Four tips for dealing with American press releases in Europe

No one culture is the same. This should come as no surprise. But did you know that this translates to your press releases as well? When you’re working for an American organization in Europe, it’s important to note the characteristics of your press releases and to be aware of what your target audience wants to read. It’s the only way to ensure their news is successfully distributed in the country you’re active in. To help you, we have lined up four tips for dealing with American press releases in Europe:

1. Make sure the news is relevant
Before announcing an American customer win in your local market, you should ask yourself if your new client has a large economic footprint in Europe, and more specifically the country you’re active in. If it doesn’t, you should reconsider whether it’s truly relevant to announce that a certain American company has chosen your product and successfully implemented it. This goes for notices of appointment as well. If your company isn’t well-known in your country, few media outlets will be interested in the American management.

In these cases, it’s important to ask your local agency to explain what does and doesn’t work. This is better than simply translating and distributing the original US press release and then having to explain to the organization why it wasn’t picked up. Make sure your arguments are clear, convincing, and easy to pass on.

2. Consider the target country’s preferences
In some countries journalists prefer to add a picture to appointment notices. Yet many announcements of newly hired American CEOs or Vice Presidents lack such an image. And even upon requesting the said image, it is usually not available. Distributing the press release without an image often results in irritated editorial offices, decreasing your chances of the news being picked up.

In addition, it’s common in many countries to follow up a press release with a phone call. In many European countries however, it’s not. In fact, nine out of ten times, an agitated journalist will answer the phone, resulting in a bad name for your organization. In the Netherlands for example, follow-up calls or emails are seen as an extra push for a news item that is apparently not interesting or not clear enough on its own (meaning the press release is of poor quality). In addition, using leverage you might have with the sales departments to try and push an article in a magazine will probably damage your relationship with the journalist.

3. WIFM
Many American IT press releases tend to extensively celebrate a certain product or service. It’s fantastic, innovative and industry-leading. Not to mention unrivalled, state-of-the-art and unique. But these press releases often forget to mention what’s in it for the user. Especially in the Netherlands, the readers of this press release will have little interest in this abundance of superlatives. They want to know how the product or service will help them - what’s in it for them, WIFM!

4. Localize the content
When it comes to language, superlatives aren’t the only aspect you should consider changing. In addition to an overload of unnecessary adjectives, American press releases tend to show more characteristics many other target groups don’t care for. Long compounds along the lines of “application performance enhancement solutions”, can be a challenge to translate. Overly complex names for standard words, may also be less suited to European releases. Terms such as “an enhanced customer success team that seamlessly delivers on customer needs”, instead of just “customer service” are therefore to be avoided.

The Dutch prefer copy that is to the point and easy to read. In order to successfully distribute a press release, you therefore shouldn’t just simply translate the content, you should localize it - or even rewrite it. This is the only way to make sure a press release meets the needs of your target audience.

By Stella Jansen, Managing Director at Progress Communications

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