It's right here. I have it in my hand. I considered posting it but I'm not mean by nature and it's not necessary to make my point. Trust me. It's bad. Let me explain why.
The press release in question is essentially about a company's recertification to the latest version of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9000 quality standard. If this seems arcane to you, for manufacturers ISO 9000 describes a quality system that companies can choose to follow and be audited against. It is developed and updated by a global standards organization based in Switzerland. Being ISO 9000-registered indicates: a) that a company does in fact have some kind of quality system, and b) that their system conforms to a recognized global standard.
ISO 9000 certification is rarely mandatory. It is however sometimes "strongly encouraged" by a manufacturer's customers. While it can be reassuring to purchasing folks, certification is no guarantee that they will always receive a quality product. Quality, in the case of ISO 9000, is mostly about conformance to process specifications.
Likewise, at first glance, this press release conforms to specifications. It has an all-caps headline, a subhead, contact info at the top, dateline, quote, and the obligatory about paragraph (including company URL) at the bottom. So at least the template is there.
The biggest problem is the "news" itself. After receiving the ISO 9000 certificate from their registrar, I can just hear the quality manager or the CEO saying, "We need to put out a press release." And the junior marketing manager nodding his head, "No problem. We'll send it out this afternoon."
But it's not news. In the manufacturing industry promoting ISO renewal is almost like promoting the fact that you've renewed your factory's occupancy permit with the local fire department. It's like McDonald's or Burger King proclaiming, "We have French fries!"
Second, the marketing writer doesn't understand what ISO certification means. That's clear in the second sentence where the release states that ISO monitors manufacturers for adherence to the standards . ISO does nothing of the sort. It develops the standards. What registrars and companies do with the standards is up to them.
Third, the marketing writer doesn't understand what ISO certification means. Yes, I'm repeating the previous point. That's because there's no bigger potential cause for utter failure than not knowing what you're writing about. Slapping words together into an uninformed press release that goes out on the wires can be embarrassing at best. It's the opposite of thought leadership. Let's call it "dumb leadership."
Fourth, the third paragraph goes into more erroneous detail about the ISO 9000 standard itself, and says nothing more about the company or product. The release could have gotten a little better at this point. It could have linked high quality to the company's products or related market issues. It could have offered some advice on the benefits of a superior quality product. Or even promoted a quality-oriented, lifetime value-based quote service. But it didn't.
The fifth problem: clichés. "The world's leading…," "the highest quality," "the industry's largest selection," "state-of-the-art," "today's competitive manufacturing environment," "the company is the leader…." None of these phrases ever makes the cut if a story is picked up by any halfway-decent media outlet. Why include them in the first place? In this case, if you remove the clichés, there's virtually nothing left.
Finally, there's no real call to action. Sure, it includes, "For more information, visit" their website. But there's no urgency. Nothing of value is promised. The company could at least have offered a catalog, preferably electronic. Something. Anything.
I understand that small companies often struggle to come up with worthwhile "news." But sometimes, as in this case, no news would have been good news.
Do you have any more poor examples or advice for putting out newsworthy press releases?