It may seem counterintuitive, but not endorsing the client in a press release is one of the best ways to get them coverage. Editors – at least the good ones – want their publications to have genuine news value and be objective, otherwise they know that their title is in danger of becoming little more than an ad rag which no one takes seriously. News desk chiefs are also under pressure to generate revenue, so any release you send to them that reads like an advertorial often just gets forwarded directly to the sales team, resulting in unwanted telesales approaches for you or your client.
The simple truth is that a press release must be well written, well structured and objective if it’s even going to get a look in. Obviously, there are factors that will help it get picked up, such as a slow news day and having a good personal relationship with the journalist you are sending it to, but the bottom line is that no reputable outlet is going to use your release if it comes over as a marketing pitch.
My experience thus far in the industry has taught me five objectivity guidelines you should adopt when writing a press release:
The following link takes you to what I think is one of the best PR pieces I have ever read, even if it is a few years old now. It discusses how Kelly Brook, a British actress, believed she was going to drown on the set of Fishtale, a movie she was making.
The film had bombed with critics, but the simple expedient of creating a mini-drama involving the movie lead was enough to piggyback publicity for the film in one of the UK’s best read newspapers. It didn’t matter whether in reality she was at risk of coming to any harm, all she had to say was that she believed she was. Notice too how the paper was able to gloss over the poor response to the film by making her feelings the paramount aspect and by turning a negative reaction into a not-so-positive reaction, thereby diluting the magnitude of its failure:
“It has not had a rapturous reception from the critics in Cannes, but Kelly insists she loved making Fishtales.”
And it’s still an objective piece. Now that’s the way to get great coverage.