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Your press release is aimed at the wrong audience

When I first started working as a journalist, I signed up for every possible press release related to my sector. From the most arbitrary organisations to the big political parties and over-enthusiastic corporates.
It wasn't long before I began clicking the unsubscribe button. The majority of PR agencies representing big business, comms officers in the political environments and the marketing consultant hidden in the office in the corner, still misidentify the target audience of a press release.

Since then I've moved to the other side and started writing press releases for the different organisations I worked for and even now at my own agency, if there is one thing I reiterate to my writers it is that they must know their audience.

Aimed at the journalist

Rule #1 - the press release is aimed at the journalist and not the general public. This is a golden rule and should not be ignored. I can't count how many press releases I've read that are aimed at the reader of the intended publication. The journalist/writer uses your press releases as a source of information and hopefully for a quote. How the writer structures the story is up to them, but how you structure your story is up to you.

Don't write the statement with your target clientele in mind. I am certainly not going to bore you with details on how to write a press release, but I will say that communications 101 theory is that you apply the inverted pyramid structure, most important info first people. Subs cut from the bottom.

Even if you're trying to twist the arm of the journo with your statement by forcing promotional advert type info, try and do it in a way that makes it easy for him/her to write the story from an objective point of view. The more self-congratulatory nonsense about how brilliant your company is, the less chance anybody is going to use it.

In conclusion, it is always best to follow a certain industry writer's work to gain insight into their topic choices and writing style, this way when you're writing your press release, structure is for that journo and maybe he'll give you an exclusive feature.
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About Rudi Massyn

Writer and Digital Media and Communications consultant. Director at Massyn Media. www.massynmedia.com