Sorry about my otaku with this issue (otaku = more than a hobby, a little less than an obsession).
Many of you may know me, since I run Imediafax, the Internet to Media Fax Service. I send out over a million news releases a year for people via fax and email. You probably think that I’ve got news releases failing on me day in and day out.
Actually, I don’t. The news releases I write and send out for people do quite well. My clients are quite happy with me because they are successful with their outreach efforts.
It’s the draft news releases that people send to me that are my problem.
Fixing the problems I see in the news releases people send me takes forever. It is also very painful.
I’ve seen a lot of news release failure over the years, and I now know what the key problems look like and how to fix them.
My plight as a publicist is that I spend a lot of time educating my clients trying to get them to understand the psychology of dealing with the media.
The rubber meets the road in the news release because this single sheet of paper is the key nexus for all communications with the media. The importance of the copy on a news release cannot be overstated. It has to be free of negative issues or factors that will reduce or eliminate media interest and response. One fatal error and it’s all over.
So identifying the problems and revising the news releases is crucial. I spend a tremendous amount of time and effort trying to avoid sending out news releases with problems still in them.
The issue is that when people send me news releases, it often takes a long, long time to identify and communicate the problems, and then more time again to explain and negotiate all the word changes with the clients, and more time still to finalize the news release and have it ready and approved for transmittal.
So here are the most common reasons why news releases fail:
1. You wrote an advertisement. It’s not a news release at all. It sells product. It fails to offer solid news of real tangible interest, value-added information, education or entertainment.
2. You wrote for a minority, not for a majority of people in the audience. You simply won’t compete with other news releases that clearly are written for a larger demographic of the media audience.
3. You are the center of attention, not the media audience. You focus on your business and your marketing, instead of things the editor and his or her audience will be interested in.
4. You forgot to put the five W’s up front. (WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN and WHY THE AUDIENCE WILL BE INTERESTED). You didn’t clearly and succinctly tell the media why the audience would be interested in this.
5. You are too wordy and text dense. You focused on details and minutia, instead of the most important ideas, issues, factors, facts, and news angles. You fail to address the real significant impacts your story has on people.
6. You place too much information on one page – the one page news release has a font size so small an editor needs a magnifying glass to read it.