Press Release 101 Redux

Brevity in press release-writing has been stated, written, brayed about, beaten into PR neophytes, and taught in college PR classes, exhaustively.  Why, then, are PR people are still sending multiple-page press releases that end up in an editor’s round file, because they’re too lengthy to read, they don’t get to the point in the first three sentences, and the facts are hidden in the fourth paragraph? Moreover, we’re seeing a blurring of lines between promotional and advertising copy that is referred to as a “press release.”  Promotional copy is integral in the marketing process, but it should not be confused with publicity writing. This blog shows some interesting distinctions between ad and publicity writing.

Editors and media staff writers have more to think about nowadays than recycling paper that doesn’t fit their editorial needs. Those hanging on to their jobs are assuming more editorial duties as newsrooms continue to shrink. We as PR professionals can help by creating press releases that fit the standard and by writing promotional copy that is clearly targeted toward the promotion of goods or services.

Publicity writers can ensure that their press release enjoys the best chance of getting used, not to mention that they will save editors a lot of grief:

–Keep releases to one page, at least 1.5 inch linear spacing, with at least .75-inch margins.
–Editors sometimes lift factual copy from a press release, so it’s unwise to send them pdf’s of press releases.
–It’s risky to embed jpegs into a Word document, then copy the text and images into the body of an email. Some recipients receive it garbled, featuring lots of weird code.
–Instead of a multiple-page press release, use one or two back-links that go to a landing page about the service or product mentioned in the press release.
–Note at the top of the release that good images and more background on the product or service is available at… then give the website site or email through which the reader can get more. information.