A publisher’s rep and long-time friend forwarded me a product release a while back. Enclosed was a note, “Boy do they need help.” It was a poorly written form letter with a brochure and photos attached. I called the company, the guy said he did it himself (no kidding) and it was free. So if he gets something out of it OK, if not it didn’t cost him anything.
Like many Do-It-Yourself (DIY) advertisers that generate their own Press Releases, it was done all wrong. Most clients like to pack in as much copy as possible into their new product releases. Some consider it an advertisement or a promotion for their entire product line. It isn’t! Here are some of the biggest mistakes that marketers make when they try to produce their own PR…
- Trying to sell the item in a form letter. A product release is supposed to be an independent evaluation of a product. It is not and advertisement! As Joe Friday of Dragnet used to say, “Just give me the facts…”
- Writing a rambling story. PR should be written in a “reverse pyramid” format. That means important facts first, more details as you go. Editors often cut PR from the bottom up so all important info should be in the lead sentences.
- Trying to sell the company. The reader of product information does not want to know about history of the manufacturer, it’s reputation or the facilities’ capabilities. It all about the product!
- Promoting the entire product line. A new product release should focus on features, benefits and specifications of a single product. Some marketers feel they can promote everything they sell in one all-inclusive product release. It doesn’t work.
- Sending poor quality photos. To save money, some advertisers include snapshots they took of their product. If ‘A picture is worth a thousand words,’ what does your snapshot say about the quality of your product?
- Including sales brochures. Editors really don’t care about your sales pitch. PR is not advertising hype! It is about presenting one product at a time.
- Selecting the wrong media. Just because a publication, an on-line website or Social Media will run your product, does not mean it is reaching your target market. In fact it may hurt your image. It is important to match the message to the media.
For the above reasons and several others, Press Release production is best left up to the professionals. A PR agency or Marketing Consultant knows how to create and produce the properly formatted material, select the appropriate media, contact and follow-up to running of a professional prepared Product Release. Tom Smisek is a Marketing Consultant based out of Orange County.