In the previous blog, we talked about using the inverted triangle style of writing press releases, opening with the most important information, and then funneling it down to your company line. Now, let’s look at one of the major pitfalls that some companies fall into when attempting to write a press release, the ad copy.
There is a time and a place for artful advertising, but not in your press release. Writing a press release that sounds too much like an ad copy is a good way to have your release trashed and ignored. Journalists are interested in why the information is important to their readers; they have little interest in helping you sell your products. The functions of journalism are to inform, educate, guide, and entertain readers objectively.
If your PR reads like an advertisement rather than a news story it not only runs the risk of being ignored (it almost certainly will be) but could also damage the credibility of your media person and your organization. Moreover, the more it happens, the less likely the media will be interested in anything that the organization might submit in the future.
Truth be told, however, negotiating the difference between writing a press release or an ad copy can get a little hazy. On the one hand, you want to build up some excitement about the product. On the other hand, it can be very easy to get carried away, moving from an informative piece to a sales pitch.
Below are some suggestions to help ensure your press release doesn’t read like an ad copy:
Unless it comes from a direct quote, do not use “you” in a press release.
Try to limit the use of adjectives and adverbs as much as possible (see Don’t Oversell It)
Do not use exclamation points.
Avoid outlandish claims. If there is a truly incredible claim, back it up with solid data, metrics, or some other objective means, especially if the claim sounds too good to be true.
Avoid attacks or takedowns on competing products. Consumers rarely respond well to such tactics.
Avoid leading with price or discounts in the headline and opening paragraph. The media isn’t interested in promoting deals or discounts.
Is it still confusing? We have helped many clients write and release successful press releases over the years, and we would be happy to help you too. Drop us a message, and we will get back to you.