Table of Contents
- Components of a Good Press Release
- 9 Bad Press Release Examples
- Key Takeaways
A press release is an official announcement or statement that companies or individuals deliver to media outlets to provide information to the public regarding a particular event or development. Press releases are an essential component of communications and a key tool for public relations. An impactful press release can get you ample media coverage.
There are enough bad press release examples out there to show you why you should take this job seriously. Although press releases can be issued on a variety of occasions – like the launch of a new product or inauguration of a new branch – all good press releases, by the rule of thumb, must include certain elements.
Components of a Good Press Release
The headline of the press release should grab the reader’s attention and inform them about the theme. It should be crisp, to-the-point, and give the reader a jumpstart into what they’re getting into. Try to avoid exclamation points and keep it brief.
The date is the first line of the body of a release. It is separated from the first sentence by an en dash. The event’s location should be written on the right side of the document against the dateline.
The press release body should tell the reader about the what, where, why, when, who, and how of the event. Make this your opening or lead paragraph, and then develop them in the subsequent paragraphs. Give details of the date, time, location, and names of high-ranking officials.
Every press release has an “about us” section below the body. This is called the boilerplate, and it tells the reader about your company and what you do.
At the bottom center of the press release is the “###” symbol to indicate the end. This is an excellent way to ensure no extra text can have mistakenly become a part of the release.
Before you scurry about looking for fabulous press release examples online, look at some terrible press release examples, so you know what you’re not supposed to do.
9 Bad Press Release Examples
Even if you include the above key elements, you can still mess up a press release. Here are some terrible examples of press releases that you should steer clear of.
1. Bad press release example #1
In this piece, the headline is utterly unrealistic. Yes, there was a time when printing brought about the Industrial Revolution, but in today’s digital age, print appeal is shrinking. Ricoh, a company that makes printers, would understandably want to show the relevance of printing technology, but an attention-grabbing headline doesn’t mean exaggeration or borderline blasphemy. They could have gone with something along the lines of better quality, high resolution, fancy features, you know, things that people look for in a printer.
Secondly, the body is too wordy and way too full of statistics. It’s boring, and no one likes to read line after line of bland data. At the same time, the writing jumps from one point to another without context. From 3D printing to marketing to vendors, there’s no connection between them, and it’s jarring to the reader. Besides, the body isn’t complimenting the headline. It looks like they’re trying too hard to be ostentatious rather than letting the writing flow organically.
This is an online press release example that didn’t care a jot for formatting despite having so many tools at its disposal. There’s no closing note, and the piece feels unfinished.
2. Bad press release example # 2
The headline could have been more exciting and smart for something uncommon. Here it sounds like a bland statement from a practitioner’s professional card. Coming to the body, the information presented here catering to CEREC Technology could have been done in a single paragraph. The rest of the information feels like it’s only there to fill the blank space and isn’t adding any value. What you write should have a purpose and reason. Don’t just add lines to increase the word count.
The copy also lacks cohesiveness. From talking about technology, there’s a sudden jump to Dr. Joseph’s achievements. Information should flow, not hop from one point to another.
Do not repeat information. The release’s boilerplate specifically caters to writing about the authority issuing the press release. Unless you have something new to add, avoid mentioning the issuing authority in the release body if the same information is bound to be repeated in the boilerplate.
3. Bad press release example # 3
The copy is strife with the most basic grammatical errors. When writing online, you can use tools like Spellchecker or Grammarly that will notify you whether you’re making any spelling or grammatical errors. The opening paragraph on vitamins and pills is confusing, and no reader has the patience or the time to read it repeatedly to make sense of it.
The release doesn’t have a distinguishing Boilerplate. The one-liner at the end isn’t attractive enough. Reading it doesn’t feel like Natures Elements is a legitimate company. The “about us” bit of any release is written as proof of authenticity. How do we know you’re not just any random prankster trying to scam people on the internet? Giving your email and professional phone number is mandatory in a press release. It’s a part of the format, so don’t do away with it.
Writing such a lackadaisical press release reflects poorly on one’s professionalism and might even disqualify your credit in the eyes of a journalist.
4. Bad press release example # 4
Journalists have claimed that phrases like “innovative,” “cutting-edge,” and “exciting” are the most overused phrases that they’re tired of reading. Try to do something a little different. Instead of adjectives singing the company’s praise, look for something that conveys information.
The press release contents do not describe or build on the “innovative way to lose weight” that they’ve claimed in the headline. However, it goes on prattling about the genius of the website. Steer clear of loose tactics like this. Build on your headline. Do justice to it.
There are no quotes either.
