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A Really Bad Press Release Gets Called Out on Social Media
By: Jeannine Wheeler
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Have you ever written a really bad press release? Truth be told, we all have at some point. Poorly written, not the right angle, leaving out pertinent information…this can happen. But when your press release is so horrendous that journalists are complaining about it on social media, you know you’ve hit a low point.

If you don’t want this to be you, consider not sending the following pitch release sent by a UK PR, which was trashed on Facebook by the editor it was sent to:

“Have just been sent a press release about some coffee tables that promise to, ‘rekindle your romance with Christmas’ and ‘make the festive season a richer experience for you.’ Yep, coffee tables. Apparently it's because ‘Christmas reconnects us with that essential British tradition — hot beverages.’

“Who knew it was that simple?!!” she asks.

The editor goes on to recite further bits of the release to her followers — many of whom are other journalists — thereby cementing this PR’s reputation among them.
How wonderful would it be if our living room furniture was handcrafted directly by one of the artists associated with the magic of Harry Potter?’


‘We dare say this carries sacred simplicity and can bring inner peace to its surroundings.’


‘In a short time, they've become a voice in furniture that surprises and delights.’

Sadly for the PR, the journalist even names the brand, which I won’t do here. I'll just say it is a well-known UK interior design magazine and shop where “discerning interiors enthusiasts can buy from our curated collection of designer furniture, unique home accessories and luxury gifts.”

If you don’t want to be shamed on social media, consider following three simple rules:

1. Include all pertinent information (what it is, how it makes life easier for the audience, where can it be secured, and how much it costs).

2. Is it geared to the audience you’re pitching to? Journalists hate getting press releases about products or services their readers will never care about.

3. Perhaps most importantly, does it pass the "BS" test, or, as I might now call it in honor of my British editor friend, "the coffee table test"? Can a new coffee table really put the Santa spirit into your Christmas Day just because it holds two steaming cups of hot chocolate?

Probably not.

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About the Author
Jeannine Wheeler is a PR Director who has worked in three countries, including Russia, the US and the UK. She is currently Sr. Vice President of Pure Energy PR, a full-service boutique communications firm with a focus on the energy, healthcare, technology, construction, real estate & land development, tourism & hospitality and food & beverage industries. Jeannine is in the firm's Austin, Texas office.
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