Why News Releases Fail

Sorry about my otaku with this issue (otaku = more than a hobby, a little less than an obsession).

Many of you may know me, since I run Imediafax, the Internet to Media Fax Service. I send out over a million news releases a year for people via fax and email. You probably think that I’ve got news releases failing on me day in and day out. bio

Actually, I don’t. The news releases I write and send out for people do quite well. My clients are quite happy with me because they are successful with their outreach efforts.

It’s the draft news releases that people send to me that are my problem.

Fixing the problems I see in the news releases people send me takes forever. It is also very painful.

I’ve seen a lot of news release failure over the years, and I now know what the key problems look like and how to fix them.

My plight as a publicist is that I spend a lot of time educating my clients trying to get them to understand the psychology of dealing with the media.

The rubber meets the road in the news release because this single sheet of paper is the key nexus for all communications with the media. The importance of the copy on a news release cannot be overstated. It has to be free of negative issues or factors that will reduce or eliminate media interest and response. One fatal error and it’s all over.

So identifying the problems and revising the news releases is crucial. I spend a tremendous amount of time and effort trying to avoid sending out news releases with problems still in them.

The issue is that when people send me news releases, it often takes a long, long time to identify and communicate the problems, and then more time again to explain and negotiate all the word changes with the clients, and more time still to finalize the news release and have it ready and approved for transmittal.

Honestly – it can be very painful for all involved. I’m quite brutal on my clients, since their success is all that matters. I don’t pull any punches. My comment process can bruise a lot of highly inflated egos of some otherwise very accomplished people, on the way to a problem free news release that maximizes the chances of success when finally sent. Lots of people think they can write a news release. Very few of them can do it very well.

They simply haven’t followed the media response to enough news releases to learn the errors that are made when they write news releases. They haven’t yet learned what the mistakes are, so there is no learning from continuous improvement.

This is where the blood, sweat and tears of the copywriting business is truly found. It gets even tougher when another professional publicist wrote the news release for the client. Now the client is getting opposing advice from two professionals. One says “Make it Hot” and the other says “Cool it”. What’s a publicist to do?

So my motivations for doing this article are really quite selfish. I want to spend less time doing this. My life will be significantly improved if my clients send me news releases that take less time and energy to fix. Very simply, for each and every news release that comes in and doesn’t have these problems, I’ll free myself to spend more time doing things that are more profitable for my clients and me.

The issues listed here have all been identified as reasons for the failure of a news release. This is based on over 20 years of experience in dealing with the aftermath – the actual number and quality of responses generated from the transmittal of a news release.

So here are the most common reasons why news releases fail: