Press releases used to be the stock and trade of the PR business. Everyone knew how to write them. Even if they were uninspired, they at least contained the basics. Yet many press releases omit them.

Omit what? How about a date? How about basic contact information? And most importantly, how about saying something worth reading.

As a writer, I sometimes scramble for content at the last minute. One tactic is to go to company websites to look through press releases. Without a date, I have no idea whether the posting is recent or three years old. That fact alone might cause me to skip mentioning a company as I am unsure of the timeliness of the information.

But let me rant about contact information. So many press releases no longer give any contact details. This is often the case with IT firms – no phone, no email. I’m especially looking for email addresses when I look at a press release on a website. They are rarely there.

Now let’s think about this. The purpose of a press release is to inform the press and get them to either publish something or pique their interest so they contact a company for the full story. They ALWAYS have contact information – or at least they used to. Imagine sending out letters and not giving your own address? How many responses would you get? It’s the same with press releases.

I have a suspicion that this aversion to email contacts on press releases comes from security paranoia. Maybe some security Nazi has insisted that no email addresses be made available to avoid spam, malware and ransomware. The next stage might be to never say anything. Taken to extremes, it might be better to shut up shop and cease to exist. Having no contact info on a press release isn’t so far removed from that.

Another theory is the copycat. Somebody somewhere, perhaps in a big firm, began to drop out contact info. Someone else followed suit. Pretty soon it became the norm.

The world today is exposed to more press releases from more sources than at any time in history. You would think that those penning them would have been taught the basics.

Final point: contact details are there so the press has a channel to go to for further information when the release generates interest. So many of them miss on this point. A press release should announce a new product, a big order, a new CEO, etc. But other interests can prevail. Search engine optimization and a desire to move up the Google rankings can be considered more important than press release messaging. If the only purpose is to place a few key words in a headline or manipulate rankings, then why even bother adding contact details.

The moral of the story is; if you have nothing to say in your press releases, then don’t bother to include your contact details. But if you really do have something to say, at least include an email and phone number.