How To Ruin Your Press Release in 3 Easy Steps

by Karon Thackston

I see it almost every day. People who want to generate a press frenzy, but go about it in just the opposite way that they should.

There are some definite strategies you need to use when writing a press release that gets results. There are also some long-standing, proven ways to completely and totally ruin your release. In an effort to help you get what you want out of your next press campaign, I'd like to share the top three "bombs" with you.

Step One - Ignore Your Target Audience

Just as with advertising copywriting, you have to understand who you're writing to and what those people want. When you write a press release, you're not targeting the end user. . . you're targeting journalists.

While your potential customers may respond to claims that you're the best, that your product or service is going to make them happier, healthier, richer or more beautiful. . . reporters will definitely not!

Journalists are fact-oriented people. Their job is to give a well-rounded view of anything they write about. . . new scientific developments, the latest upheaval in the Middle East, or your product or service. In order to appeal to journalists, you'll have to give them the facts and allow them to make up their own minds. Anything less will be a huge turn-off that will cost you any type of publicity from the reporter's publication.

Step Two - Write Your Press Release Like an Advertisement

This step - if done properly - can ruin your press release all by itself. There is nothing more annoying to journalists than receiving a hype-filled sheet labeled "Press Release."

I've actually read about cases where reporters turn over such "releases" to their advertising department as leads! Remember what we just discussed in Step One? Now that you have a good vision of your target audience in mind, don't blow it when you begin to write.

Keep a picture of Tom Brokaw or some other stiff-necked news anchor taped to your computer monitor while you write. If you wouldn't hear Tom using the verbiage you're typing into your release on the nightly news, don't include it in your copy.

Step Three - Send Your Press Release Out to Everybody on the Face of the Earth Whether It Is Applicable to Them or Not

Here's yet another "tactic" that so many well-meaning people misunderstand. Again. . . just like advertising, you have to keep your target audience in mind.

If you manufacture automobile parts and sell them to repair shops, would you advertise in a golf magazine? Certainly not! Why? Because it's very unlikely that you'll get any response. Wholesale auto parts are not what most golfers are looking for.

The same holds true when distributing your press release.

Take the time to develop, rent, buy or broker a list that will get your release in front of people who will actually care. Will it be free? No. Will it work? Unless you use one or all of these three ways to ruin your release, it should.

Are there more ways to ruin your press release? Oh sure! Lots of them. But these "Top 3 Killers" require the most attention. Before you write your next press release, take time to stop and think. Are you using any of these three steps? If so, make changes now so your release will accomplish everything you've hoped for.

Let Karon write targeted copy, press releases and ezine articles for you. Visit her site at, or learn to write your own copy at

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