Why are some press releases like lost baggage at an airport?

Why are some press releases like lost baggage at an airport?

When I worked in communications for an international airline, I remember a tour behind the scenes at a Heathrow passenger terminal and seeing heaps of suitcases and bags piled up.

Sometimes I imagine there are similar heaps of press releases which haven’t reached their intended destination or were not clearly labelled.

Where do press releases go?

If you send a press release to ‘the editor’ or not addressed to a specific individual at a publication, you can expect it to land on a heap somewhere.

Press releases sometimes get passed from one journalist to another at a publication with comments such as ‘any use?’ attached.

Is that the response you want when it’s taken hours or days to get information, obtain a quote from a customer and get them to approve the release, met with your PR consultant and paid them to write and distribute your press release?

How much has ‘any use?’ cost you?

Does this really happen? Yes.

Is it your lucky day?

With luck, press releases do reach the appropriate journalist. I always take a look at press releases passed to me, even if I wince at their content and decide not to use them.

I suspect that many more end up on the ‘discarded’ heap.

This is a shame, considering the work, resources and time that have gone into producing them, especially when a little research and targeting could have prevented this.

It’s useful to keep the image of lost baggage in your mind when distributing press releases and, just as when you jet off on your hard-earned holiday, think: destination.

10 Comments

  • Angelika Davey

    5-Jan-14 at 9:59 pm Reply

    Oops, yes, some of my stuff landed on the PR heap but that will change this year – thanks to your great posts!

    • robertz

      5-Jan-14 at 10:27 pm Reply

      Thanks, Angelika.

  • Jeanne Melanson

    5-Jan-14 at 10:42 pm Reply

    Haha. I enjoyed this post. Yes, I imagine I have had a few articles that made it to the bottom of a heap somewhere. Next time I write one, I will “think destination”. Thanks!

    • robertz

      6-Jan-14 at 1:17 pm Reply

      Thanks, Jeanne. Hope it helps.

  • Renee

    5-Jan-14 at 10:56 pm Reply

    I have only lost my luggage once, and that was when I missed my connecting flight because my first flight wasn’t on time. It took 2 days to get it back.

    On the PR side, I have learned that you have to make your blog stand out and your pitches stand out too. Make them short and sweet. That doesn’t mean they won’t get lost thought, I think this is because they get so many each day. Thanks for this great post.

    • robertz

      6-Jan-14 at 1:15 pm Reply

      Thanks, Renee. Yes, there are so many that you have to make them stand out.

  • Suzan St Maur

    6-Jan-14 at 9:09 am Reply

    It’s amazing, isn’t it Robert, how as you say – people will go to a lot of trouble to create a good press release but then won’t take 5 minutes extra to phone the publication concerned and find out the right person to send it to? Thanks for flagging up this very important point.

    • robertz

      6-Jan-14 at 1:16 pm Reply

      Yes, it still amazes me.

  • Elaine Isaac

    6-Jan-14 at 2:17 pm Reply

    A great analogy Robert. I haven’t done a press release for a long time but you certainly have made me think about what happens when one is written. Great advice as always.

    • robertz

      6-Jan-14 at 5:48 pm Reply

      Thanks, Elaine.

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