Lines of Sight

The business side of photography

Toronto Photographer: 416-540-5494

Release This

Why do fax machines still exist?

I suspect it’s because of the non-stop flood of press releases sent everyday to newspapers and other publications. E-mailed releases exist but these risk being redirected into an editor’s junk folder or getting lost in the deluge of other e-mails an editor receives each day.

For some (most?) publications, press releases are a blessing. They are a source of free content and who doesn’t love free?

Smart businesses, public relations agencies and other marketing companies should be taking advantage of the weak economy which is forcing all newspapers to cut back. Now is the time to produce quality, newsworthy and timely releases for their business or clients.

Of course, to be really effective and to greatly increase the chance of success, a press release must be accompanied by photography.

After many years of sifting through hundreds and hundreds of press releases, most of which were either tossed in the garbage or deleted with a mouse click, this is what I’ve learned:

Top ten signs you may have written a bad press release:

10. The number of pages is more than two.

9. There’s at least one sentence typed in all-caps.

8. Number of exclamation marks is more than zero.

7. There’s no contact information.

6. Title of the press release is: PHOTO OPPORTUNITY !!!

5. The release promises free lunch or gifts for media in attendance.

4. It uses any of the following: strategic, leverage, next-generation, new paradigm, outside the box, going forward, game-changing, bleeding edge, impact, buzz, progressive, blogosphere, Twittersphere, join the conversation, mission-critical, cut through the clutter, vectoring, engage, dialogue, storytelling, trending, traction, ramp up, roll out, drill down, reaching out, gorgeous, empower, delight, awesome, intelligent, optimized, proactive, win-win.

3. The 5 W’s are not all covered (who, what where, when, why).

2. No information at all: “Come and see what all the excitement is about !!”

1. No media show up for your event.

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