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November 18, 2010
Press Releases Worth Perusing
 
We don't read as many press releases as the people -- that is, media people -- receiving them. But the ones we do encounter too often have run-on sentences and other types of careless construction. Now G. A. "Andy" Marken, of Marken Communications, has come up with some broad brush numbers to support our concern. 

Marken folks interviewed "more than 50 business, financial and industry publication editors" and "talked with an equal number of on-line editors." Most of them said they receive "an average of 300+ releases per day over the wire, in the mail and sent electronically." And here's the point: "More than three-fourth of the releases they receive are so weak or amateurish that they go directly into the wastebasket (electronic or physical)."

These are news releases supposedly sent by professionals, people in the business of engaging the attention of editors and reporters. The rest of Marken's post is a primer on writing effective news releases. We recommend it as a tutorial for everyone in the business.

But why should a remedial exercise like this be necessary in the first place. We think it's because what ought to be a guiding principle of public relations is too often overlooked: empathy. We ought to be walking in the shoes of every reporter and editor we seek to engage. How are we coming across? Take a minute to really consider how you'd feel and react if you got one of your own news releases. 

Honestly perusing a press release before sending it can pay big dividends. 

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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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