7 reasons your press release isn't getting enough attention (and how to fix them)

By Life Science Newswire
9 Min Read

Effective communication is critical to commercial success in the dynamic and ever-evolving field of life sciences. Whether you're unveiling a revolutionary instrument, assay, or other technology that could change the course of research, launching a new pharmaceutical product that has the potential to save or improve lives, or sharing milestone data from clinical trials that could attract investors and partners, a well-crafted press release is essential for effectively disseminating your news. 

However, the harsh reality is that even the most groundbreaking news can go unnoticed if not presented and distributed effectively. In a world inundated with information, your press release is up against many challenges to be seen. From competing news stories and the intricacies of social media algorithms to the specific preferences of journalists and editors in your field, there are numerous factors that can prevent your message from reaching its intended audience.

In this blog post, we explore 7 common reasons why your press releases may be underperforming and offer actionable insights to help you rectify these issues.

So, if you're frustrated with the performance of your recent press releases and are looking for ways to amplify your reach and impact, you've come to the right place. Read on to discover how you can improve your press release performance.


1. Failure to capitalise on your attention-grabbing opportunity


The problem:

In today’s fast-paced media landscape, journalists and readers are constantly inundated with endless information. As a result, you only have a few seconds to grab their attention and convince them that your press release is worth their time. It’s, therefore, critical that you optimise your first touchpoints. Typically, these touchpoints are either your headline or even your email subject line if you share your press release with journalists as part of your distribution efforts. If your email subject line and headline don’t immediately capture interest, you could miss out on valuable opportunities to get your news in front of the right people. 

Humans are naturally drawn to novelty, urgency, and relevance. If your email subject line and headline don't clearly and compellingly convey the significance of your news, your press release risks being overlooked, regardless of how groundbreaking or important the actual content may be.


The fix:

  • Craft a clear and concise headline: The first rule of thumb is to keep it simple. Your headline should be straightforward enough that anyone can understand, yet specific enough to accurately represent the content. 
  • Subject line length: The optimal length for a subject line is 50 characters. This ensures your subject line will be fully visible in most emails. With this in mind, make sure the most important information in your subject line is included in the first 50 characters. 
  • Make them compelling: Use action verbs that convey a sense of urgency or importance to make your headline and email subject line stand out. Words like "reveals," "transforms," and "disrupts" can add a dynamic quality to them.
  • Use numbers or statistics: Numbers provide a concrete detail that can make your headline and subject line more credible and eye-catching. For example, instead of saying "Promising New Drug," a more compelling alternative could be "New Drug Shows 70% Efficacy in Stage 2 Trials." This not only quantifies the effectiveness of the drug but also adds a layer of specificity that can attract more attention.
  • Consider a sub-headline: In a complex field like the life sciences, boiling down a piece of news to 5-10 words is often a challenge. One “get out of jail free” card is to leverage the power of a subhead below your main headline to add any extra detail that you feel is required to better explain the nature of your story. 
  • Avoid spam triggers in subject lines: Certain words and phrases can trigger spam filters and cause your email to be flagged as junk. Avoid using words like "free," "buy now," or "click here" in your email subject line.


2. Overly technical language


The problem:

The life sciences sector is rife with specialised terminology, complex processes, and intricate data. While this technical language is essential within the scientific community, it can be a significant barrier to entry for the general public and even journalists who specialise in the field. As such, the use of overly technical language in your story can alienate the audience that will actually publish your press release (i.e. the media), reducing the reach and impact of your message. This is particularly problematic when you're trying to reach journalists who are on tight deadlines and may not have the time to decipher complex scientific terms.

The fix:

  • Use plain language: The first step in making your press release more accessible is to use plain language. This doesn't mean dumbing down your content; it means making it understandable to people who aren't experts in your field. Use straightforward words and short sentences. Explain concepts in a way that someone without a degree in the subject could understand.
  • Avoid jargon: While some technical terms may be unavoidable, try to minimise their use. When you must use specialised terminology, provide a simple explanation the first time the term appears in the press release.
  • Provide context: Providing context can help readers understand the significance of the news and why it matters. Explain how the news fits into the broader scientific or industry landscape and what the potential implications are.
  • Use visuals: Images can help to make complex scientific concepts more understandable and engaging. Include a relevant visual in your press release that helps illustrate the news rather than using a generic stock image. 


