When clients ask me to edit their press releases, there are some common problems that I see. Sometimes these will get the press release rejected by press release distribution sites, sometimes they will just make the press release read really poorly and will be a turnoff to visitors. I was a newspaper reporter for eons and I’ve read stacks and stacks of press releases, so I have a pretty good feel for what works and what doesn’t.
Here are some common press release no-no’s:
1.) Reads like an advertisement. A press release must have some benefit to the reader. It is meant to read like a short news announcement. HELPFUL HINT: If you are writing about a new product or service offered by your company, tie it in to current trends to make it news-ier. For instance, if you are releasing a new weight loss product, throw in some current statistics about how many Americans are overweight these days. “With 18 trillion Americans now considered morbidly obese, the need for an effective weight loss product is more urgent then ever.” (Yes, I made that statistic up.)
2.) Too long. Press releases generally shouldn’t be longer than 500 words. Some press release sites charge extra for every word over 400 words. Readers have short attention spans these days; they are very unlikely to read a 2000 word press release anyway.
3.) Too many stories crammed into one press release. One news announcement per press release, please.
4.) Riddled with spellleing an grammatttical errorrers. This will cost you credibility.
5.) Addresses the reader directly: “If you’ve been on diet after diet…” This makes the press release read like an advertisement and is not standard news format. PRWeb, for instance, tends to reject press releases that address the reader.
Bonus tip: When writing your press release, don’t forget your “call to action” which can read something like this: “To find out more about dog trainer Katie K9′s series of videos, visit www.(yourwebsitelinkhere.) “