1. Your Press Release is a Glorified Sales Letter
There are some things that the media detest. One of them is a glorified sales pitch. The media run through advertising sales. That is how they make their money; how they pay their staff, how they run their business and effectively how they make a profit. Every media outlet is a profit-making organisation, thus you trying to sell your product or service is depriving them of advertising revenue. You need to have a convincing enough story to sell to the media. You need to give them a good enough reason to not want to charge you. A one page advert in a UK national newspaper is approx £30,000. Yes, you read that right. Your glorified sales pitch could be netting that media outlet £30,000, so you need to give them a good enough reason not to charge you. The way to do that is to develop a story that is of interest, rather than just a press release telling them why your product is the greatest thing since sliced bread.
2. Wrong Target Audience
Another reason why an Editor may bin your press release is because you have targeted the wrong outlet. Here’s a tip: Don’t send a press release about pet food to an outlet that deals with baby food. It’s the wrong audience! You need to be focused, downright calculating and you need to use vernacular that the audience will understand.
3. Not Interesting Enough
Editors receive hundreds of press releases a day. Why should they read yours? Give the commissioning Editor a good enough reason to read on. Make them love you from you the outset, both with your words and your content, by making your press release interesting. You could be writing about doggy doo and still make it sound interesting with the words that you choose. Language is a beautiful thing; use it well to make your company and your story sound great.
4. Not Linked to Current Events
Every media outlet wants to be current. No one wants to know about an event that happened two weeks ago. Your story needs to be current. Link it up to what is happening in the news and plan your stories in advance to make it newsworthy. I saw an advert in November for a company that wanted a PR to land them coverage in time for Christmas. I grimaced. If you want to land a Christmas story, start planning in September, as journalists are always planning ahead.
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Haddy Folivi is a writer and PR who has been working in the media for over 17 years. She lives in London, but works with clients globally on a range of different projects through her company Clarity Media. Haddy is the proud mother of two energetic young children, and she can often be found entertaining them with all things musical.