A lot of companies and agencies think press release production is a business of numbers and deadlines – we have to publish one each month, and we have to send it out by x date. However, that is not how things should happen – first you should have something to announce to your clients, partners and the press. Then you have to choose a relevant release date, and only after that, write the news release and start distributing it.
Yet while what we should do is a great PR lesson, we so easily learn from others’ PR fails. Let’s take a company that brings together those in need of PR services with and the agencies they offer them. What they do is public relations matchmaking. One day, the PR department of said company decides they need to draw the attention of potential clients, the world of PR and the media by sending out a press release. So what should they write about? 1000 successful matches made? Huge client everyone runs after used their services to find their agency of record? No, an unnamed hotel chose an unnamed agency to help with their publicity drive.
No names, no details, just a very long quote from the London hotel in question. Plus their own quote and an introductory paragraph that sounds more like something copy/pasted from their about page.
Don’t get me wrong, I love PRweb and use them for online press release distribution. But posting that particular news release on their site was a waste of money, other than having a few links back to their website. The copy is to weak to convince anyone – a serious reporter to cover the news or recommend the service, a client to suddenly sign up and start looking for a PR agency, a respectable public relations practice joining the matchmaking service.
If it wouldn’t be such a well-loved goof – sending out press releases about nothing – I would have never even mentioned them. Please note how I don’t even link to their website. The lesson for today is that absolutely no one enjoys being bored with and having their time wasted by a press release that is so far from being news in any way. Unimpressive stories about business as usual should go into the “nothing to see here or write about” drawer.