1. The copy is filled with superlatives. Many years ago, “The Wall Street Journal” ran an article featuring the 20 words most likely to get a press release rejected. They included terms like unique, revolutionary, and world-class. You get the idea. An advertisement dressed up like a press release is still an advertisement! Lipstick on a pig.
2. The copy is too long. One of the reasons for this is a lack of creativity, lack of discipline, and a lack of limits. What permitted the miniaturization of electronic devices were size limits imposed by product development teams. If you’re preparing a press release for a magazine or web column, then keep it brief and double-spaced on one page. Editors don’t have the time to read two- and three-page press releases.
3. The copy is too “I-centric” and it is clear that the company is trying to get free exposure, rather than provide editors, web hosts and ultimately readers with meaningful solutions to their problems. In addition, rather than including facts and data to substantiate performance, the press release includes quotes from the press release writer’s boss. Product releases are about products and applications; not quoting bosses with big egos.
4. The product photography used is left over from a photo shoot for a catalog or website and doesn’t communicate effectively. Consequently, the photograph is too plain and editors or web viewers are not “inspired” to inquire further. With collateral materials you can include multiple photographs to highlight features and make each selling point, whereas with product publicity you only get one opportunity to tell the story.
5. The press release isn’t integrated with your overall marketing program and hasn’t been crafted to achieve specific results. The value of a product release isn’t defined by how much information it includes, but whether it achieves its desired objective. For example, appealing to OEMs, supporting distributors, or finding new market niches by offering information and solutions relating to them.
6. The media list is too limited and doesn’t reflect all of the horizontal and vertical markets that might potentially apply. This results from a lack of understanding of media outlets and how they gather and use news and information. Consistent with the media strategy, the copy is often too focused and doesn’t relate to all of the potential media outlets.
7. The press release isn’t distributed personally to editors at media outlets as well as through a high-quality internet news distribution service such as Marketwired or Business Newswire. The benefits of these services include the ability to embed links and video to achieve widespread distribution and a positive impact on search results.
The bottom line is that you have to give product publicity the respect it deserves to reap the benefits it can provide. Most product publicity fails because it wasn’t properly prepared.
© 2014 Steven M. Stroum