I get a lot of press releases from both sides of the political aisle. Some are good, some are not, and most are just unnecessary. The majority of the press releases I receive start out the same way. In fact, you can take this template below and pretty much write your own press release:
We, [INSERT NAME OR ORGANIZATION] call on [INSERT NAME OR ORGANIZATION] to stop/apologize/retract [INSERT COMPLAINT] immediately. We are saddened/frightened/angered by the actions of [INSERT NAME OR ORGANIZATION] .
After that, make sure to insert your contact information, in case some really bored reporter actually wants to call you.
I see this a lot in politics, where there is a tendency to think that a good press strategy is to just vomit out as many press releases as possible and hope that the media picks one up every now and then. What happens instead is that the media just starts to ignore the releases altogether. I know I do – if I get 10 press releases a week from the same source, and most of them are useless to me, then I just stop paying attention to them. But when I get the releases sporadically, and each one is relatively significant, then I am sure to take a minute to read through it.
In other words, if you don’t really have anything to say, there’s nothing wrong with not saying anything.
For example, take a look at this press release that I received today from the Colorado Democratic Party. This is one of two or three releases from the Colorado Democrats that I had in my inbox today.
Colorado Democrats Ask for Honesty and Civility in Upcoming Campaigns
Denver, Colorado – Colorado State Party Chair, Pat Waak, asked today for honesty and civility in all upcoming campaigns. Her most recent issue concerns comments last week from Scott McGinnis’ spokesperson concerning Maggie Fox, wife of Rep. Mark Udall.
“The tone of the statement by McGinnis’ spokeswoman was aggressive and frankly misinformed, if not untruthful,” said Waak. “Maggie has been the president of America Votes most recently. Her previous work as an attorney for an environmental organization, has helped to ensure that our natural resources are preserved. The people of Colorado, and the rest of the country appreciate her attention to our heritage.”
The remarks were made about Udall’s wife being a lobbyist were printed in several papers. The irony is that former Rep. McGinnis works as a lawyer with a firm that lobbies on behalf of many clients.
“Coloradans indicated in the last election that they were interested in issues, not personal attacks,” said Waak. “Let’s hope that we will rise to their expectations.”
First of all, the press release misspells the name of former Rep. Scott McInnis – not once, not twice, but thrice. But aside from that, the McInnis statement about Udall’s wife was first reported last Thursday night. Why are the Democrats issuing a press release about this five days later? Not only is this is old news, but it wasn’t even that big of a deal to begin with. If Democrats would have issued this press release on Friday, I still would have ignored it; but to issue this release five days later? Why? Do you think someone is really going to pick this up?
So with that, I formally I call on [INSERT NAME OR ORGANIZATION] to please stop mass-producing press releases that really aren’t important. I am saddened/frightened/angered by the continued barrage of press releases from [INSERT NAME OR ORGANIZATION].