Crafting a press release that stands out can be challenging at the best of times, and in the time of Covid-19 there is even more to consider. You don’t just want to be informative and timely, but helpful and even uplifting if possible. You want to balance the need for communicating about your brand and products without appearing to capitalise on the difficult situation we are all navigating
With that in mind, the team at Cision reviewed real examples of press releases that PR Newswire, (a Cision company), have approved and refused. Whilst the below examples follow PR Newswire’s strict guidelines, it’s important to remember that at the end of the day, newswire services are intended to be a trusted source for the media and dependable ones strive to maintain high standards for the releases distributed.
We refuse any press release that:
1. Is profiteering, or trying to make an unfair profit during this situation
2. Is newsjacking, or trying to promote their product not directly connected with this situation
Examples of refused press releases (these are fictional examples based on real submissions):
· Covid-19 Quintuples Demand for Medical-Grade Infrared Cameras for Small Tennessee Business
This is an unsubstantiated health claim surrounding Covid-19, and therefore would be rejected. Any content in the pharmacy or larger realm of health that makes extraordinary health claims – especially related to this particular virus- is immediately flagged and escalated for review.
· New Study Shows Data Revealing the Most In-Demand Germ-Killing Items Following Covid-19's Continued US Spread
This press release would be rejected because the brand it came from is a travel company, not a research firm. It’s a clear case of newsjacking.
· Goyle Dentistry Endorses Powerful Shake you can Make at Home to Boost Immune Function, De-stress, Fight Disease and Heal Now
This is another example of unsubstantiated health benefits, this time paired with profiteering. (It further raises the question of why a dental practice is recommending such a product.)
Examples of approved press releases:
This brand has changed their business model in order to help its target audience during a difficult time. It’s both helpful and uplifting. We’ve seen many press releases around brands doing similar things, and those always get approved.
This is a water utility company sharing vital news for public good during a difficult time.
A great example of a company creating new entertainment options that encourage safe social-distancing whilst also supporting a small local business.
Whether or not you’re responsible for crafting a Covid-19 related press release, these announcements in a time of crisis are a reminder of what’s important to keep in mind when distributing content.
Written by Sarah Parker, content marketing manager at Cision.
In an effort to support PR and communications professionals during these uncertain times, Cision has compiled these free Covid-19 PR resources to help guide you.
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