Worst. Press Release. Ever.

Nov 26, 2020 11:36 am

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Here's how to make sure your press release doesn't suck... or how to fix it!

Hello Content Creators!


There's something going around this year.


It's contagious.


Your brand might have caught it, but it's the media who's getting sick of it.


2020 was a total shit show for many reasons, but I'm talking about the crap being passed off as press releases.


It's spreading like a virus, and lots of brands have succumb to this bug.


I can't explain, but I can help you fix it.


How to write a Press Release that doesn't suck

Hearing that your PR might suck is a tough pill to swallow. But you can nurse it back to health by making sure every press release has these essentials:


• Descriptive title that explains what's up in one sentence

Embargo Day / Date / Time Zone

Bullet point list of key newsworthy points, at top of PR

Full press release text (preferably sans glowing marketing hyperbole)

Key images, preferably embedded inside text where appropriate

Contact info with phone number

Download link or zipped attachment with all images


That's not a lot, right?!?

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You'd be surprised how many people get it wrong

Let me expand on a few of these items.


EMBARGO: If you don't include the time AND time zone in your embargo, then someone's going to post it early and mess up your carefully crafted launch plans. And the media that didn't go first? They'll be pissed that someone else did, but that pissy-ness will be directed toward you for not laying out the rules.


Also helpful if you provide at least a day before the embargo is up. More technical information = more time needed to prepare.


DETAILS: If the written press release can't succinctly explain what's new or important, include charts, graphs and images to fill in the gaps. It's OK to leave out some of the super geekery, but things like price, availability, etc., are basic info that should be included.


It's OK to make us work to create a truly exceptional story, just don't make us ask for the basics.


CONTACT INFO: And if you're going to make us work for it, have people available. We're just as slammed as you, make it easy for us to call, message or email the people who can actually answer our questions...and make sure they reply.


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IMAGES: Lastly, make sure your image download link works.


Actually, first, make sure you have actual images available to go with your story. (yes, you are interpreting that correctly...not every press release actually included product images this year)


Then, make sure we can actually download your images. Quickly, easily, without having to request permission. Seriously.


If it doesn't kill ya...

A bad press release may not kill you, but it certainly doesn't make you stronger.


Don't make us sick. Or facepalm. Use the tips above to craft a solid (if basic) press release and start getting better coverage.


(Did you get this email forwarded to you? Don't worry, it's probably not commentary on your press releases. But if you'd like more great tips on working with the media, subscribe here.)



A Recent Content Project

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This one's not mine, but I literally laughed out loud at this Arby's TV commercial for their Deep Fried Turkey Sandwich. Watch it here.


I won't ruin it for you by describing the jokes, but I will explain why this works so you can apply the humor to your own content.


Quite simply, it works because of honesty.


It says what we're thinking, which isn't something you'd expect a corporation to say. But it's true, and it's funny to hear them present it so nonchalantly.


What process does your product go through that prevents other people from just making it themselves? How can you use that to surprise and delight someone and make your content memorable and shareable?


PRO TIP: See what Google sees

Welcome to the new section that's ONLY for newsletter subscribers...I won't be putting these on my blog. This week's Pro Tip comes from Tyler Bishop, CMO at Ezoic:


"You can use Google Cloud Natural Language to see how Google is interpreting your website's content.


This shows how they rank related words and phrases within your content and compare it to the search query's intent. This gives you incredible insights into how to create content that's more likely to rank for the appropriate categories, topics and words relevant to your brand."


If you want to go down that rabbit hole, Bishop gave an excellent presentation on this and explains "search intent" in much greater detail. Because Google's looking at more than keywords - they look at syntax, intent and sentiment, too!


Cool Stuff I've Found

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This week, it's anti "stuff"...


Usually, I list three items I've enjoyed using recently. This week, it's not "things", but people. See, right now, I'm quarantining in my office because there's a (I argue small) chance I was exposed to the 'Rona.


Better safe than sorry.


So it's been a few days since I've been able to chill with my wife and kids (that's us at Badlands National Park up above). Most nights we'll watch a movie, play XBOX, or just sit around the dinner table. Not this week. I didn't think I'd actually miss making everyone an amazing-but-completely-unappreciated breakfast every morning, but I can't wait to build a towering stack of whole-grain blueberry pancakes for them.


As you're diving face first into a pile of Turkey with your "bubble", enjoy the time together, stay safe, and slow down enough to appreciate the little things. And of course...


Gobble gobble,


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Tyler Benedict


PS - Were these tips and examples helpful? Forward them to a marketing friend and so they make better PR, too! Thanks!


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*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 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!


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