3. Poor timing


The problem:

In the realm of public relations and media, timing isn't just a factor — it's often the factor that determines whether your press release gets the attention it deserves or falls by the wayside. Releasing your press release at an inopportune time, such as late on a Friday afternoon when most people are winding down for the weekend or during a major industry event when the media landscape is saturated with news, can severely limit its visibility and impact.

People, including journalists, have specific routines and habits when it comes to news consumption. For instance, Mondays are generally busy as people catch up from the weekend. Understanding these behavioral patterns can help you choose a release time that aligns with higher levels of engagement and attention.

The fix:

  • Do your research: Before you set a release date, take some time to understand the news cycle in your specific industry. Are there recurring events, announcements, or trends that dominate the news at certain times? Avoid releasing your press release during these periods unless your news is directly related and significant enough to compete.
  • Know the best days: General PR wisdom suggests that Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursdays are the best times to distribute a press release (the specific time will vary depending on the timezone(s) of your target audience). These are typically the days when journalists are most active, and the public is most engaged with news. However, this can vary by industry, so it's essential to tailor your timing to your specific audience.
  • Consider time zones: If your news is relevant to audiences in multiple time zones, you may need to plan multiple releases or choose a time that works reasonably well globally. For instance, a mid-afternoon release in Central Europe will land in the inboxes of those on Eastern Time mid-morning and can catch the early risers on Pacific Time.


4. Lack of images


The problem:

In today's media landscape, visual content is increasingly important for capturing attention and conveying information quickly. A press release without a single image can be less engaging, particularly for audiences who prefer visual information over text. In fact, press releases without any images are less likely to get published. However, you shouldn’t include “just any image”. Using generic or irrelevant images can detract from the message and make the press release less effective.

The fix:

  • Include a relevant image: Including a high-quality image that is directly related to the content can add value to your press release. This image should enhance the story you're trying to tell and convey the news in a visually appealing way.
  • Use infographics: For top-tier news announcements, infographics are an excellent way to present complex data or processes in an easily digestible format. They can summarise key points, provide additional context, and offer a visual representation that complements your text, so can even help secure coverage.
  • Consider short video clips: If applicable, short video clips can provide a dynamic element to your press release. Videos can offer testimonials, demonstrations, or further explanations that may be cumbersome to convey through text alone.
  • Make it shareable: One of the advantages of including visuals is that they are more likely to be shared on social media, increasing the reach of your press release. Make sure your visuals are easily shareable and consider including social media buttons or links to facilitate this.
  • Optimise for mobile: With a growing number of people consuming news on mobile devices, it's crucial to ensure that your visuals are optimised for mobile viewing. This means they should be high-resolution but also appropriately sized so they load quickly and display correctly on smaller screens.


5. No clear call-to-action


The problem:

A well-crafted press release aims to not only inform but also to inspire action. However, many press releases fall short by failing to include a clear call-to-action (CTA). Without a CTA, your press release is like a story without an ending or a sales pitch without a close. It leaves the reader hanging, unsure of what to do next, which can result in missed opportunities for engagement, lead generation, or further media coverage.

A CTA is a motivational cue that guides the reader toward a specific action. It creates a sense of urgency and provides a clear next step, making it easier for the reader to engage with your content. Without a CTA, readers may feel less motivated to act, as the onus is on them to figure out what to do next, if anything at all.

The fix:

  • Be explicit: Don't assume that the reader will know what to do after reading your press release. Be explicit about the action you want them to take. Whether it's downloading a white paper, signing up for a newsletter, or reaching out for an interview, state it clearly.
  • Use action-oriented language: The language of your CTA should inspire action. Use strong, action-oriented verbs like "discover," "learn more," "register now," or "get started." This helps to create a sense of urgency and encourages the reader to act immediately.
  • Provide multiple contact points: Sometimes, a single CTA may not suffice, especially if your press release appeals to a diverse audience. In such cases, consider providing multiple CTAs that cater to different reader actions. For example, you could include one CTA for journalists who want to request an interview and another for potential customers who would like to learn more about a new product. The customer-focused CTAs won’t be published on every news site, but it’s better to include one than not. 
  • Test and measure: If possible, use tracking links or other analytics tools to measure the effectiveness of your CTAs. This will provide valuable insights into what's working and what needs improvement, allowing you to optimise future press releases.


