Over many years working as a B2B editor, I was sent hundreds of press releases and, unfortunately, many of them were written very badly.
A poorly written release is unlikely to published, so it’s a missed opportunity to reach the target audience – as well as a waste of time and resources.
What were common mistakes I noticed in the releases I received?
Many failed to sell the story or product quickly enough; in the email subject line or at the very least, in the first two paragraphs of the release. Instead, they began with less important information about the company background or market landscape. Sluggish “storytime”, rather than a punchy pitch.
Others were too salesy, filled with unbacked claims and “fluffy” language that did not add any relevance or authenticity to the release. Keep in mind that B2B journalists are trained to see straight through this. They strip releases of the grandeur and focus solely on the facts.
Some releases were simply too long, and I did not have time to finish reading them. Others had typos or were missing key information like supporting images.
Avoid further mistakes. Look at your comms from the outside-in
In addition to making your press releases as relevant and appealing to editors as possible, there are other things to look out for when it comes to attracting new potential business through your marketing and comms.
Rather than communicating to your customers simply what you think is best, it’s critical to step back from your brand messaging and look at it from a fresh perspective, from the outside-in.
In short: put yourself in the customer’s shoes and move forward with your approach from there.
By failing to look at your strategies from the outside-in, you could risk making these common mistakes:
- Not knowing your audience.
There is no point in having a strong message if it is being delivered to the wrong address. Do you understand enough about your target audience to develop a value proposition that will really resonate with them? Get to know them – everything, from what makes them tick to their pain points – by using insights tools. Once the correct audience has been identified, it can be targeted through the most appropriate media, channels and tailored/paid-for campaigns. Are you focusing enough on the channels where your target audience spends time in the right frame of mind to engage with you and your product/service? Similarly, thinking about your comms from the outside-in, it is key to ensure your message appeals to your audience rather than the creator(s).
- Not measuring the effectiveness of your strategy.
The end goal – be it increased clicks and page traffic, generating leads or upping sales – must first be identified in order to be measured. Not identifying and measuring the end goal could result in pointless investments of time and money. Thinking about your comms from the outside-in: just because you have input lots of resources into a message or campaign, that doesn’t mean it’s working; measuring is key to knowing its effectiveness. Stress test your messages/creatives by sharing them with internal stakeholders and sample external audiences.
- Delivering an unclear message.
You may be saying too much, too little, or delivering inconsistent messages to your audience across different platforms. This could dilute the strength of your narrative, as well as causing the audience to feel confused and alienated, ultimately preventing them from reaching and executing the desired call to action. Placing emphasis on clarity, conciseness, consistency and repetition, can help this mistake to be avoided.
- Making unbacked claims.
Supporting your claims with strong customer insights and proven customer success stories, such as testimonies, case studies and statistics, will instil confidence in the audience about your brand/product. If a potential customer has confidence in your brand and its message, and they know your products and services have benefitted other customers, then they will feel more comfortable investing and spending money with your brand. In short, thinking about your comms from the outside-in, you can rely on the ‘voice of the customer’ to make your brand’s claims authentic and relatable.
- Not using all appropriate content formats.
Think about the type of content that will influence your audience. What level of decision maker are you trying to reach? Are they detail-orientated and technical, or do they need strong, high-level content with a focus on business impact? If the purchase involves multiple decision-makers, you may need a range of content to convince all influencers. Don’t rely solely on text output and keep in mind the potential to break down text-heavy content, such as whitepapers, into more digestible, visual-led content for use on other platforms. Visual outputs are proven to keep audiences engaged for longer, so it’s important to use different types of content (such as videos or image-led posts) across all relevant platforms when sharing your message.
How can we help?
There is a lot to consider here. Nailing your messages/creatives and ensuring they inspire your audience to take the desired calls to action can be a daunting, tricky and confusing task. That’s why working with an agency like AD Communications is invaluable.
In addition to the many integrated services that we provide, we also share helpful, informative insights, such as this guide about Getting Your Story Straight, on our website. Take a look – and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch.