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.