Why doesn’t my press release say I’m marvellous?
There’s a fine line in PR between getting a positive message across and writing an advert.
It’s a constant tightrope that we walk, teetering between the needs of our clients and the needs of the publications we send content to.
The needs of the media
We know that in order to get our clients’ releases in the press they need to be written in a style that the publication can just pick up and drop into the paper.
Providing content in this way gives us a greater chance of the story being published ((journalists will always choose a ready-to-go story over one they will need to spend hours rewriting) and also improves our relationship with the media (we are seen as a trusted source that always sends helpful content).
This means they are written in a news style (a simple report of who, what, when, where, why) and are not 'advertorial' in tone. Adjectives and opinion are not used in press releases (unless within a quote) because almost all media forbid this within news stories. Adjectives are generally seen as opinion and therefore cannot feature in news stories.
Bryony Gordon, Telegraph feature writer and columnist, says: "I receive over 100 emails a day and a release that sees a PR blowing the trumpet of a product or event they are paid to publicise isn't going to grab my attention - if anything, it's going to irritate! A simple, direct release is the way forward (or even better a phonecall, though not when I'm on deadline at 4pm) - something that is short and punchy is always preferable. Also, the key is not to make it look like a release. If we think we are receiving something sent to absolutely everyone, we'll probably just delete it on sight (cruel, but you have to be cruel to be kind)."
The needs of the client
Clients who are new to PR can sometimes find this a bit of a shock, as they expect the press release to be a blow-by-blow account of why they are so marvellous. After all, they’re paying for it to be written so it should say exactly what they want it to say, right?
Wrong. Trust the experts - they know what they’re doing!
Luckily at CG our clients are switched on and know themselves that writing a release in this way is the best thing for their company.
One such client who knows the way the media works is Jo Dixie from PSP. She says: “One of our bug bears at PSP is fluffy press release writing. We don’t have to tell everyone how great we are at what we do - the facts speak for themselves! That’s why we love the way CG writes our press releases and builds our relationship with the media by providing content them with ready-to-use content every time.”
Where the talent lies
A PR executive’s talent in press release writing is ensuring they place key messages into press releases while still adhering to the points mentioned above. They do this by placing key points in quotes or within sentences that they believe the publication is unlikely to cut or reword.
So, in answer to your question, your press release doesn’t say directly that you’re marvellous because if it did, it wouldn’t get used.
What the press release does do is cleverly infer you’re marvelous by suggesting it through statement of positive facts.