Written by Annalise Corman

Every week we distribute press releases for clients.  Some we write, but frequently, we simply pass along the information that our clients have written.   We often need to ask our client to rework the press release.   Here are 5 common mistakes rookies, and sometimes not so rookie, professionals make when writing press releases.

Failure to include contact info
This tip seems silly but you can’t imagine how frequently the contact information is left off of releases. Contact information not only gives you credibility but it allows reporters and news sources to follow up or offer your company a feature or interview. Without this information you will be lucky to be picked up by any source.

Burying the important information in the middle of your piece
Most people don’t read an entire piece unless it is riveting and let’s face it most press releases are not great works of literature. Put the most important information in the first and second paragraphs to get your message out there and hopefully keep people reading.

Sending large pictures with your release
Sending a large attachment along with your release may prevent the release from getting to its intended destination. It may also clog up in boxes or bounce back. Pictures are a nice addition to any release but keep them transferable to make the process simple.

Using a crummy format
There is a certain format for releases – trust me I took an entire class in school, PR Tech, which focused on format of public relations collateral. If you want the big dogs to pick up your release you better know how to do it right. You may be picked up without it but you will seem more professional, polished and publishable if you know the tricks of the trade.

Sending carelessly
Sure you can go and just submit your release to a bunch of people and places online, cross your fingers and hope for the best; but it is better if you have thought out a strategy. You need to send it to the people who are most likely going to care about this topic: trade publications, section editors, etc. You also have to follow up and follow their process, most publications have a certain way of obtaining press. These people get thousands of emails, not to mention releases, a week. If you send it the wrong place they are probably going to place it in the circular file, if you know what I mean.

These are just a few tips to make your releases the best possible. There are no guarantees in the PR world so don’t get frustrated.  Take a few extra minutes to make sure you are doing your best to get your story out there. Most important, keep on being newsworthy.