Bad Dogs: 18 Brand New, Worst Press Releases

by PR Coach on September 12, 2011

Bad press releases

18 bad dog news releases & tips

The quest for better, more effective news releases continues. Or does it? You wouldn’t know it by looking at this month’s collection of 18 of the latest, worst press release dogs.

The headlines alone will make you shudder. As you’ll see, the only plausible excuse for these news release fails is “the dog ate my real press release.”

But first, let’s look at some interesting press release trends.

This was twigged by my recent interview about news releases with reporter Kevin Roose of The New York Times. His article New-Form Press Release, in Blog, Tweet and Haiku highlighted Google’s purchase of Zagat and how neither company used a standard news release to make their announcements.

Google announced the acquisition on its blog in a very effective way. Zagat took a similar creative approach “rating” the deal with four perfect 30 out of 30 scores. It was effective for Zagat readers familiar with its rating system.

Roose said he’s noticed a trend to “puns, jokes and witticism” in announcements, especially by high tech companies although they can backfire as he noted with HubSpot’s recent Twitter news release. I thought it worked though as the “first” all Twitter news release. Regardless, the companies got his attention and some mostly-positive news coverage.

It’s no secret news releases have changed hugely in the past four years. While the old form news release is dead, social media releases work well but they must still contain the essential news elements.

This infographic by PR Newswire shows that releases with photos, video, and other multimedia can increase the number of views by 77%.

Four News Release Qs to Ask

Remember to ask yourself four questions if you’re considering a news release:

  1. Do I have “real” news or is my announcement a marketing message better issued through other channels?
  2. What social media elements such as audio, video, photos, links and info graphics can I include to get more interest?
  3. Is my headline and lead paragraph strong enough to get a reporter or editor’s attention?
  4. Have I done everything possible to write an interesting release that delivers news and valuable information, insight or an interesting angle for reporters?

Answering these four questions will help you write a much more effective news release.

Remember, 75 percent of journalists still find well-targeted news releases with high-quality content useful and it seems 79.4% still want it by email according to Dan Janal.

If you’re still stuck trying to write your news in standard news release format, maybe it’s time to get more creative like Google and Zagat? You can reach your targets directly and sometimes more effectively with a blog post, a tweet, Facebook post, e-mail, newsletter, a story well told, an interview or even, horrors, an advertisement.

18 Worst News Releases

Without a catchy headline, a strong lead paragraph or a very creative approach, you’re sunk. These bad dogs make you appreciate what Roose and news editors have to suffer through to find the news. Here are my picks for the 18 worst press release dogs this month along with a few comments from this dog catcher, I mean “editor”:

From MyPRGenie.com:

Ambit Energy Launches Electricity in New Jersey in the PSE&G and JCP&L Territory
Gee real electricity? How about leading with some consumer benefits?  Grrrrr.

WaTunes CEO Kevin Rivers Resigns, Appoints Kyle Rivers as Successor
I’m quitting but I’m appointing my brother to be in charge. Complete with bad grammar. Ruff, ruff.

FEA Engineering Services, FEA Consulting Engineering Through Expert FEA Enginee
A poor ad and even worse press release. Wrong. Go fetch a new approach.

Writing on the Web: Why Blogging Is Cool
A blog post with no news does not a news release make. And he’s a “communication consultant.” Better shared in a different breed of media, like a blog.

DailyDisruption.com names Savtira the Cloud Disruptor of the Day
Cloud disruptor of the day? Who’d have thunk it? Mixing Kibble with news never works.

From Free-Press-Release.com:

Elite Pressure Washing & Painting, Inc cleans the windows of The Woodlands, Texas with their Residential and Commercial Window Cleaning Services
Do they do dog houses too? Not news. Give the dog a bone.

Weight Loss New York
This is a headline? Actually, the story had potential but this dog won’t hunt.

Enjoy Pure, Safe and Uncontaminated Food Flavors!
This quirky news release works. I’m slipping it on the list. Good dog!

Home Inspections southern ca
Self-centered and weird, as in amateur hour. Bad dog and funnier than my Cairn Terrier.

Greetings to all you Newtwork Marketers:
Grrrrrrrr. Attention newtwork marketers! Calling all newts. Give this dog a bone and a spell check too.

From PRLog.org

Max A. Pooch “About Me’ Maxims to be Introduced on Web Site.
Some announcements just aren’t news, no matter the breed. Fits our “dog” theme though. Pass the dog biscuits.

PROTOKRAFT Introduces MATRIX Series Octal Port (16xFiber) D38999 Optoelectronic Transceivers
And? Baffling. Sic ‘em Rover.

From 1888PressRelease.com

Hilsonic Supply There IST4000 Ultrasonic Cleaner to Two Major Clients in the Power Generation Industry
No bad grammar in headlines, nor bafflegab in the lede. Fetch the dictionary, Sport.

Frank Buonanotte, CEO of Honeymark International
Oh, I need a headline and a dog pacifier… This one has bulldogs, diabolical schemes, abusing the political power, corruption and medicinal honey and so much more. Sweet! You’ll howl too.

A kosher iPad? Jewish E-Books site kicks off with Free iPad2 & Free ebooks Sweepstakes
We’ll bite. A kosher iPad?

Babyoye.com awards PR mandate to LinOpinion
Complete with grammar mistakes, I’m not sure if the PR agency or client gets the collar for not proofreading.

More Than 25 Utilities to Be Recognized at E Source Awards Luncheon
OK. Is it 26, 27, 28, much more? Why so imprecise? Fido and I are confused.

Dunes’ Back Bay Bistro Announces Prime Rib Thursdays & New Saturday Brunch
Not news, even if they have a rib bone for Scooter to chew on. C’mon marketing people, be more creative.

Looking for news release tips and more press release pratfalls? Similar PR Coach posts you may enjoy:

Bad News Releases: 25 Press Release Turkeys
Bad Press Releases: 20 Worst Headlines Ever
Bad News Releases: Yokohama Tire Gets a Flat
Bad Press Releases: Weight Loss News Losers
Bad Press Releases: Marketing, Not News
Bad Press Releases: BS + Bafflegab = PR Fail
News Release Was Not Ready for Prime Time

Photo Credit:  Patricia Marroquin / Shutterstock.com

Author: Jeff Domansky is Editor, The PR Coach

Sponsored by:

Marcia’s Makeovers: 24 Press Releases Transformed from So-So to Sizzling
Get Marcia Yudkin’s popular self-study news release writing course. Learn how to transform your news releases from ho hum to hot!

PRWeek Magazine Subscribe to the leading PR news journal.

468x60 logo on right side and green