Technology

Press releases going unnoticed? These mistakes could be why

Write professionally and clearly -- and show why readers should care
  • Avoid buzzwords and trendy catchphrases in your press releases
  • If you say a product or company is changing an industry, be ready to prove it

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Inman writers receive a lot of press releases.

Understandably, not all of them get attention for which they were intended. This is the nature of today’s press release. It’s become an over-used tool of the marketing professional.

Sorry. It’s true.

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And that means you’ll need to have your press releases and pitches ready to go — and on point.

If a press release isn’t regarded as well as its sender may have hoped, the reasons are many.

I have a word-based gauge that I employ to determine the level of attention I’ll apply to a new product announcement. I scan for instances of the following:

  • industry-leading
  • disrupt
  • never before
  • unique
  • real-time
  • game changer

And without trying to sound too much like captain of grammar police …

  • informal capitalizations
  • literally
  • automagically

If what’s above is in the release, its odds of deletion grow ten-fold.

A single use case better have a darn good subject line to compensate.

Clever turns of phrase are always well-regarded, but gory hyperbolic euphemisms standing in for demonstrable features and value serve only to demean your pitch.

Is a product really industry-leading? Without actual numbers, it isn’t.

If you want a good case study for use of the word “disrupt,” look at Amazon and its impact on bricks-and-mortar book sales and Napster’s role in the music industry.

Unless a product can be shown to be actively dismantling a long-standing industry presence, leave that word alone.

Is a product really industry-leading? Without actual numbers, it isn’t.

Nothing is better in a press release than authenticity, clarity and a confident answer to this question: “Why should our readers care about this product?”

Professionalism and grammatical coherence will help your cause, but understand that most reporters are amenable to a few typos. We know real estate agents and small business leaders and software developers aren’t blessed with editors or access to a stack of style books.

We won’t ignore or devalue a press release because of some style issues.

But if you believe your product is a “game changer,” you’d better be able to prove it in the release or give us enough incentive to want to prove it.

Something that never ceases to fascinate me is the number of companies that don’t believe they have competitors. I assure you, you have competitors.

Your company will not receive media-coverage demerits because another product offers a similar solution. In fact, embrace the competition — tell us what your product is doing differently.

Overall, authenticity will carry your product miles beyond fluff.

“Why should our readers care about this product?”

Be humble; know that a great software product doesn’t have to shield every corner of the industry from inefficiency. Even it does, one can’t possibly succinctly cover all of that in a press release.

A quick run-down of features is good when accompanied by a focus on the most pertinent challenges being addressed.

Solving just one problem for an agency is plenty. You never know what a customer deems a priority.

Most importantly, build all of your arguments for press coverage around solving that one problem.

In summation: Don’t overhype. It’s OK if you’re not changing the world.

Is anyone asking you to?

Have a technology product you would like to discuss? Email Craig Rowe.