PR Week recently ran a survey of journalists to garner their feedback on the most common pitfalls brands and agencies fall into when writing press releases. Designed to be light hearted we thought some of their top findings were worth sharing. Certainly worth a read.
- Supplying the right imagery. Considered one of the most common pit falls, many journalists commented on their frustrations with receiving poor images (ie not high res enough for print) or no images at all. As the saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words” so forget them at you peril!
- Be careful with research – always make sure the sample size is a representative sample of the pool of people you are surveying. Avoid anything under 50 people unless it is a very niche audience and always ensure your research is independent and not too “self serving.” You don’t want to prompt the response “but research from you would say that!”
- Keep it succinct. Journalists are under time pressures just like everyone else so making sure you make your points concisely is key.
- Certain words or phrases were also fairly universally condemned such as:
- “Driving” or “delivering” – Unless you work in the automotive or logistics sectors avoid the term driving e.g “driving new business” or “driving results” – switch to “growing” or “increasing” instead.
- Hyberbolic words or phrases such as “I am thrilled to be joining company X.”
- “The world’s first” – this is always difficult to justify so avoid using it unless it can be proven.
- Similarly, avoid using the word “leading” and change it to something more specific e.g “the UK’s biggest supermarket” with stats to justify your position.
- “State of the art,” “experienced” and “innovative” are three other woolly phrases that need more specific detail and justification.
We’ll certainly be taking these lessons forward in our writing – you can be the judge!