So you have your shiny press release all written and ready to go! But, unless you want to get lots favourable coverage you need to make sure your copy gets spiked at the earliest opportunity, and never sees the light of day.

Your news needs to be a closely guarded secret, and as a professional PR and marketing wizard, it's your job to make sure it stays that way!

So, from an expert in failing to get coverage, here are my seven secrets to ensuring all your press releases will vanish down the media plughole, never to be seen again.

Don't thank me now! Thank me when no-one knows who you are, or what you do.

Follow these seven rules, and that will be sooner than you think!

1. Send your release to the wrong person.

The best way to make sure your release never gets noticed is to send it to a catch-all email address instead of a named editor or other contact. Failing that, you can use the cc: field so that every editor can see your whole distribution list. This will hopefully discourage them from using your release, especially if it's a really long list. Don't, on any account, use a mail merge to send individual, personalised covering emails, and for the love of all things holy, don't subtly alter your press release for different audiences – this kind of behaviour can get your news release embarrassing quantities of coverage online and in print!

2. Send your press release as an attached document.

Don't simply paste it into the body of your email for editors to read with ease. There's a good chance editors won't open your attached document, especially if your covering letter completely neglects to mention what the news release is about. If you can use an obscure file format from the 1990s, so much the better. For added security, you can compress the document into a zip file, and password protect it. Editors can be cunning and persistent where news is concerned, so don't make it easy for them!

3. Ensure your release contains no actual news.

Editors love news, especially news that matters to their audience and that is backed up by plenty of concrete facts and figures. Fill your news release with generalities, things that everyone knows already, and vague ideas that sound great but mean nothing. If you're stuck for ideas, copy something off the internet that sounds good, and that has lots of American spellings in it.

4. Taint any real news that accidentally creeps in.

If you can't keep the news out, pepper the copy with unqualified superlatives like best, totally unique, state of the art, unparalleled and so on. Or try and bury the significant details deep inside an interminably long sentence. If you can write the whole release as a single paragraph, without any breaks or subheadings, most readers will give up before they get to the salient points – thus keeping your news safe from prying eyes, even if your news release does have the misfortune of being published.

5. Keep it chatty and use lots of slang.

Editors like concise, sharp copy that starts with the main message and then backs it up with evidence. It's better to write in a chatty, waffling style, and avoid tedious details, facts and figures that might interest readers. If you can, try and include as many clichés as possible. “At the end of the day,” “think outside the box,” and “paradigm shift” are all tried and trusted clichés still in use today keeping news out of the media.

6. Send the news release out on a Friday evening.

Everyone will have gone home, so your news release will sit in everyone's inbox for at least 48 hours, getting buried in the weekend crop of spam and hopefully lost forever. If you can send it to the wrong person, late on a Friday afternoon, you can virtually guarantee a total lack of coverage.

7. Don't include ANY images.

If you have to attach a photograph, make sure it's either a) far too small to print, b) in a strange file format or c) totally unrelated to the story. But it's best to not send one at all – editors love pictures, and even if you've followed all the points above, they might still use your news release. Don't, whatever you do, send a choice of pictures – as this only encourages Editors. They will look to see which picture other media outlets have used, and use a different one, possibly doubling or even trebling your coverage as a result – disaster!-

The views and opinions expressed in these blogs are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of ESSA, its members, board or staff. Our members represent a broad range of views within the event industry, and we have provided this section of the website for their opinions to be openly heard and discussed.

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