Why do the media not use our business press releases?

Whether you have a member of staff writing your own press releases or have enlisted an external partner to take on the responsibility, it can be dispiriting when the content does not appear in media publications.

The opportunity is to inform thousands of people through a trusted news or information title, helping raise brand awareness and drive engagement or action among your target audience.

Journalists receive literally hundreds of press releases and story ideas each day, making it a competitive market for their attention.

With competing priorities for journalists, including filing copy for print publications, producing content for websites, updating social media feeds and even creating compelling podcasts or videos, today’s editorial staff have a lot of tasks to juggle when they receive your releases.

Osborn Communications is an award-winning PR and content partner for a range of leading West Midlands brands. We also offer training services for companies.

Our clients consistently give us five star Google reviews for our media work. One said: “We got a good amount of coverage that we definitely would not have got without (Osborn). Would definitely recommend and use again!”

Another wrote: “Osborn have helped our business gain more exposure through written and broadcast media.” A third added: “I really didn’t think we had much chance of a pick-up but through their contacts and hard work within two days we were featured in one of the top trade publications.”

Why your press releases might not get published

If you are sending out press releases and not securing any take-up, there are a few reasons why this might be happening.

The most common reasons your content is not being picked up include:

  • It is not newsworthy: This is a big topic to cover concisely but put simply journalists are tasked with finding stories which are new, interesting, and relevant to their audience. Reporters and editors are bombarded with press releases every day, so they have to prioritise those which are the most newsworthy. The exact definition of this will depend on the title and its location, but generally it will be to find the stories which affect the most people, move things forward in a new direction or are unusual enough to capture the imagination.
  • Your release is poorly written: If writing is not your strong point but you are tasked with sending content to trained journalists, with their busy workloads they do not have the time to go through your submission to try to understand what you are saying. Many will persist if the story is sensational but otherwise a poorly written press release will be ignored by journalists. Your press release has to be clear, concise and free of errors, both spelling and factual, to stand the best chance.
  • You are targeting the wrong media outlets: With more specialist titles than ever before, as well as the growth of online news brands, not all media outlets are interested in the same stories. You should only prioritise the outlets that are most likely to be interested in your story, to stand the best chance of them using the content.
  • You have not followed up your release: It can be a big task to get something approved and submitted, but do not assume your target journalists have read your release. Set aside time to follow up with journalists to see if they are interested in covering your story. An email or phone call can jog the memory or shed light on them not having received the initial contact.

Tips for preparing press releases

Here are some simple tips for preparing press releases that are more likely to be used by the media:

  • Keep it short and to the point: With time being of the essence for busy journalists, a press release should be no more than one page long.
  • Use clear and concise language: Keep it simple and avoid jargon and technical terms so a general audience can understand your news.
  • Be objective and unbiased: Do not claim to be “world beaters” and “the number one” as generic claims will only have to be removed, making it less likely you will feature.
  • Proofread carefully before submitting: Remove errors and use spell check,
  • Target your press releases to the right media outlets: Do research to check the destination title features your type of news.
  • Follow up with journalists to see if they are interested in covering your story: Factor in a few hours to communicate with your media list to check they received it and find out if they need anything more to follow up your news.

Working with a public relations professional

Working with a public relations professional can help you assess your press releases and identify areas where you can improve.

Drawing upon their expertise and knowledge, they can also help you target your press releases to the right media outlets and follow up with journalists to ensure that your stories are getting the coverage they deserve.

Get in touch with Osborn if you would like to know more about how our clients benefit from our support.

Having launched during the Covid-19 lockdown of May 2020, we have grown our business to help an increasing number of companies and organisations to reach new audiences.

We have worked with large brands and not-for-profits, launched new websites for clients, raised money for charity, engaged with leading figures on behalf of good causes and won customers at the heart of the business community.

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