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Are you making these common PR mistakes?

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Press releases are a popular tactic to gain media attention for your brand. Whether you are promoting an event or something else newsworthy happening for your company, there are guidelines that you should follow. All too often companies get so wrapped up in the content and edits when writing a release that mistakes sneak into the final copy. So, before you send your final press release copy onto the newswires, check for these common mistakes and ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Is your headline too long? Sometimes we try to fit so much information in the title; it ends up too long and doesn’t do its job of immediately grabbing the attention of the reader. Remember that the media professionals you are trying to reach are very busy and read thousands of headlines a day. Don’t let them get bored and pass over your entire release because of a long and convoluted title. While there isn’t a specific guideline for how many words or characters your title should have, you should go back and rework it after you are done so that you can be sure that your title is on track and hits the right message concisely and spectacularly.
  2. Is it to the point? Lists or bullet points are great for press releases. This idea goes back to the busy media professional you are targeting; a list catches the eye and is easy to read. If a list or bullet point doesn’t fall in line with the content in your release, then make sure to trim it down and make it as concise and to the point as possible. This is not the place for filler content. Keep to one topic. If you have more than one event or topic going on, do not combine them into one press release.
  3. Is your release newsworthy? You probably already know that a press release should be something that is newsworthy. However, often times in writing the release, the salesperson in you can come out and start to speak. When you are done writing the release, go back and make sure to remove anything that is an opinion, sales forward, or wouldn’t appeal to a busy reporter.
  4. Did you use multimedia in your release? Pictures and video attract attention much more than text alone. If you can develop a short video related to your content it will go a long way towards grabbing the attention of your target audience. In addition, you will be able to use that video content in your other marketing efforts.
  5. Are you following up after the release? When you use media monitoring, you will be able to stay on track and gauge interest and publishing of your content. Follow up and contact reporters that show interest in your release. Monitor any pickup and measure the results so that you can justify the cost of the release.

Answering these five questions and going through these checks and balances before launching your release will help ensure the success of your media efforts. Remember to choose a concise and punchy title, make the body of the release to the point, ensure it is newsworthy, use multimedia to attract more attention and follow up after the release is launched. These steps will make your press releases effective and worth the effort we know it takes to put into them.

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