A press release tip that rookies often ignore is to include quotes. In the summary, the release could have included quotes by website owners, sponsors, or gym trainers—basically anyone even remotely related to the website or the fitness industry. Quotes lend a sense of authenticity and officiousness.
Lastly, they’ve come up with the most boring and dry boilerplate. Write at least 2 lines on what your business does and how to contact you. A single basic phrase like theirs isn’t going to catch anyone’s eyes.
5. Bad press release example # 5
Again, you have a sing-song of compliments. We know that a company has the job of building its image but don’t resort to exaggeration and hyperbole. Instead of using phrases like “Hollywood’s latest craze,” opt for something a little more grounded like “New Energy Drink in Tinsel-Town.” Besides, the headline is written in a passive voice. Headlines should be written in an active voice.
A classic mistake they’ve made here is skipping the boilerplate altogether. We can’t stress enough the importance of adhering to format. Never miss the “about you” section. It’s your product launch, your company, don’t pass on the opportunity of writing about yourself.
6. Bad press release example # 6
This was a PR pitch received by Prowly Magazine. What’s wrong with this pitch? Well, to begin with, the title is vague. Secondly, the writer is going on and on about herself, her achievements, contacts, influencers, etc. Journalists don’t want to hear about you. They want to know what’s in it for them. Why should they cover your pitch or write your story? What will they get out of it? An important tip for writing press releases is thinking from the journalist’s perspective or the magazine you’re pitching to.
7. Bad press release example # 7
While writing a press release, tailor it to suit your audience’s needs. When we read this piece, all we could think was, “Why should I read a book on baking written by a non-baker?” It does not sound legitimate.
The release then talks about the author’s cats, family, and previous books and doesn’t mention a word about the author’s unusual endeavor that so marks the headline. Your press release should demystify the headline. We are not interested in the author’s familial bond as a reader. We want to know why we should read the book.
Show that your project is different. The release says that the book comes with a recipe. Honestly, there’s nothing new about it, and if I wanted a recipe, I’d go on the Internet where I wouldn’t have to pay for it.
8. Bad press release example # 8
Can anyone make sense of the headline? A, it’s too lengthy. B, its structure is grammatically incoherent and incomprehensible. Keep your headlines short and simple. The headline should have ended at “call attorney.”
Identify the news value in the story. The attorney’s details aren’t relevant to the headline. Readers want to know why there was a need to call the attorney rather than who the attorney was.
The story here tries to be grand and important when it’s actually only a suggestion. Don’t try to be something you’re not. This story doesn’t even deserve to be a huge deal.
9. Bad press release example # 9
Going by the release’s title, it looks more like a blog post than a press release story. It should have mentioned how Chef Mina curated ten different versions of the classic Mexican delicacy. The headline is chaotic; it doesn’t reveal to the reader that the ten versions of Chilaquiles are, in fact, a discovery.
Also, the story talks about Chef Mina alone. It doesn’t mention a thing about her restaurant that was boasted about in the headline. The body must complement and build on the headline, not stray from it.
The writing, too, is chaotic and haphazard. There should be a context to every paragraph, and it should be in succession to the preceding paragraph.
- Adhere to the press release format at all times. Being lackadaisical about the format shows a lack of professionalism on the writer’s part.
- The dateline should be at the top before the copy, and the address on the right against it.
- Write a compelling headline that conveys what the press release is about.
- Avoid using exclamation points in the headline and stay away from generic, overused phrases like “cutting edge,” “innovative,” “exciting.”
- The body copy should complement and elaborate on the headline rather than talk about something different from the headline’s claims.
- Identify the newsworthiness of the event before pitching it. Don’t conjure news out of something banal. Readers can see through the facade.
- Always end with a well-structured boilerplate or “about us” showing your company is legitimate.
Writing a press release might seem like a daunting task. After all, it determines the amount of media coverage you get. Fortunately, it’s not rocket science. Bad press release examples like those above have shown you what not to do. Just stick to the essential elements of a well-done press release, and you’re good to go.
A press release is a tool for an official statement regarding an event or development delivered by companies or individual entities to media houses to convey it to the public.
A press release should have a distinct format complete with the headline, dateline, body copy, boilerplate, or the “about us” section that tells the reader about the company.
A good press release informs the reader about the development in an objective and informative tone while at the same time keeping them glued to the end. Try to be concise, brief and keep your sentences short.
A press release should answer the what, why, who, when, where, and how of any development.
The ### or the 3-pound symbol goes to the center bottom of the press release or below the boilerplate. It marks the completion of the release and ensures that no unwanted texts get into the body copy.
Yes. A logo gives the press release an official look and feel, and breaks the monotony from a text-heavy document.
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