I’ve never heard of the company Invent-Tech, but I’m betting it’s one of those companies that charges amateur inventors a gazillion dollars to help them license and market their inventions.
The company sent me a news release and cover letter last week about Freddy Mella from Union City, New Jersey, who invented a product that extinguishes fires. The release and letter violated at last a half-dozen rules of working with the media:
—First, the cover letter would have been unnecessary had they included all the details at the bottom of the release.
—The cover letter addressed me as “Dear Sir or Madam.” They might not have the time to learn who I am, but that’s OK. I have the time to expose them as lousy publicists.
—The lead sentence says, “Enclosed, please find a Press Release to announce the development of an exciting new invention by one of our clients.” Never, ever tell the media that what you’re selling is exciting.
—The cover letter says “There will be no product photos, prototypes or graphic illustrations of the design made available to the media until a licensing agreement and/or Patent protection has been secured.” Then they have the gall to give a telephone number where the inventor can be interviewed. Most journalists I know would say “Buy an ad.”
—No one’s name was at the bottom of the letter. It simply said “Publicity/Public Relations Dept. Ext. 2285.”
—The bottom of the letter says: “We would respectfully request that we receive a tear sheet or reprint if you elect to publish this Press Release or any related stories.” Never, ever ask the media for reprints. Call the circulation department and order as many copies as you need.
In this case, I don’t think the company will have to worry about asking for reprints because I’m hard-pressed to think of a newspaper that would publish this.