Writing a news release is something every PR major should know how to do long before they receive their degree.
We practiced it over and over in class after class. When we get out in the professional world, we are sending that news release to more than just a professor. So if you make mistakes it will result in much worse than a bad grade.
When you’re a Public Relations Professional, everything you say and send reflects back on the company you work for. When you send a bad news release, the chances of a journalist writing a story or a blogger writing a post go down dramatically.
There are many mistakes made when writing news releases that may seem so basic they shouldn’t need a reminder. But those are the ones you need to check for every time.
Grammatical Errors: Proofread, proofread, proofread. Nothing makes you look unprofessional faster than spelling and grammar mistakes. It’s easy to fix, and looks lazy when unchecked.
ALL CAPS: Nobody likes being yelled at. In today’s technology-ridden society, most people read text that they write in all caps as yelling, and that is not a good way to promote yourself or your company. If you feel something needs emphasis, use a different tactic like italics or bold text, which shows the emphasis without making the reader feel like you’re shouting it at them.
Too Much Content: Making sure your reader has all of the information is important, but when that person is getting dozens of emails every day, they aren’t going to want to read every single detail about the company and its mission. Get them the information for the specific topic you’re covering, and make sure you include full contact information. If they want to know more, they’ll get in touch with you.
Not Enough Content: On the other side of the coin, you need to give your reader enough information that they know exactly what the news release is about. They should know the answers to all of the basic questions, and should only need to contact you for more depth to their story.
Obvious Advertising: Yes, you work for a company and you need to promote that company. But a press release is not an advertisement. The press release is promotional in nature but should remain objective. Your press release should not sound like you’re trying to get someone to buy into your company or your product. It is an overview of what you’re trying to sell (whether that is a product or idea) without asking them to buy it.
While these tips may seem obvious, they are easily over-looked. Remember to always follow AP style and keep your audience in mind. We all have our own writing flaws but by looking out for the basics, it is easier to make everyone happy by giving the journalist a story and getting your company coverage.
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