We at Practical Accountant get hundreds of press releases every month and after a while you notice a similarity in many. There is an announcement of some sort in the first paragraph, some superficial details in the second paragraph with a sprinkling of pretty adjectives, and followed up with a paragraph or two containing some quotes about how this is the greatest thing since sliced white bread. Naturally, the release usually closes with a brief history of the company or firm.

As you get them over the years from the same source, you notice that sometimes it appears people are mechanically filling out the same press release template each time.  With an accounting firm, that might mean whether it is a staff promotion, merger, the announcement of a new practice area, or a milestone being reached, the same format is used. Also most likely, the same recipient received each of the releases even though there might not be any interest.

It is a kind of shotgun approach, with the hope that some press coverage might result just by getting the press releases in front of someone's eyes.

Here is some advice to the writers of press releases.

  • Don't send all press releases to the same list of contacts. List the contacts by categories so they only get releases on matters that might interest them.
  • When sending the press release in an e-mail  or a note, point out what might be of particular interest to the reader explaining the exact type of additional information that is available, if needed
  • Follow-up and find out if the reader needs more information or the reason why they are not reporting on the information that you sent. Ask them what type of information would they report.

After all, if you want coverage you, not the journalist, should be the one filling out the blanks for the story.

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