Five press release tips from a grooming editor

Written by author, comedian and blogger David Smiedt.

As a journalist who specialises in covering men’s grooming, I’m at the front lines of a burgeoning industry. Upwards of a dozen press releases a day hit my inbox and I’m glad to receive them. But the ones that end up being translated into editorial content all share a few common traits.

1. Keep the hyperbole in check.

The idea that a scent is for a modern-day matador in tune with his animal spirit and the urban jungle”, a statement in courage” or created for the man who has danced with the devil in the pale moon light” – okay that was from Batman – is nothing but thesaurus abuse. Just tell me what’s in it and who made it.

2. It’s all about the science.

Don’t tell me something works. Show me. With a study. Preferably one that was conducted by an agency with no vested interest in the outcome of the study. It’s also always a plus if a researcher – as opposed to a brand ambassador who is a judge on a talent show – is available to interview.

3. The follow-up phone call.

Should a journalist follow up a press release requesting further information or details, don’t have the entire conversation before asking if I could just pop all of that in an email”? Taking a note or two wouldn’t kill you.

4. The male market is as segmented as the female one.

The more likely you are to bear the publication’s demographic and readership in mind, the more likely you will be to see your products get a run. In other words, the same guy who is willing to drop $500 on a bottle of aftershave is unlikely to go ga-ga over a supermarket brand fronted by a heavily-tattooed, retired NRL/AFL footballer repeating the real men aren’t scared to moisturise" mantra. The GQ reader wants different stuff to the Maxim reader to the Penthouse reader to the Men’s Health reader. Tweak your pitches accordingly. We’d rather receive the stuff whose appropriateness you’ve considered than everything that crosses your desk.

5. You will never see an upcoming features list encompassing all the stories for the next year.

So please don’t ask - it's tantamount to ringing your local KFC to ask if the Colonel would mind sharing his secret blend of herbs and spices”.