How to Bore Journalists With Your Press Release

Have you ever wondered why there are so many dull news releases?

Have you ever wondered why, hand on heart, your business news releases are dull?

I’ve just been skimming through a few news releases hosted on various news wires and free press release websites. Deary me! They are abysmal. Not sure what businesses think they are getting from the exercise. So much time and effort conjuring up turgid tripe. No-one reads them. No-one cares.

Virtually every news release posted on press wires or free PR sites reads like an advert. (Adverts have their place, of course. But this is PR.)

One reason is: before the news release is written, the author forgets to ask enough of the right questions.

Many businesses who are interested enough in the potential of PR as a customer-winning tactic will put it as an agenda item on their monthly management meeting. And then, when the PR discussion commences, everyone will look at each other across the board room table and say: ‘So, what news do we have?

And the management team start thinking: ‘What the hell can we tell people? What do we want to tell people?’

Don’t get me wrong, this question is a useful way to initiate a spot of creative brainstorming. But to generate impactful, interesting news that adds genuine value to the your customers issues, it falls way short.

So what’s the answer?

Or more pertinently, what’s the question?!

You’ve drawn up your list of abley-brainstormed news stories. That’s good! Our mission is now to go through that list and prioritise. We want to generate killer chunks of irresistible, impactful news.

Ready for a little role play?

I want you to imagine you are a journalist or a customer, reading your news for the first time. Here’s one I picked at random as an example. (It could have been any one of thousands!)

Las Vegas Chinese Restaurants Online Ordering Live

Let’s imagine we are a food journalist and/or a potential chinese-loving Las Vegas resident. And we are going to ask ourselves the following question:

“What is so remarkable and fascinating about my news?”

At what point when you read this restaurant’s press release do you, as a journalist or potential customer, tap a friend or colleague on the shoulder and say: ‘Wow! Have you seen this restaurant in Las Vegas? They are ordering online! Seriously!

Sadly, this is not going to happen becasue there is nothing whatsoever that is biggest, best or first about this news.

  • Were they the first restaurant to trial a revolutionary new online ordering system?
  • Were they perhaps the first to guarantee a 40 minute online to door service?
  • Were they cooking the world’s largest chow mein to celebrate the new digital ordering system?
  • Are they the first Chinese restaurant in the world to allow customers to build a virtual meal online before ordering?

Nope. The news is that this restaurant has signed up to PayPal. Joining over 8 million other businesses who got there first!

Perhaps the news should read:

Chinese Restaurant Becomes 8,245,617th Business to Sign Up to PayPal?!

This restaurant is not alone. Like so many other businesses, they have allocated resources to writing a news release that establishes them as something no business should ever want to be: just another.

Please don’t settle for dull. Don’t settle for churning out messages you want to tell people.

Here’s something you can do straight away.

  1. Understand your audience. Understand their issues and interests. Add value and fascinate by asking the right questions. Use the answers to inspire your incredible, remarkable, fascinating news.
  2. Other questions you could ask before you press send on your next news release include how is my news adding value? And why should anyone care?
  3. And for maximum impact, summarise your news up front in your release with crystal-clear plain English clarity in the title and first line.

Richard Glynn will help you stand out, build influence and become easier to buy from.
Click here to find out more.
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