A Word to 3D Printing Companies

By on March 11th, 2018 in blog


 Making sense of an incomplete press release
Making sense of an incomplete press release

Some advice to 3D printing companies that want to publicize something new. 

As a major publication in the 3D print space we receive a great deal of announcements from companies around the world. This is terrific for us, since we spend a lot less time looking up information because it arrives automatically. 

But sometimes, and far too often, companies don’t seem to execute the announcement properly. When this happens, it’s a lot more difficult for us to create a story from the raw announcement material. Occasionally the troubles are sufficient for us to not pursue writing a story. 

I’m not sure why this happens, as the science of making announcements is pretty mature at this stage of civilization, but one reason might simply be the newness of companies in the 3D print space. 

There are a lot of 3D printing startups, and some of those may not have gained the experience or ability to do announcements in a way that makes life easy for those writing about them. 

We thought we’d provide some tips for 3D printing companies wishing to make announcements. 

Topic: Make sure you actually have something to announce. It’s surprising how many companies issue a very formal press release but talk about a relatively inconsequential event, something only slightly important to the company itself and no one else, or even re-announce something previously said. 

Details: Ensure the announcement includes all pertinent details, such as the key differentiating features, the cost of the product, the date on which it may be released – even if an estimate. Announcing a product with no release date is effectively meaningless, as it might be forever – and actually is in some cases! 

Images: We don’t publish a story unless we have an image or two that’s relevant to the announcement. Make sure you include one! Even better, more than one. At the very least, include your logo or something relevant we can use. 

Image Quality: I am astonished at how many times we see a press release that, while successfully including an image, has only a poor-quality, thumbnail sized version. We cannot use such images. We need higher quality images – and it’s not that expensive to hire someone to take them. It’s a really good idea to do this. And at the same time, don’t pollute the image with text over top of the image. 

Resources: Some terrific press releases include a link to a resource page that includes a variety of images to select from, for example. Don’t try to distribute images only in a Word document, because that’s more work for us and often results in a poor quality image. 

Content and Style: One old concept is that you should “write the story for the them” in order to “make it easier for them to publish”. This is hogwash. Companies that do this typically write overly positive prose that is way past the line of trust of any competent reader, and especially on our publication. Don’t do this – just give us the facts and we’ll take it from there. 

Webpage: Very often a press release arrives by email, but does not include a corresponding reference to a web page that the public could read – because they cannot read the emails you send to us. We like to direct readers to such pages for them to obtain further information, but we cannot do so if there is no such page. Some companies very curiously do create such pages, but days or even weeks after the announcement. This makes no sense to us, because  effective announcements should coordinate all assets. 

Embargoes: Sometimes a company wishes to provide us with information in advance of a big announcement so that we can get a head start on writing a proper story. This is immensely appreciated, and I recommend all companies do this. But if you do so, make it absolutely clear precisely when the embargo lifts – which means specifying the date AND the time AND the time zone for that time. We’re global here – we use ALL time zones. 

I think that’s enough for now. I’ll be ecstatic if this post helps some 3D printing companies do better in the future. 

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!