Press release rules: a prestigious post…

Ah, the humble press release.

From nine years as a journo receiving them to another seven as a comms officer writing them, I’ve rarely been far from those carefully-crafted, re-crafted, re-re-crafted and tortuously-approved bits of purple prose.

In my newspaper days, I’ll admit, they could occasionally be a god-send when a space needed filling at 7pm on a Sunday.

But a significant majority were annoying, many did the senders’ clients more harm than good and I reckon a good 83% included pointless statistics from a survey that never really took place.

And that was before the “Hi, it’s Crystal from Poncey PR – just checking you got our release about the unique new radiator launch” follow-up call.

Nowadays, of course, I’m doing less and less (I don’t think I’ve broken my press release duck for 2013) – a trend that will continue as the year progresses.

But as we move away from the time-honoured tradition of shovelling stuff out to influential hacks and hoping for the best, it’s worth recalling a few, tongue-firmly-in-cheek, golden press release rules*:

• All awards ceremonies are to be described as “the Oscars of the (insert relevant industry) world”. They should also be referred to as “prestigious” at least once.

• All new products/projects/schemes are “unique”. Nothing like it has ever been seen or done before, d’you hear me?

• Notes to Editors should always be longer than the release itself and are an ideal dumping ground for the mind-numbing crap that has to be mentioned, but you can’t bring yourself to include in the main body of the release.

• When being quoted, everyone – and I mean everyone – must be said to be “absolutely delighted”. Particularly when announcing a prestigious award win or unique product launch.

• If pushing the boat out and attaching a picture, a line-up of suits is preferable – ideally clutching a big cheque.

There are many more press release sins, I’m sure. And yes, *I have been guilty of every single one…



  1. “I’m absolutely delighted to be reading this post today. Not only for me, but also for the local people that are so important to the community. To be part of this prestigious scheme, in what are the oscars of the blogging world, means so much to so many. I would urge people out there to get involved in this unique situation….*smiles, straightens tie, grabs cheque


    1. Notes to Editors:
      Ross’ comment is part-financed by some obscure European funding pot nobody’s heard of that delivers sustainable developmental, erm, sustainability in communities and stuff.


  2. So pleased to see my all time favourite in here. The good old ‘absolutely delighted’ – a phrase so infrequently used in actual conversation but so readily thrown around on the pages of a press release.


  3. Made me smile and remember the quarterly RAJAR radio listening releases that we’d craft. So many stats that every station could claim to be leading in at least one category that was also clearly the most important! From day one at CIPR, I made it a house rule that I was NEVER ‘delighted’ about anything in a release and highly unlikely to be ‘excited’.


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