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The annoying corporate habit of mindlessly promoting irrelevant press releases with unclear call-to-actions.

by JERRY SILVER // Twitter, Facebook, Instagram
Digital PR specialist and CEO at Spin Factory

“The press release is dead,” some say.

Well, calm down.

Businesses will have to issue official statements to the general public in the future, too. Neatly packaged information (aka “content marketing”) is great, but businesses must also keep their audience up to speed with what’s going on.

However, there are two common PR practices for press releases that drive me crazy.

I plead with you, communication professionals of the world, please stop doing this:

Bad Practice 1: Mindless Distribution

There’s nothing wrong with creating a not-so-interesting press release and adding it to your online newsroom. Even though it might not be interesting to anyone outside the organization, these types of press releases add up to a timeline that indicates progress. They can serve as milestone markers!

But here’s what’s driving me crazy:

  • Why on earth are so many organizations going out of their way to distribute these press releases outside of their online newsroom?
  • Why are they trying to get these texts in front of people who, if they were interested, would come to your site looking for the information?

Not only does promoting these press releases cost real time and money, but they also tend to irritate the recipients, too1. This spray-and-pray tactic is potentially causing more harm than anything else.

The solution:

Upload the press release to your online newsroom and be done with it.

Bad Practice 2: Vague CTAs

Imagine someone seeing a link to your press release on LinkedIn. It could happen, right? Then imagine how that person decides to click over to your site to read your press release — all the way through to the end. Such an individual are apparently actively interested in what you have to say, which makes these people a high-value public. Awesome!

But here’s what’s driving me crazy:

People who read your press releases from beginning to end are obviously important. So what call-to-action (CTA) are you offering to this exclusive group of individuals?

“For more information:”

I swear a kitten dies every time …

More information about what? If something is missing from the press release — why isn’t it included? And why are you trying to move me away from your website and over to phone or email?

The solution:

Include a clear CTA at the end of your press release. (Anyone who reads your press releases all the way through deserves it!)

Newbie bonus: Download a template that will show you how to write and structure a relevant press release.

Notes:

  1. Publicly traded companies in most countries must distribute any new information via press releases to a variety of news outlets.

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Behind the keyboard:

Jerry Silver is the author of Doctor Spin, a PR blog that's been around for 15+ years. Via his agency Spin Factory, Jerry is advising brands on how to adapt to a 'digital first' world. In 2016, Cision Scandinavia named him "PR Influencer of the Year". Jerry lives in Stockholm, Sweden with his wife Lisah, news anchor and television host, and their three-year-old son, Jack.

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