Bad News Releases: 25 Press Release Turkeys

by PR Coach

These 25 press release turkeys will leave you gobbling

Need a news fix? How about rack of goat; a score of new websites; 10% retail savings; a two-month old talk show appearance; NYPD Nudie cop; 50 year-old abs; aerospace engineers and car repairs; albinos in Tanzania; air hockey and better relationships; the end of a store sale?

We’ve got it all in the 2nd installment of our Bad News Releases feature.

Our first collection of bad press releases was our most popular post in 2010. We’ve got 25 brand new press release turkeys that will never get past the editor’s or reporter’s inbox.

Here are seven reasons why these news releases fail:

  • No news – totally lacking in “news” value for readers or audiences.
  • Headline sucks – without a great headline, your news release is headed to the waste basket fast.
  • Crammed with corporate-speak – your CEO may like his quote but if it sounds silly, it is!
  • Filled with marketing-speak – a news release is not a marketing brochure.
  • Poorly written, badly edited, terrible grammar – remember, you’re pitching people who write and deliver news for a living.
  • Loaded with techno-babble – geek-speak reeks.
  • Did I mention “no news?”

Once again, it goes to show that sometimes it’s better not to send out a bad news release.

There are many better message, marketing and media channels available including blogs, web content, Facebook, and other social media and traditional marketing tools.

Despite a few expert opinions, the press release is alive and well. The problem is too many people are sending out news releases without news or worse.

25 Worst News Release Headlines

We’ve gathered these press release losers from several of the popular “free” news release distribution services. Remember, just because it’s a free service doesn’t mean you can send out junk and expect media to use it.

Even worse, if you do it poorly, your next real news release may get tossed away without a read. And that bad press release stays on the Internet for a long time as an embarrassing reminder of your bad judgment.

Ready? Here we go.


MyCoolCell Launches New Facebook Page and Offers 10% Off Retail Orders with “Like” or Positive Comment
Wrong. Marketing-speak, trying to buy “likes” and not a speck of news despite the 10% discount.

Legal & General Urge Couples to Think About the Future this Valentine’s Day
In my humble opinion, “legal” and “general” are wrong. Life insurance doesn’t say “I love you!” And, this headline doesn’t give you a clue about its content.

Criminal Lawyer Patrick Roberts Featured on Radio Show
Oh come on! A Feb 9, 2011 news release about a “late November 2010” talk show appearance?

Company President Is A Natural Fit With Stanford Who’s Who
Who knew? Who cares? Equivalent of marketing junk mail.

Stanford Who’s Who Selects Sensational CEO For Membership
Actually a possible story, but same as previous, plus hyperbole.

Phenomenal Writer Is Published In The Ranks Of Stanford Who’s Wh
Must be a sale on at Stanford Who’s Who? You buy a membership, pay to be included in several publications, online, buy plaques and a glass award and then they issue one of these “free” press releases (as many as 15 or more daily).

Magnificent Handyman Earns Membership With Stanford Who’s Who
Excuse me? And it went on and on and on. Enough with the SEO news releases. I have a headache. There are actually some good stories. They just aren’t news.

NAFNA TD is Proud to Present the New Website – – with Modern Features and a Great Blog! FC Barcelona Tickets Can Be Reserved Online or Contacting Our Offices
A new website is not news. This headline is not news. Marketing is not news.

Plastic Surgery Practice in Chicago Launches New Website
I repeat. A new website is not news even if the good doctor is “excited.”

Gedalias Announces Availability of Rack of Goat for Sale
Hmmm. I’ll pass. More marketing.

San Clemente Short Sale Certified Real Estate Agent – Sherry Bauer
And in the silly headline category…

NYPD Nudie Cop Puts Clothes On
Gotcha on this one! Catchy. This headline really works though it’s link-bait.

Next Generation of Handy Backup Incorporates Cloud, Extended Functionality, and Innovated Interface

Herbal Medicine for Injuries Introduced by Orthopedic Wellness Center
Sometimes bad grammar makes for a funny headline. Lucky they had the herbal spray for the injuries the OWC introduced.

Press Release Train Wrecks from

Get Abs for Your 50th
My abs were here just a minute ago. A poorly written article is NOT a news release.

Seconds From Curb Appeal And Home Sales
Nonsensical head hides good item.

Action Automotive – Auto Repair Eugene – (541) 686-0191
Well, maybe it’s a new phone number? Nope. Aerospace engineers and technicians work together at local repair shop? Goofy.

Julieth Between The Albinos In Tanzania
This one should never have left the zoo. Worth reading for sheer entertainment.

China Study Controversy: Can We Really Believe These Studies? Or Are They All Just Fake?
Ludicrous from headline to footer. A great example of why free press release services need an editor to say “No.”

How Air Hockey Games Can Positively Effect Your Relationships and Satisfaction
Whoa! Dumb and dumber. No wonder media hate many “news” releases.

Review of The Diet Solution Program That Really Work Unveils Perfect Information
Your grammar’s calling. Worth reading just to see an example of phony reviews masquerading as news.

Huge Gains from Another Recommendation
You’d never know it was for financial services, not fast foods. The inmates prepared this nonsensical SEO attempt judging by the content complete with bad formatting.

Hello from Second Genome!
Announcing the company name change. A classic fail with no attribution, no sense, no news and no credibility.

Vecow Announces the VMX-200 4-CH/8-CH Video/Audio Capture Card Series with Mini-PCIe Interface
Techno babble from Taiwan. How about a benefit in the headline backed up with clear writing?

Sale on All Store Items Ends on February 12, 2011
Which store? Where? Why should we care? Jeez. The marketing gets worse as you read on. If they’d just done a blog with pictures, it had potential.

Hope you enjoyed these really silly releases. Would enjoy your comments and sharing any of your favorite headlines or press release fails.

If you’re looking for news release best practices and learning from other “bad press releases”, try out these previous posts:

38 Experts Share News Release Best Practices
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
16 Bad Words & Phrases to Banish from PR
Overused Buzzwords Strangle the Real News

We’ve got lots more News Release Writing Tips and Do-It-Yourself PR Tips in the PR Library.

Next post, we’ll feature 10 Best News Release Headlines, just to show how smart news releases can attract real media interest.

Author:  Jeff Domansky is Editor, The PR Coach

Photo credit: mtsofan via Flickr

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