Part two in a three-part exploration of what media professionals report as their likes and dislikes as it pertains to press releases submitted to them by the PR community.
The final insight in this blog is my favorite because this reporter provides rich insight into how he looks at a press release. He is articulate and honest as he provides insight to his motivation and tells it like he sees it – I love straight forward answers and people!
My final post will highlight research methods these men and women use when chasing down a story….a few of them may surprise you!
Anchor/Producer@ Twin Cities radio station
A great press release…Uses the journalistic device of the inverted pyramid, and immediately gets to the main point FIRST. Also, the best ones are embedded IN THE EMAIL – don’t make me open up something else…just give it to me NOW.
A press release I instantly delete/toss…Is too prosaic at the outset. Don’t paint any pretty word pictures for me – get right to the point. And if I see that it’s Tolstoy outta the chute…my desire to read it is in inverse proportion to its perceived length.
Press releases are like Sgt. Joe Friday – “…just the facts, Ma’am…” – but that said, DO compel me to read it or at least check it out…..
Managing Editor @ niche lifestyle and trade magazines
A great press release…Is timely, but not “next week” timely; can come with high res images if I need them; provides a quote or two; provides a reliable person to contact if more information is needed; E-mail form is best.
A press release I instantly delete/toss…Has nothing to do with any of the publications I work on or the date the event takes place is not in the time frame of the magazine (meaning not more than two months out for the lifestyle pub and four months out for the trade pub). Also LOCAL is best for us, so press releases about national attractions, hotels, etc, don’t usually work.
News Assistant @ Twin Cities daily newspaper
A great press release…provides the most important details in the first paragraph so that an editor does not have to read to the end to get the information he/she needs. The news media receives too many each day to have the time to read each to the end.
A press release I instantly delete/toss….has no local tie-in or has forgotten pertinent information and does not supply a contact number for retrieving this information (which is only done if the news is very important to our community of readers).
Editor @ lifestyle magazine
A great press release……is short, sweet, and to the point
A press release I instantly delete/toss…..is one that is obviously sent to a mass audience with zero relevance to my specific publication. If I can tell the writer is sincerely trying to pique my interest and the headline looks like it might be something somewhat relevant to my publication, I will continue reading it.
Managing Editor @ minor market daily newspaper
A great press release is emailed to me and the appropriate reporter, explains why it matters to our readers, gives me the gist in a concise manner, gives me contact options for more information.
I toss releases that don’t tell me what the relevance is for my audience.
Beat Reporter@ Twin Cities daily newspaper
A great press release…is short, pithy, local and spot-on in terms of my areas of coverage. I far too often receive releases that are pages long and on topics that i don’t cover. That says to me that the sender did not do his/her homework.
A press release I instantly delete/toss…see above. Ha! I hate to admit this, but I toss probably 98 percent of them…mostly that’s because they don’t speak to my areas of coverage/interest or because they’re not local. For example, I seldom use experts from outside the twin cities if I don’t’ have to.
Editorial Director @ publishing house overseeing multiple business and lifestyle titles
A great press release……gives me all the info I need in the first graph.
A press release I instantly delete/toss…..is not remotely appropriate for my title.
Beat Reporter @ Twin Cities daily newspaper
A great press release.. If you want to do a great press release, think like a reporter. Or better yet, think like that reporter’s editor. Too many releases come from the point of view of the client. Unless you’re Apple or some similar company that can command the market’s attention simply by clearing its throat, that’s a non-starter. I like to see something that addresses an issue or development to which the average newspaper reader in the Twin Cities can relate — how does it affect them, not the company/client unless that company is either doing spectacularly well or about to pull a Titanic. I like releases that tell me the story. Most companies are not that interesting in and of themselves, so if you can explain what your company does that is relevant to the wider world, that’s key. We like stories with conflict, or that solve problems.
A press release I instantly delete/toss… Promotional stuff that looks too much like free advertising. What’s new? What advances the story about the company?