It’s not hard to understand how one might run across a press release or two that has grammar issues like misspelled words or fragmented sentences, or even worse, incorrect information or an offense word. One or more of these may be gracing the pages of some high-profile corporations press release as we speak. These mistakes could very well slip through the proofing cracks of any under staffed and over worked P.R. department, and can help create a negative image. Companies are cutting budgets, and that usually means cutting jobs. The first place companies look to cut jobs is in their marketing or public relations departments. When employees of a company, who aren’t professional writers and are over worked, write press releases, odds are it will be poorly written and distributed with at least one mistake. Most higher-ups don’t really “get” that writing is a process and has to be completed with meticulous calculation. A professional writer with talent, experience, and expertise, should be the one focusing on this important image-building task. Instead, interns, secretaries, managers, and directors have to try and fit writing press releases into their already over-loaded work schedules.
Press releases are mass mail-outs too, just like any other form of marketing/advertisement, but are grossly under-rated in terms of the effect it has on its target audience. Writing press releases is viewed by most companies as a less important remedial task that fits into a larger more important event or major announcement, and usually gets passed off to anyone who can do it. It’s a common mistake that can end up hurting the companies short and long term image.
Let’s say a company has a big fundraising event and wants to get the word out with a press release. The task is given to someone who isn’t a professional writer and, as always, has an almost impossible deadline to meet. That person will have to write the press release, compile the media contact list, print out labels with addresses on them, stuff and seal the envelopes, get postage, and finally mail them. Ever heard of the old saying “jack of all trades but master of none”, well this is the philosophy among employees at most businesses today.
The fact is most press releases that are poorly written don’t get much of a response from the community or the media, and it does affect the image of the company. Having no image can be just as harmful as having a bad one. Either way, it can, and usually does, affect a companies profits negatively.
Larger Corporations usually implement a proactive campaign when building positive image and most often times utilize the media. That’s why a well written press release can be priceless. For instance, a well written press release in 2004 was written and released to promote a charity event for a large property management company. This event was supposed to help benefit children. The press release was written so well that two local broadcast stations showed up to cover the event and aired a positive story on the 11 O’clock news with over a million viewers watching. Imagine over a million viewers watching a story about how your company helped raise money for children. It’s powerful advertising that has a lasting affect and all because of a well written press release. That press release was written so well in fact that its heading was used as a lead-in for the story aired that night by one news affiliate.
Those kinds of results are uncommon because press releases are rarely written by professional writers. To get those kinds of results a company needs to consider hiring a freelance writing professional; it’s definitely a small price to pay for such powerful results.