Let’s face it, there is no such thing as the Perfect Press Release. However there is a lot of scope for improvement in 90 per cent of what most editors currently receive.
REMEMBER, if it is well written, to the point, tells us what is new or what is different and has a good (digital) picture, it stands MUCH MORE chance of being published.
20 Press Release Commandments
The relationship between the packaging media and the industry it covers is symbiotic – readers subscribe to trade publications because their information is timely, well written and informative.
Our markets frequently depend on trade magazines for the latest news. The reality is that they do not subscribe to read endless pages of press releases about the latest, fastest, greenest products from the world’s leading end-to-end solutions profiders.
While editors depend on industry press releases to tell them what is new on the market, these form less than 25 percent of the editorial mix that appeals to our readers.
So it is important to build relationships with editors and journalists in the packaging media, find out their preferences, get a copy of their Editorial Calendar, understand when their deadlines are. Editors are human, and strangely do respond to requests that will help them do their jobs more efficiently.
A few general guidelines
Editors and their journalists get hundreds of Press Releases every month, particularly around big exhibitions. If you want to get yours noticed, make sure it grabs their attention quickly.
If it does not do that by paragraph 3, it usually goes straight ot the Trash Can!
Make sure you are aware of Publication Deadlines and Features Lists. It is no good sending a Release for a particular Feature or, just as important, Exhibition Preview, on or after the deadline.
Prepare your release as early as possible and send it well in advance as both Features and Previews are put together over a period of time and the earlier you are the better the chance of being included.
If you get a reputation for claiming something is new when it is not then you will soon find coverage of your products dwindles. Remember the story about the man who cried ‘Wolf!’ once too often. If it is not new but is an interesting Application, tell us the Facts about that, not a re-write about the product or machine.
A good image is VITAL. Get it done properly by a professional, not the salesman with the best digital camera!
If you are not confident you can write a good Press Release internally there are plenty of technical writers available to do it for you.
|TIP: See the IPPO Freelance members list. Many of them will be able to help you on an Ad Hoc basis without the need for a costly PR contract.|
Often PR companies do not have specialists in your product area, or much knowledge of the market. Those that do are worth their weight in Gold and charge accordingly!
So it may better and cheaper to find someone who actually does understand the packaging industry, and your product/market and is available ‘on demand’.
The Technicalities: Formating the Press Release
Getting the format of the Press Release correct is half the battle; you’re trying to impress on a busy editor that your news is more ‘worthy’ than some other company’s news.
- MAKE sure the Press Release is clear and concise with good line spacing, font size and layout
- DO NOT make headlines too long (certainly not two lines of text)
- NEVER send your press release as a Pdf – they are hard extract the text from. Also editors, like everyone else, use ‘Cut & Paste’ so paragraph-breaks in the mi-ddle of w-ords just add to the editors frustration.
- DO NOT insert a picture into the text as it is hard to extract either words or images.
- ALWAYS send a low resolution image (or link to your website where the high resolution image can be found)
- DO NOT send emails above 1.5mb in size – they clog up the system and can take ages to open. Some publications block emails above 1mb & simply trash them
- ALWAYS have your image in 2 formats: High Resolution (300dpi) & Low resolution (72dpi) for print and web publications
- UNDERSTAND the media interest and customize your mailing list (please don’t SPAM us)
- UPDATE your mailing list regularly.
- MAKE SURE contact details are clear and someone is available to answer follow up questions.
Editors’ Pet Hates
Worldwide IPPO members work for approximately 70 different publications – each has its own editorial focus – technology, package printing, design, plastics, paper, metal etc.
Understand that each of these publications has its own target market which it is never going to deviate from without good reason.
Put yourself in the position of the editor of, lets say, a plastics publication, and amongst the hundreds of press release emails you receive there is always one or two, every month, from a company promoting corrugated carton erectors.
The solution is simple, reset your spam filter to include all correspondence from that company – effectively blacklisting them!
The email that reads “Please find attached our latest press release, hope you can find space for it”… well we might, if they could be bothered to tell us what it is about.
What that company mail is telling us is that “we can’t be bothered to summarise the basic content of the Press Release so you’ll just have to open the attachment and read it for yourself”
That’s interpreted as being rude and disrespectful. No surprises for guessing how long it takes for that to hit the trash can!
The above, but in German (only!) and sent to an English language publication.