Ward to the Wise

Back to the Basics: Press Release Writing – Six Common Mistakes


A press release is only as good as its content. For public relations professionals, it is imperative to understand that unintentional mistakes can damage your credibility with reporters and editors. Journalists are time-crunched and under-resourced, and must make quick decisions about allocating time to cover a story. They can’t afford to waste it reviewing poorly written news releases that do not serve a need for their audiences.

Here, we list six common mistakes that are easy to avoid and ensure your news gets the attention it deserves:

  1. Lack of significance. The most common mistake…failing to make clear the significance of the news.  Very little impact on broad audience, very little news value.
  2. Non-use of AP style. AP style is THE grammar, punctuation and news reporting etiquette widely used and accepted by journalists… and a reporter’s language of choice. If you aren’t speaking it, your news will likely get lost in translation.
  3. Lengthy news releases using jargon. A journalist wants the facts. Include as much information as possible, but be concise and don’t include every little detail. Replace technical industry terms and descriptions with short and easily understandable content.
  4. Ineffective executive quotes. Write quotes relevant to the reader. Use verbiage that drives an audience into action or puts a perspective on an issue that makes a reporter want to use your spokesperson as a source.
  5. Lack of imagery. Reporters and editors are required to produce highly visual content.  Include photos, renderings and video to help tell your story.
  6. No hyperlinks. Provide links to related resource content that will help the reporter understand the story. Also include links to social media, blogs, etc. so your news release will also drive your target audience to content that isn’t news, but useful nonetheless and helpful for search engine optimization efforts.

 As Ward’s clients can attest, by avoiding the common mistakes noted above, a well-written press release will drive both traditional and social media coverage. 

Do you need help crafting highly effective news releases that attract journalists and prospects to you? Contact Ward to cause your intended results.

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