Eric van Hall
01 november ‘22 8 min. reading time

The 5 most common mistakes in press releases


Now and then, you want to put your company in the spotlight. You want everyone to know what new techniques your company works with, what your latest services are, or how you can help customers even more than before. Those moments call for a good press release. The aim is to produce a newsworthy piece that journalists pick up on and publish content about.

Be aware: your press release must address the audience very directly. Otherwise, it will end up in the trash. You’ll find a number of useful tips for this later in the article. But first, we’ll look at the most common mistakes when writing a press release so that you can avoid them!

Mistake 1: Your press release has no news value

Ask yourself if what you want to tell the world is different from everyday business. For example, a press release about the fact that your company was successful during a quarter is justified if your company plays a big role in the economy. For a less influential company, not so much.

Photo by Nijwam Swargiary on Unsplash

Quarterly figures from major players such as Shell, Unilever, and Vodafone do make the news, as do large fluctuations at banks. Why? Because they are large, influential companies in the UK and abroad. But figures for smaller companies don’t tend to make the news. The fact that your company has had a good quarter is, of course, very nice for you and your employees and worth celebrating. But it isn’t a reason for a press release.

Mistake 2: You didn’t define the target audience

Your press release should not be a piece of paper that you launch out there in the hope that it will end up seen by the right people. When writing and sending a press release, always keep your target audience in mind (in technical terms: targeting). When sending it to the media, think about the style and focus of the publications you contact. 

A quieter-than-quiet lawn mower is great news for garden owners, but for someone without a garden living in the middle of the city, it’s probably irrelevant. Therefore when announcing your innovative new lawnmower, send your press release to magazines and websites about gardening rather than newspapers and weeklies such as Insider or Real Business.

Journalists graze city and country publications for real news that will benefit their readers.

To stick with that lawn mower… a national or regional newspaper may well pick up on your news once it is online on a major gardening website. Journalists graze city and country publications for real news that will benefit their readers and news about gardening could easily find its way into the weekend supplements. 

Mistake 3: You left out information about your company

It is always good to know who a press release is from. And we don't just mean the sender. What could be more annoying for a journalist than to receive a press release and then have to hunt for information about the company in question? Often, even the name or phone number of the spokesperson is missing! Regardless of whether a journalist has time for that, leaving out such information is such a basic oversight that many journalists – after all, they’re human too – won’t feel it’s worth the effort.. We’ll come back to this in our tips below.

Mistake 4: The timing of your press release was wrong

For a press release, good timing is key. Timing depends on:

  • whether there is a marketing campaign attached to the announcement: PRESS RELEASE;
  • what's going on in the world when you send out your press release.


how-to-write-a-press-release-timing.jpg,br>Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash

Regarding the latter: sometimes, the whole world is turned upside down, or at least the whole of the United Kingdom. Examples include the run-up to elections, when the England football team plays in major tournaments, the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, major crimes that capture the public imagination – that sort of thing. During these times no journalist will watch your press release, busy as they are with the big things in the news.

One trick is to never send your press release on Friday. Everyone is in ‘pre-weekend’ mode or has already gone home and your press release will not be viewed until Monday or later. Wednesday also turns out to be a bad day. Many people who work four days a week have Wednesday off. The other days – Monday, Tuesday and Thursday – are good options.

Mistake 5: You Sent your press release without a marketing campaign

One last important element: sending a single press release into the world has little chance of success without a marketing campaign behind it. Big company or small, it doesn't matter. The news in your press release can be great, but the press release should not have to swim alone – it will drown amongst all the other news! It is a waste of energy, time and effort to put out a press release without an attached marketing campaign.

The news in your press release can be great, but the press release should not have to swim alone.

Tips for writing a press release

Hopefully, you haven’t been put off by all the mistakes you can make and you still want to write your press release yourself, or at least try. Here you will find five tips to tackle writing your press release

Whether it will be picked up by the media is impossible to say in advance – even with the press release of the year. But you can make success more likely by following our tips.

If you think you don't have time for that, and are worried you won't succeed, then you can easily deploy an experienced copywriter via CopyRobin to write your press release.

Okay, on to our top tips for writing the perfect press release!

