WHY SENDING A PRESS RELEASE IS THE WORST PR TOOL
by Simone Sauter
Often, when people hear the term ‘PR’, the first thing that comes to mind is sending out press releases. So, you might have been surprised to see the title of this article.
‘Press releases are the worst PR tool’? You might be wondering if writing a press release will be a waste of time. Do press releases work?
The truth is, press releases do work…if you’re a huge, well-established brand like Google, Daimler or Siemens.
Unfortunately, if you’re a coach, then press releases won’t work for you in the same way. In this article, I want to share with you exactly why that is – and what coaches can do to reach PR stardom.
So, why is sending a press release the worst PR tool ever?
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REASON #1 – PRESS RELEASES HAVE A BAD REPUTATION WITH JOURNALISTS
One of the main reasons that press releases are the worst PR tool is that journalists don’t like them. Simple as that. Press releases have a really bad reputation with journalists.
Journalists don’t want an impersonal, generic letter announcing your new business. They can’t use that. It’s not a story.
Journalists like personalised contact with experts who offer them great stories their audience will love. Journalists want unique stories from you, not a press release.
REASON #2 – PRESS RELEASES ARE NOT WRITTEN TO INTEREST JOURNALISTS
Now, the second reason journalists don’t like press releases is that most are really badly written.
Press releases don’t work for coaches, because they’re far too business centred. They don’t contain any information a journalist actually wants. They are more like advertising than a story pitch. Press releases are ME ME ME. “This is my company. This is what we do. This is what we offer.”
None of that is of interest to a journalist. Your relationship with a journalist must be symbiotic – you give them a story, and they boost your visibility. If it’s all you, then there is nothing for them, and you won’t be successful.
Only very few press releases actually tell a story, and this is another reason why they are the worst PR tool.
I speak from experience. I have been working in a radio station for eight years. It’s absolutely shocking what companies feel is newsworthy to a journalist. If you want to reach journalists, you need to learn how to pitch to them properly.
REASON #3 – JOURNALISTS PREFER EMAILS TO BE PERSONALISED
Another reason that press releases don’t work for coaches is that journalists prefer personalised emails. This is something that I’ve mentioned in other articles.
To be successful with PR, you need to find the right journalist. Then you need to find the right angle to tell your story. It needs to be interesting to the journalist you have in mind – so, research them thoroughly beforehand.
Before you write the personalised email to your chosen journalist, be sure you understand the principles of writing a great pitch. Sending out a generic press release will get you nowhere.
Offer journalists a very personalised story that fits into their niche, and your chances of success will significantly increase.
REASON #4 – PRESS RELEASES REACH THE WRONG JOURNALISTS
Press releases don’t work for coaches, because they are frequently sent to press mailing lists. These lists consist of hundreds of media contacts.
The media industry is very fast paced, and journalists are often moving between outlets, so these press mailing lists are not updated as often as they should be. Because of this, a lot of contacts on the lists are not always up to date.
Some journalists are put on these lists by mistake, or just on the off-chance they might be interested. This creates a situation where some journalists get hundreds of emails a day for press releases not even aimed at them, because it’s not in their field of interest.
So, press releases are often time-wasting for both coaches and journalists, because they often get sent to journalists without consideration of what topics they cover.
REASON #5 – JOURNALISTS DON’T READ EMAILS WITH ‘PRESS RELEASE’ IN THE SUBJECT LINE
Another reason that press releases are the worst PR tool is that many journalists will simply not open your email if your subject line contains the term press release.
In some cases, depending on how long they’ve been working as a journalist (and how annoyed they are with press releases), journalists may set filters on their email to automatically delete emails that include the term press release’ in the subject line.
Remember, you need to send story ideas to journalists – never actually write or mention a press release. When you’re crafting your subject line, you need to think about what the journalist will be most interested in.
Your subject line needs to sell your story, whilst steering clear of clickbait. Press release in the subject line is not good. What’s worse is an exciting subject line that doesn’t deliver in terms of content.
So, focus on making sure your story is interesting for journalists, and find an accurate, exciting subject line that fits with the story.
These are the five reasons a press release is the worst PR tool ever. So, now you might be wondering, ‘Simone, what are the best PR tools?’
Want to learn more about my PR techniques? Download my free “3 Million Case Study”, where I share with you my Publicity Rockstar Method, which my clients and I use to get featured in top media outlets, including InStyle, Cosmopolitan, and Closer.
If you’re looking to get started with your PR and become your own publicist (without falling into the pitfalls of bad press releases), then schedule a discovery call with me today!