Press releases can be an important way of sharing your B2B business news and building visibility, but there are some common misconceptions about how journalists treat press releases.
Understanding how journalists work is important for writing and targeting your press releases and building a relationship with trade journalists.
From the questions I’ve been asked about press releases over the years, these are the four most common misunderstandings:
1. The press release will get used as written
Nope. Most likely, you’ll have sent your B2B press release to a press list.
Publications and websites are competing for stories and readers. If the story is interesting to the journalist, they will be looking to create a point of difference to make it stand out.
Unless of course they are very busy but then if it is used as written then it most likely means they don’t believe it is worth spending the extra time on. (Sorry.)
2. It’s your story
It isn’t your story. You may have written the press release, but once it’s in a journalists hands, they will do with it what they want to make it engaging for their readers.
Think of the competition and how they want to differentiate.
They may take a different angle to what you’ve presented. They may want to interview someone from your business to get extra information or comment.
And they may talk to other people to get different views – including your competitors.
They’ll likely add in additional information and context based on their own knowledge or research.
Your story may be used as a hook to look at something related, a trend or an industry challenge rather than as a story in its own right.
3. You can influence how big the story is and where it goes
Your press release isn’t a piece of your marketing which you control.
The editors of your target publications or news websites decide what is or isn’t interesting to their readers.
It is their decision about how much space to give a story and where it should be positioned – or even if it should run it all.
Beware of asking to move a story, it isn’t going to do your relationship with a journalist or publication any good.
4. They will use all the quotes
When your story involves several different parties – perhaps a deal or a new contract or a big project – it seems diplomatic to put a quote from each on the press release.
Journalists won’t honour that diplomacy. They will choose the most appropriate or best quote to go with their story.
And if your quote is five sentences, that doesn’t mean they will use all of it. They might only use one sentence.