Press Releases: Their Purpose & What Makes Good Ones

Is Your Press Release the Best It Can Be?

Last week, Tatttle.xxx got me thinking. They were commenting on another PR firm sending out too many press releases and questioning the relevance of what they were sending out. In the same week, a client asked me why I don’t send out more press releases. So, the blog this week is dedicated to press releases.

What Is a Press Release?

A press release is to let people know relevant news about a client. An example of relevant news would be launching a new pay site, a photo/interview spread in a magazine or becoming a spokes model for a product or service. As long as there’s relevant news, we don’t have a limit on the amount of press releases that we sent out for a client. If too many press releases go out, it’s like the boy who cried wolf, and no one pays attention after awhile. If you’re prudent about the number of PRs that go out (like we are), people are more likely to read what’s being put out and take it far more seriously. Having a ton of press releases sent out doesn’t mean that your publicist is working hard for you.

What Makes a Good Press Release?

Content is king and you’ll want to pique the reader’s interest. Make sure to stay on topic. Sometimes, a press release will have more than one story—there will be the main story and then other smaller stories like new projects and movies. Flow is also important, but it should be well written, grammatically correct and the spelling should be checked. Format is important—it needs to be laid out correctly with a date, title, etc. Dates are extremely important—I have seen some publicists write “this Friday”, but PRs need actual dates. It should read this Friday, November 16th”. It’s not an editor’s job to proofread or edit a press release—it should come to them ready to be posted. A seasoned publicist will know how to write a press release, although there are exceptions, like the publicists (or wannabe publicists) who make editors cringe when they receive emails from them.

It’s All About Timing

If a client has an event that’s a week away, the press release should go out at least three to four days before. It gives people notice, so they can plan to go, and also the sites a few days to get it posted. If you send a press release out the day before or the day of, more than likely, it won’t be posted. If too much time has passed and the PR is released too far after the event, it’s also useless. An example would be if a magazine or DVD streets, the press release should go out within days—if it goes past the one week mark, it’s old news

Where Does It Go?

Another thing that makes a publicist valuable is their contact list. A press release could go out to a myriad of news sources—adult, mainstream, tech, etc. I have multiple lists of depending on the genre of the press release (mainstream adult, gay, etc.) and to what type of media source. A good publicist has not just contacts, but relationships with the contacts, so they will run the PR on their site or in print form (AKA a magazine). If the PR isn’t newsworthy, some sites will not run it. I have seen this happen a lot more frequently lately. Tattle.xxx has a section of PR they didn’t run.

Many publicists are also using social media to get the news out. Usually they will Tweet or Facebook about a place (or places) the news is posted. This is a way even more people will know to look for the news. In adult, you want to reach media, fans and the industry, and social media can reach all three.

These are all just brief guidelines. Hire a publicist to write your PR and do your homework on the reputation and skills/abilities of that person or firm. Not all publicists are created equal and there are only a handful of us that are worth our weight in gold. And if cost is an issue, many PR firms will even do one-off press releases, if you can’t afford the monthly fee.

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