6. Ignoring SEO


The problem:

In today's digital landscape, the importance of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) cannot be overstated. While press releases were traditionally aimed at journalists and media outlets, the internet has broadened their audience to include the general public, investors, and industry professionals. Ignoring SEO practices means your press release may not appear in relevant search results, severely limiting its reach and potential impact.

When people search for information online, they are more likely to click on results that appear on the first page. This is because higher-ranking results are often perceived as more credible and relevant. By optimising your press release for search engines, you increase the likelihood of it being found and read, thereby enhancing its effectiveness.


The fix:

  • Incorporate relevant keywords: Identify keywords that are relevant to your press release and naturally incorporate them throughout the text. These should be words or phrases that your target audience is likely to use when searching for information related to your news. Be careful not to overstuff your content with keywords, as this can be penalised by search engines.
  • Use meta descriptions on your website: A meta description is a brief summary of your press release that appears in search engine results. It should be concise, informative, and include your primary keyword. A well-crafted meta description can encourage clicks and improve your search ranking.
  • Utilise alt text for visuals: If your press release includes images or videos, make sure to include alt text that describes the visual content. This not only makes your press release more accessible to people using screen readers but also provides additional opportunities to include relevant keywords.
  • Optimise headings and subheadings: Search engines give more weight to text that appears in headings and subheadings. Therefore, try to include your primary keyword in the headline and any subheadings within the press release. This can improve your content's relevance and ranking in search results.

7. Inadequate distribution channels


The problem:

In the age of multi-platform media, relying solely on one distribution channel can be a critical mistake. For example, if you only send your press release via email to a list of journalists, you're missing out on other opportunities for securing attention and coverage. This limited approach can severely restrict the reach and impact of your press release, making it less likely to achieve your communication goals.

Different audiences consume information in different ways. Some people prefer reading articles on news websites, while others rely on social media for updates. Understanding these behavioral patterns allows you to meet your audience where they are, increasing the likelihood of your press release being seen and acted upon.

The fix:

  • Diversify your distribution strategy: Don't put all your eggs in one basket. Utilise a mix of traditional media outlets, online platforms, social media channels, and industry-specific forums to disseminate your press release.
  • Leverage social media: Platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook offer unique opportunities to reach a broader audience. When sharing your press release on these platforms, use relevant hashtags, mentions, and direct messages to increase visibility. Social media also allows for real-time engagement, providing immediate feedback on your press release.
  • Utilise industry-specific forums: Forums and online communities specific to your industry can be goldmines for targeted distribution. These platforms often have highly engaged audiences who are deeply interested in your field, making them more likely to read and share your press release.
  • Use press release distribution services: There are various services available that can distribute your press release to multiple channels, including the Life Science Newswire and other national and international media outlets. These services often come with analytics tools that allow you to track the performance of your press release, providing valuable insights for future campaigns.


Elevate your press releases: A final word

In the fast-paced world of life sciences, a well-crafted press release is an essential tool for gaining visibility and credibility. However, even groundbreaking news can go unnoticed if not strategically planned and executed. This guide has highlighted common pitfalls—from uninspiring headlines to poor timing—and offered actionable fixes to address them.

The ultimate goal is clear and effective communication. This means reaching the right audience at the right time, in a manner that resonates. By applying the practical strategies outlined here, you not only increase the chances of your press release gaining attention but also of making a meaningful impact.


Amplify your life science news with targeted distribution

You’ve covered the above best practices and your next press release is polished and ready for the spotlight, but what's next? The key to impactful media coverage lies in strategic distribution.

Choose Life Science Newswire for your press release distribution and tap into our extensive network of over 2,900 editors and journalists in the life sciences sector. We ensure your news reaches the right audience across a wide range of reputable publications.

Take advantage of our pay-as-you-go service for just £700 per distribution and watch your life science news make waves in the industry.

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