26 April 2005

The not-so-easy art of writing press releases

You'd think that writing a press release would be a pretty simple thing to do. After all, there are a well-recognised set of golden rules and guidelines to follow (examples below). You just have follow the template.

But it's amazing how often people who should know better, get it wrong. Even the No.1 goldenest (sic) rule of all - date it!

However, I was reminded this morning that it really isn't as straight-forward as you'd think and I shouldn't be surprised or get irritated when it happens so often.

I was marking up a press release written by a colleague in the British Guild of Travel Writers (BGTW) to go on the website, and found two minor errors (the release was dated, but something refered to wasn't, and there were a pair of slightly conficting sentences).

The guy who wrote it is a highly experienced journalist, and I know - because I was copied in on the emails - that it was reviewed before being distributed by the entire committee of the Guild - again, all extremely experienced authors, editors, broadcasters and journalists!

So if they(we) can't get it right, it's hardly surprising that a junior account exec churning press releases out at your average PR agency is going to slip up from time to time.

Note to self: cut them some slack


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