In 1906 Ivy Lee wrote the first press release. The New York Times published the full message without changing even one word. Now, 100 years later, that’s slightly different. Editors receive tons of press releases on a daily basis. Most of them (90%) are never red or immediately end up in the bin because:
1…the timing is off
Daily media have their meetings at the beginning or the end of the day. When your press release arrives after 10 o’clock, most of the time the content for that day is already determined.
2…its not the right medium
Editors often receive press releases which are not at all interesting for their medium. For example, a men’s magazine is not the right place to pitch a new make-up product. Be careful using press- or media lists to send out your press release. Don’t spam editors with one universal press release, it’s pointless and gets people irritated.
3…its not the right person
Another disadvantage of using press- or media lists, usually they only consist of general email addresses. These messages end up in a general inbox which limits the chance of your press release ending up with the right person.
Ok, you still have about 10% chance your press release will get noticed. Even then, all kinds of things can go wrong such as:
4…its not newsworthy
Of course your news is important to you. But be honest, is it really that interesting for other people as well? In order for a press release to make any chance for publishing at all, your news should be actual, striking, important and interesting for the mediums target group.
5…its not good enough
Writing a really good press release takes practice and a lot of time. A google search ‘how to write a press release’ gives at least 500.000 results. Let’s be honest, if you never wrote one before, the chances to impress someone with your first ever written press release are quite unlikely. Often, writing great headlines is the first challenge. Editors scan the headlines of press releases and only pick the ones with a great headline. So your headline is an essential part!
6…your news is overshadowed
Let’s say you managed to write a killer press release, and send it at the right moment to the right medium and the right person, when the King announces his abdication…
7…it doesn’t appeal to the journalist
Every journalist has his or her own preferences and opinion. So there are subjects that don’t appeal to them at all. Or they think enough is said about it.
So if you ask me, creating and sending out press releases the way we are used to for years, is such a waste of time. Times have changed! There are so much more effective ways to share your news with an interested audience. How to do that, we will share in our next blog!