The worst mistake that people make when they write a press release, is also the most common mistake. It isn’t forgetting to include contact details, or a date, or spelling someone’s name wrong, or including too much jargon — though we regularly see all of those mistakes.
No, the worst mistake that people make in a press release is much simpler, and more devastating.
It is telling people what you want to tell them — and not what they need to know, or what they might be interested in.
Most importantly, this is the mistake that ensures a journalist will delete your press release within seconds, because it doesn’t look relevant or interesting.
This is the kind of press release that might start by announcing…
‘Scientists from Our Institution have made an important discovery. And the discovery was published in today’s edition of This Important Journal. And the research team was led by Dr A. N. Other. And now we’ll give you some background…’
But think about it. If the discovery really is newsworthy, then an effective press release should lead with what the discovery will ‘mean’ for people.
So, a more effective press release might start by announcing:
‘A cheaper, faster test for disease A could be available as early as next year, thanks to new research. The new test should cut waiting times for patients, and save the health service €x million a year.
The improved test took scientists N years to develop in painstaking research at Our Institution. But the long haul was worth it, according to team leader Dr A. N. Other. . .’
Even experienced press officers and organisations regularly make this mistake, yet it’s relatively simple to avoid.
The key is to ask yourself: what does our latest development mean for people? Answer that question, and you’ll have the opening sentence, and the headline, for your press release. It really is that simple.
And if you’d like to learn how to write an effective press release, our next half-day training session is in Dublin on March 7th 2012.
This will equip you with basic media skills to help you publicise your research, business, or event. You will learn about How To:
- Identify what makes ‘News’
- Find out how to hit the headlines
- Write a successful press release . . . one that isn’t instantly binned!
- Contact journalists, and
- Develop good media relations
If you’ve any queries, don’t hesitate to get in touch — there’s a contact link on our workshop site. And we look forward to welcoming you on the day.