the best available on the market, then fill the text with trendy catchwords.
Our top favorites are: innovative (this was the main trend of the last year), revolutionary, unique, exclusive, effective, special, leading, and the most recent — pre-crisis. Now even faster and now even better are definitely worthy of mention. Keep up with the time and current trends by being the market leader with pre-crisis prices! Anyway, everyone does the same thing today.
Give More Blood to Bloody God! Express more emotions, include enthusiastic and delightful descriptions, along with numerous exclamation marks! Do underline, highlight with bold or italic, as a text reads much more easily if this prettiness can be found in each paragraph.
Do not pay attention to style, spelling, or, please God, punctuation. You should not try to impress the audience with a top-notch text, especially in the case when you are looking for partners. Only a reputable company with a good profit can afford ordering such texts. Copywriting for $2, will tell everything about an owner at a glance, just as worn-out dirty clothes do.
The Background: Control Shot
You should remember not to provide any reference information about the company. Should we mention that everyone knows who’s Sasha Grey? Are you googling, who is she? That’s fine, now you also know who Sasha Grey is. Your reader also should google your company name, if he ever gets interested.
Do forget about links to your website and contact details. It’s way too fast to give a user everything he needs. Life is a struggle, so make your potential customers search for your company’s information in search engines hard and persistently. This approach is the most efficient, if you know other companies with the same name.
The newbies must be at a loss. What should one do in order to avoid these, and a hundred other mistakes? Experienced PR-managers are smiling into their moustaches reeking of cigarettes: learn from experts.
Don’t hesitate to ask for help those guys, who had been writing press releases before the times when it became mainstream.