Halloween Special – Top Five Press Release Killing Mistakes

 November 2, 2011
It’s Halloween week so in honor of the great holiday, and the great pumpkin himself, we will look at something seriously scary – the ten greatest mistakes that can turn your interesting and informative press release into a house of horrors that nobody will ever see again… 

1) Bad Headline

“Our New Product”; “We appoint a new CEO” or “Top Sales Figures Recorded” may be entirely accurate but they don’t set the pulse racing. I nearly fell asleep writing them so how do you think your readers will react when they see them? A headline is the gateway to the release – at it has to be indicative of the content but also entertaining and enticing enough to draw the reader in. You may have written the best release in the world but if the headline is pedestrian then it won’t matter.

2) No SEO

In the Search Engine age, a press release without adequate SEO terms, anchor links and tags is practically invisible amongst the hundreds that are released each and every day via press release websites and email. A large number of press releases are still written as if they are being sent to a print newspaper or magazine and will be read by a single named person. Bing, Yahoo and Google do not operate this way. SEO is how a search engine ‘reads’ a release so without it, it might as well be a blank page.

3) No Links

The modern press release can also take advantage of another boon of the Internet – links.  You can direct the reader to your website or other dynamic content such as video, audio or sharable social media content. Even the driest press release can be enlivened and improved through the addition of some simple links.

4) Poor Formatting/Spelling

Nothing leaps out from a poorly constructed press release more than bad spelling or poor formatting. As well as detracting from the message of the release, it ruins the reputation of the writer. With spelling and grammar checkers built into any package as standard, it is disrespectful and lazy to issue a release without applying one in the first instance. You shouldn’t just rely on the technology at hand however, always give a release a last look before issuing. If a word is spelled correctly but used improperly then the electronic checker may not pick it up in time.

5) Attack at your peril

Every company has achievements and results it can boast about. Unique selling points, great sales results, fantastic appointments – any positive story is worthy of spreading far and wide.  What the writer must also do is avoid belittling or attacking the competition. It might seem like a good idea but to the public, it will look like boasting or gloating. If your company is so great, why do you have to mention the competition?  You might even be doing them a favor if you do mention them.

Avoid these major press release mistakes and your releases will avoid a fate worse than death!

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