A common complaint among journalists is the lack of relevance of the materials they receive from corporate communications and PR professionals.
Much of this information, they lament, is written like advertising, not journalism.
As a former reporter and editor, I can attest that is a sure-fired way to have your news release discarded.
Here are 6 key mistakes to avoid when writing a news release:
- Crafting a “no news” news release. This is where you’re trying to get your agency or client some media coverage but without a real news hook. It’s better to hold off on issuing a release until you have an appropriate angle to justify contacting a reporter.
- Using puffery, vague generalities and exaggerated descriptions of people, events, products or services—followed by lots of exclamation marks!!!!!! Nothing screams amateur quite like that.
- Being verbose. It’s usually harder to write short, concise copy than long copy, but journalism is all about being succinct and to the point.
- Writing about “pseudo” events that are contrived to get attention but have no real news value.
- Presenting statements that are subjective and opinion-based as facts. If you want to include a statement that involves an opinion or judgment, turn it into a quote and attribute the statement to someone.
- Writing like an advertising copywriter instead of a journalist. To be considered credible by the news media, you have to write your release as objectively as possible, emphasizing its news value, connection to a trend or its human interest aspect. Use third-person pronouns and the active rather than passive voice.
photo credit: symphony of love Master Cheng Yen Do not fear making mistakes in life, fear only not correcting them via photopin (license)