1) Have a good reason for writing a press release

What’s your reason to write a press release? Is what you have to say interesting enough for a journalist to read your entire message? Here are a few examples of good reasons to put out a press release:

  • You have developed a new, sustainable technology and it works perfectly – the environment and people are happy.
  • Your company has recently found a solution to problems such as high nitrogen emissions so that those who work in that environment are better protected – good for people.
  • From now on your electric lawn mowers will work silently, quieter than whisper-quiet – all neighbours in the UK and beyond are happy.


2) Structure your press release well

A good press release has the following elements:

  • mention at the top clearly that it is a press release. You could indicate this by using capital letters.
  • a catchy headline
  • a subtitle that complements the headline
  • an introduction that immediately explains who, what, where, why and how
  • the main text, with clear subheadings and sentences in bold
  • some information about your company and how different you are from others
  • contact details, as an unpublished note to the editor


Keep in mind that your main text should be more or less readable from the bottom, and it should be concise. Just like news items in the newspaper, it will be in one or two columns. Take a look and try to delete paragraph after paragraph from the bottom. Does the news stay the same? Yes? Great. Don't you get it anymore? You went too far!

With one or more quotes, the press release gets a personal touch and it makes it more lively.

To make your press release even more interesting, spice it up with one or more relevant quotes. You let yourself speak briefly, for example. With one or more quotes, the press release gets a personal touch and it makes it more lively.

It is also important that you keep the press release short and to the point. A maximum of one A4 sheet. Journalists are confronted with many press releases in one day and too much information in a press release is a deterrent. They quickly skip those kinds of long press releases.

3) Check, check, double check

You have finished your press release. You think it looks good. Is everything there that should be? Here's a list:

  • Is the headline of your press release catchy? Does it demand attention?
  • Is the subheading helpful?
  • Is it objective while still delivering your news?
  • If you quote someone outside your company, have you explicitly asked that person for permission? (Always do!)
  • Have you presented the general information about your company concisely but clearly?
  • Are the contact details clear?


Of course, you can mention the link to your website somewhere in the text, as long as it’s relevant. To make sure that what you want to get across from your press release comes across, have a few people read it before you send it out. Is anything missing? Is the tone right?

Let them criticise freely, that's the most useful thing here. You may also find The Copywriter’s Handbook (chapter 9) useful.

4) About your company

When describing your company, keep it short but sweet. Report what your company does, what problems you solve for your customers; the companies or organisations you work with; how many people work for you; what your ambitions are. If the company is also involved with a well-known charity, you might also mention that if it is relevant.

The contact details are intended for the editors, in case they have questions about your press release, want to see your company or invention or interview you. Put this data under a line of dashes (-------) across the entire width of your text.

Traditionally, the text below that line is written in italics and begins with "Note to editors, not for publication." Then you write the name of your company, the name of the spokesperson or press contact, their telephone or extension number and mobile phone number, and the company email.

5) Your marketing campaign

As mentioned, a good press release is accompanied by a marketing campaign. In other words, the press release is part of a marketing campaign. It doesn't have to be a big, comprehensive campaign, but throwing out a press release and hoping someone picks it up is a waste of time and energy.

Here are a few things you can do at the same time or just before sending your press release:

  • Publish the press release without the editor's note on your website.
  • Put out a blog post about the news. 
  • If you advertise on websites where your business is relevant, advertise now with the news in context.
  • If you regularly advertise in local newspapers, then advertise around the press release as well.

You see, it's that simple – now you have a marketing campaign! Depending on your budget and the importance of your news, you can run the ads for a few weeks. And a blog with the initial news can be followed up with a blog covering one or more aspects of that news in more depth.

Reading tip: Writing a press release: the ultimate checklist.

Smart distribution of your press release

A useful service for distributing your press release is Presscloud. Use this online service to send your press release to the journalists and publications most relevant to your company.

Leave the writing of your press release to the professionals

You may be thinking, “Oh dear, I really can't do that – writing a good press release and all the marketing around it is too much…” Then let CopyRobin take care of writing the press release for you. Then you can focus on marketing and doing what you do best: running your business.

Let CopyRobin write your press release

Eric van Hall


Eric is the founder and owner of CopyRobin - 'copywriting as a service'. This online platform helps companies obtain excellent copy, and freelance copywriters get fulfilling assignments. Eric regularly blogs, podcasts and vlogs about digital marketing at CopyRobin and Emerce. Eric is also available as a presenter, moderator, interviewer and chairman for (online) events. He has been interviewed by Het FD, Het Parool, De Volkskrant, De Telegraaf, Het AD, Trouw, BNR and others. His mission is to help the world with better texts.