I threw out your news release today, mere moments after it landed on my desk. That’s too bad, because some tree had to give up its life or precious bandwidth was wasted as both hard and electronic copies of your “news” made its way around the globe.
Luckily, no lasting harm was realized—I shook off what you wrote and soon moved on to some real news, managing to use certain well written information as a jumping-off point for a new article.
Yet, the taste of your “bad form” release has to be addressed, so please allow me to share the eight things I found in your piece that is at the center of our collective angst:
1. Terrible Title – 80 characters maximum is a nice rule of thumb for a good title, but you nearly doubled that limit. I couldn’t tell if you were making an announcement or crying out for help.
2. Weak Intro – You lost me after the first paragraph, let alone the first sentence. Neither had anything to do with the title which meant I had to work to figure out what your news angle was. That angle was nowhere to be found so you failed.
3. Punishing Paragraphs – Your second and third paragraphs were much too long and could easily have been split up into several smaller paragraphs. Better yet, several sentences could have been struck out in entirety.
4. Excessive Quotes – You quoted the president of the company, vice-president of sales and the regional director, with each person saying basically the same thing. I almost expected your bookkeeper to chime in with her comments too.
5. Jarring Jargon – I realize that you are excited about your new product, but that enthusiasm needs to be tempered by reality and sensibility. I hardly know what to make of “concept of functionalities” or “holistic, groupwide simulation.” Get real and lose the Orwellian prose.
6. Pull Quotes – Your one opportunity to tell us something useful died in your pull quote. I’m glad your family rescues abandoned animals, but that tidbit has nothing to do with the news at hand. Someone goofed.
7. Stuffed Keywords – I hardly think that “redundant cycle” is a keyword phrase worth chasing after in the SERPs. Apparently, you do as I found the term scattered in five places throughout your piece. Yes, I am still annoyed!
8. Banished Boilerplate – So, you think that the press release boilerplate should be played around with, do you? Trust me, no one is interested in learning about every single unrelated product your company offers. Stick with the top performers and please keep it consistent from release to release.
Some 950 words later, I managed to sift through your release and determined that no “newsworthy” component could be found. That in itself is sufficient reason why you could have saved yourself and everyone else a whole lot of trouble.