As a magazine editor I receive hundreds, maybe thousands of press releases every week. I also receive many products with requests for published reviews. It’s still quite shocking that there are huge PR companies out there who are making mistakes with their press releases and putting editors like me off from the beginning.
There are of course some that understand the rules of PR and these always stand out but many find themselves on the slush pile or in the trash before I’ve even read the first line.
A bad press release can really impact a company or a product launch as if it annoys the news team or editor, the email address will be labelled as spam and never read again.
One company stood out for me this week as they sent me a press release that ticked all the boxes, it was this
Over Styled PRs
If I receive a PR in an image I immediately hit delete. Of course, some editors may see it as a company with money, there for a well-known name and so well worth publishing. I really don’t. I’m not really concerned about the name, I’m concerned about the content. Is it interesting, will our readers like it? The chances are, if it’s over dressed in garish colours and fancy fonts, it’s too boring to stand alone.
Now I understand the round robin, I do it a lot, especially when sending updates to staff all at once, however it really turns me off with a PR. If you have my editor’s email, please don’t abuse it by just putting it on a mailing list, I can subscribe to thousands of PR releases like this if I wanted to. The fact is I don’t. I want to hear news that’s relevant, that I could use and I want to feel just a little bit special instead of just a free publishing tool.
It is amazing but true that there are some PR reps out there who have a really bad attitude. This always surprises me. It goes against everything that “Public Relations” stands for. I’ve had people get angry if I don’t publish their press release. Demand answers if I decide not to use a PR. Get insulting if I pass up a PR, ah the list is endless.
Remember: You are in essence asking for FREE advertising. To gain the same amount of exposure through advertising you would need to pay hundreds or thousands of pounds. This means the editor is doing you a favour. A bad attitude will only damage your reputation while ensuring any future news hits the spam folder.
Stingy Press Releases
I’ll often receive PRs that mention a product or send comments from directors of companies. More often than not I will reply and either ask for a sample of the product or for a bespoke comment for our readers.
I always ask for a product to review as I really don’t want our magazines to publish any old thing. I want to be excited about a product we talk about so there is a good chance our readers will love what we recommend. Also, it costs us money to publish reviews and PRs, it costs time and cold hard cash. If a company isn’t willing to send us the product to try (we’re not talking hundreds of pounds here) then we’re not willing to spend hours uploading, reviewing, writing and publishing their PR.
In the same vain, bespoke comments. No magazine wants to publish content that will be elsewhere, especially when it’s a digital magazine. If you can’t deliver a bespoke comment when asked, why should we waste the page space?
There are some PR companies that send a press release a day. Please stop.
Overall personal, targeted press releases work. Those that have obviously looked into the magazine and seen how the piece could work. It’s always a pleasure too to receive emails from the owners of the business or brand, even if they’re just starting out, as this is more effective than any PR.
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