Last week, Mitch Delaplane put himself and his public relations firm on the map when he unveiled "The Most Amazing Press Release Ever Written,” a witty spoof on press releases. Within a day, the release went viral, registering tens of thousands of tweets on Twitter and hundreds of recommendations on Facebook. Delaplane, president of Chicago-based Pitchpoint Public Relations, recently answered the following questions via e-mail from OPEN Forum executive editor Jason Del Rey.
JDR: You tweeted that you woke up the day after your release went viral to find out that you were dating one of the Kardashians. Are you also an athlete? Seriously, how did the idea for the press release come about?
MD: Have you ever seen the movie A Beautiful Mind? Well instead of my windows being covered in complex math equations (like the great professor John Nash), they’re covered with ideas for news release headlines and potential quotes… No seriously, I just thought it would be funny to issue a press release about a press release. About 70 percent of it was designed to make people laugh and 30 percent to see if would attract fun projects and like-minded clients.
And it worked.
JDR: What kind of long-term effects do you think this press will have on your business?
MD: Other than being invited to Presidential inaugurations and receiving fly-bys from the Blue Angels on my birthday, not much. But I have more to offer long-term than this… and already have ideas ready to execute.
JDR: What big names have you heard from since the release went up? Have you gotten any new, interesting job offers?
MD: Alyssa Milano and [New York Times columnist] David Pogue retweeted my release and that’s absolutely amazing. As for interesting job offers, yes, I now break in new shoes for Alyssa Milano and David Pogue so they're more comfortable when they wear them. In fact, these new pumps are killing me.
In all seriousness, yes, I’ve already been in discussions with potential new clients and their work is very exciting. Without getting too specific, as proposals are in the works, I'd say [they are] online startups that can't afford big agency fees but definitely understand the "need" for PR. It's also introduced me to brand managers at some very large companies who I'm hoping to approach in 2011 as well.
JDR: Why are so many press releases so bad?
MD: It’s not that they’re bad, in fact, the majority of them are written by talented people who work extremely hard. It’s incredibly hard to get media excited about things like larger Corn Flakes and cotton balls. And you have to keep in mind that most news releases have been vetted through legal departments and passed through so many hands that they often lose their luster and become nothing more than boiled-down corporate messages.
JDR: What are a few good tips for public relations folks who want their press releases to stand out?
MD: 1. Would you want to read your release? Do you find it interesting? If not, don’t expect media to.
2. If you feel a particular headline or news angle is going to garner interest, fight to keep it in.
3. Refrain from using the word, “moist.” It just makes people uncomfortable.
JDR: What kind of reaction were you expecting?
MD: Nothing like this. It’s honestly been amazing and the feedback has just been tremendous. It's nice to see the majority of people “get it.” I look forward to sharing more laughs and driving more attention to our industry, which could use a little PR itself.
JDR: Is this The Most Amazing Q&A Ever Conducted?
MD: Yes. And American Express is an amazing small business solution. (Now who should I invoice for this? And is there a PO# I should use?)