You can polish a turd, but....

Jul 09, 2020 3:21 pm


Hello Content Creators!

Seems like there's something in the water lately. It's bad. And it's affecting the very people who write your press releases.

Maybe that's you. Or someone you work with.

Or worse, someone you pay!

Over the past three months, the quality of press releases and materials we've received at my cycling website, Bikerumor, has been falling off a cliff.

There are a few outliers, and a few brands that are consistently good. But the rest? Ooof. Bordering on (and sometimes downright) terrible. If you're the one sending them out, sorry. But it's true. We've all noticed.

And the result is less-than-great coverage for your new product. For your brand.

You're not gonna like this...

Not all media are created equal.

Some give a s#!t and work really hard to deliver a story that's valuable to their readers.

Others basically copy/paste your release.

So, if your press release and images are crap, guess what kind of story you're going to get?

And if the media that's really trying to write a good story has crap to work with, then, well, as a friend used to say about a rival school's football stadium, "You can polish a turd, but it's still a piece of s#!t"

Here's what to do

Get out of your head.

As someone inside the brand, you're probably (hopefully?) intimately familiar with the product you're pitching. But the rest of us aren't.

So all those little details you're glossing over? The media needs them. The stats, facts, figures, specs, weights, colors, changes from prior model? The media wants those.

Some of us ( *cough* Bikerumor *cough* ) will always go above and beyond. But if you want better stories in the press, give them better materials to work with. Make the images easy to access and download. Be available to answer questions. Leave out the hyperbolic marketing fluff.

Then pay attention to the media that's doing the work to make you look good, and support them.

A recent content project


This one's not mine, but it's a perfect example of a great press kit for a product launch. Rockshox (and SRAM, their parent company) is one of the largest mountain bike suspension brands in the world. Their press kits for product launches are some of the best. Here's why:

  • They cover the story behind the product and its development
  • They cover the product specs, tech, details & pricing
  • They anticipate common questions with a lengthy FAQ
  • They have regional/global contacts at the end of it

Inevitably, we'll have a few questions, but they send these out days if not weeks prior to the launch embargo date. So we have time to ask them. And their images are grouped into folders by product, with studio and action/lifestyle pics separated.

It all makes our job, as the media, much easier as we prepare a story. Rockshox has a team of people that work for weeks to put this together, and it shows. This one was 37 pages long, and the file name ended in "...v17.pdf". Seventeen iterations!

And then they meet after the launch to discuss how each launch could have improved, which helps them improve.

You may not have a team working behind the scenes to craft your press releases. But you can still think through all of the questions your customers and the media will have and try to answer those in advance.

(Did you get this email from a friend? Click here to get your own!)

Cool stuff I've found recently:


This setup also works great for selfie videos when you need to ensure crisp, clear dialogue in a noisy environment!

1. Poetry for Neanderthals - As a content creator, I'm always looking for that perfect word or phrase. This game forces you to do the same while also dumbing down the level of language to that of a, um, neanderthal. We played this with our family and everyone loved it, especially when you get to bop someone with the "NO" stick! Great for kids and adults and everyone in between.

2. Field Notes - Almost all of my notepads and notebooks are the freebies I get from events. While it may still be months before that well dries up, the ones I'm using most are actually some of the most expensive (go figure). Field Notes takes a commodity item and dresses it up with tougher exteriors, a quality paper feel, and just the right sizes for both travel and desktop. Sometimes, just having nice things makes us appreciate all the things a little more (and hopefully gives us better ideas!).

3. Crucial 1TB SSD Drive - If you do a lot of video content, you know how quickly it fills up a laptop's hard drive. This tiny (it's shown at 2x actual size in pic above!) portable external hard drive uses a Solid State (SSD) drive, so there are no moving parts, and it's self powered. This makes it great for backing up and editing on the go. And SSD's are quick, quick, quick, so processing and rendering are snappy, too!

Make it interesting,


Tyler Benedict

PS - Can you forward this to a couple friends that might find it useful? Thanks!

image image image image image

*Any items, services, or products mentioned in these emails are provided solely because I think you'll like them. I don't sell this space, but some of links might be affiliate links, which earns me a small commission (beer money, really) if you buy something. This helps support all the free content. Thanks!