I get sent a lot of media releases and invitations to events and various things. You might have sent me some yourself and wondered what happened.

Here’s the top-ten list of what most likely went wrong with yours.

(These are in no specific order)

  • You didn’t spell it correctly. I’ll forgive a typo or two – or even ten if they’re not terribly serious – but if they could have been caught by a quick proofread or a spell-check, then it goes to the bottom of the pile.
  • You sent it late. You’ve been planning your event for ages, and you’ve had the time and date pinned down for at least a week, but you didn’t see fit to let me know until five minutes beforehand, or five minutes after, or with similarly short notice that I was already booked. Being on the other side of the world to most of you, I need an extra day, but scheduling is an important consideration. I’ll pick a time tomorrow and let you know a few hours in advance. Are you already booked or are you likely to make it? No, thought not. Me neither. More days in-advance is better for everyone.
  • Not news or no news! Your release doesn’t contain any information or just not enough of it. You spent four hundred words telling me how fabulous you are, but you missed out on mentioning just why that might be, or any details about the thing that prompted your release. You won an award? Don’t forget to mention which one, and why. You obviously didn’t get it for your media-relations.
  • You sent me an advertisement. This wasn’t news. It was an ad. You need to speak to the ad people, because… you know… it was an ad.
  • I couldn’t fit it into the schedule. I don’t have the freedom to publish as much material as I like. If someone provides better material than you, they win, and yours goes back in the pile. If it winds up too late as a result, then that’s a bit of a shame. What does tip the balance is if I already wrote your material up days in advance. Material already-written almost always beats material not-yet-written.
  • You sent me a Microsoft Word document. There are a number of reasons why this might get flushed, (including issues with ‘smart quotes’) not the least of which being:
  • You sent me a Microsoft Word document that was infected. ‘Nuff said.
  • You weren’t available to answer any questions. I had some, but either nobody was tasked with answering them, or those people who were had become mysteriously unavailable throughout.
  • You weren’t able to answer any questions. I had some, but the person or persons tasked with answering them had no information relevant to the release.
  • You bungled the time. You gave a time without a day, or a time without specifying PM or AM, or a day of the month sans the actual month. Or you didn’t specify the time-zone. Thankfully, every person on the planet is connected psychically, so they are able to figure out what time and day you meant. Oh, wait… no they aren’t.

And I’ll add in a bonus item to make eleven, because you’ve been so nice as to stick with me:

Video/voice event. It’s a lot of extra work and expense and oftentimes scheduling to cover things that aren’t in text. Costs that usually far exceed the remuneration. I’m not going to take compensation from you, because that would be wrong, and I don’t work for free unless there’s some significant public benefit.

So, there you have it. Eleven (not ten, as previously advertised) reasons that your invitation or media-release wound up in the pile somewhere or discarded. Now you know.

Categories: Fail, Opinion, Rant, Writing.



Got a news tip or a press-release? Send it to [email protected].
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