Friday, August 28, 2009

GUEST POST: Advice from a Freelance PR Writer to Press Release Seekers

Over at her blog, The Irreverent Freelancer, Kathy Kehrli keeps deadbeats, low-ballers and scammers in line with her sharp-as-nails commentary on crummy job listings and unrealistic client expectations. Even the ballsiest lowball employers don't dare utter the phrase "easy job if you know what you're doing" in her earshot--and her flat-out refusal to be taken advantage of serves as an inspiration to freelancers everywhere.

Advice from a Freelance PR Writer to Press Release Seekers
By Kathy Kehrli

In my freelance writing journey, I’m often faced with press release clients who want everything but the kitchen sink tossed in to their media releases. In such instances, I always take the time to point out the error of their ways. If all reasoning fails, I proceed with incorporating the changes asked for, grinding my teeth all the while.

You can be sure, however, such press releases certainly won’t be added to my portfolio anytime in the next millennium. Why? Because they break way too many rules.

On that note, I thought I’d take some time to make an informative post about what a press release should and/or should not do. If it saves one press release writer from having to explain all these rules to a clueless client, then it’s well worth the effort.

1. A press release should not read like a sales pitch. The key word here is newsworthy. If all you’re trying to do is sell something, buy an ad.

2. A press release should have one clear angle. If you’re debuting a new product, aligning with another company, running a discount promotion, now shipping internationally, etc., etc., good for you. But don’t ask that a single press release cover all those topics. Not only does such a mish-mash of ideas turn off the media, it confuses anyone who reads the PR. Pick a topic, any topic, and stick to it. Want all these things covered? Then, don’t be a cheapskate. Pay a competent writer to craft you four targeted press releases, not one. The return on investment will make it well worth your while, trust me.

3. Do not use a press release to pick a personal bone. I recently had a client who wanted me to write her a press release about her argument with her son’s private school. I declined, informing her it left way too much room for personal litigation. Although I never heard back from her on that front, she must have appreciated my straightforwardness because she was back a few weeks later asking for a second corporate PR.

What are some of your pet-peeve press release experiences?

1 comment:

Kathy@TheFlawlessWord said...

Thanks for the opportunity! I hope you're having a fabuolous vacation.