The most vacuous press release ever: Revolt PR
Sometimes, when I boil down a piece of writing, I find nuggets of truth embedded within a matrix of jargon and bullshit. But sometimes, I just find nothing but platitudes, emptiness, and evidence of incompetence. That’s the apparent communications strategy of Revolt PR.
Here’s what the press release says: Revolt PR believes it can help you reach millennials, and it has a new web site. It takes 270 words to say so. And it’s a revealing exercise in why, if you have nothing to say, you should say nothing.
How to say nothing badly
Let’s deconstruct the release and figure out where it went wrong. I’ll provide a translation for each section of this remarkable document.
Revolt PR- First Millennial Public Relations Agency- Announces New Website
LOS ANGELES, Dec. 26, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Revolt PR-First Millennial Public Relations Agency, announced today the launch of its newly revamped website.
Translation: We have a Web site. How exciting!
This newly redesigned website offers quick and easy access to essential information. The new website has a clean uncluttered design, improved functionality and enhanced rich content focused on the Company’s mission to provide millennial marketing and public relations services.
Translation: The Web site works properly. Also, we like to repeat things (like “newly redesigned,” “clean uncluttered” and “enhanced rich”) to make sure you understand. And oh yeah, we market to millennials.
The millennial generation ages 18 to 34, is not the only largest population segment, it is the most racially diverse and highly educated generation in American history. Given these facts, the millennial generation is increasingly important to the future of brands. According to research by social marketing crowd tap, Millennials spend an average of 17.8 hours a day on with different types of media.
Translation: We, like everyone else since the dawn of marketing, realize that marketers want to target young people. However, we are too lazy to link to the Crowdtap study that shows their media habits, to spell Crowdtap’s name correctly, or to identify Crowdtap’s actual function as an influence marketing platform. Also, we don’t understand what statistics mean, because the number we’ve cited includes overlapping time with different media, rather than actually representing “17.8 hours a day.”
Revolt has developed content marketing and engagement tactic to reach millennials on a credible level, by rethinking how brands engage with millennials to achieve sustainable Revolt is constantly learning new tactics to reach millennials. News can be spread now faster than ever before, connecting with social influencer and bloggers helps us stay ahead of the marketing curve. We design our campaigns to pivot when need to deliver the best results for our clients.
Translation: We can’t get subjects and verbs to agree, or put periods at the end of sentences, but you should still trust us to “reach millennials on a credible level.” However, without citing any evidence of our actual activities or track record, we can use jargon like “content marketing” and “social influencer.” We have also mastered the use of cliches like “news can be spread now faster than ever before,” “ahead of the marketing curve,” and the term of the moment, “pivot.”
Revolt PR is a Los Angeles, CA-based company that provides public relations services to General Business, Events & Entertainment Division, Technology, and Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle divisions. Since 2015, Revolt PR has consistently challenged itself to produce greater results. Revolt PR has been proven to specialize in marketing to millennials.
Translation: We have divisions even though we are only one person, Joseph Benjamin (shown above). Our questionable command of English aligns with our inability to read a calendar; our previous press release said we were “newly established” in December of 2016, but somehow we’ve been challenging ourselves since 2015. And thanks to the wonders of passive voice, we can call ourselves proven without citing anyone who has proved anything about us.
It gets much, much worse.
Reading this release, you might think these guys are sloppy. You’d be right.
- Another agency is already called Revolt PR, which might cause a little trademark problem.
- The site features a section called “INFULENCER MARKETNG.” When it comes to marketng, start with the infulencers!
- The site includes a tiny, unreadable infographic from 2011, nabbed from Youth Kiawaaz, featuring statistics about digital marketing in india.
- A photo featured prominently on the site is taken from Getty Images without attribution.
- The site’s blog has one post, “10 Brands That Got Millennial Marketing Right,” from December 26, 2016, by Joseph Benjamin. But the post is actually taken, without attribution, from a July 2015 post by Mindy Weinstein on Search Engine Journal. One clue of its provenance: its top example of a millennial marketer is Chipotle, now better known for poisoning young people than marketing to them.
The message is very clear. If you believe that Millennials can’t write, can’t spell, and don’t care about accurately attributed content — and will respond to an agency that has the same qualities — then this is the agency for you.
The Web is an open place. If you’re ignorant, everyone can see it. So don’t post — and don’t run press releases — if you haven’t got your house in order.
I’m seeing more and more of this incoherent writing, with errors and typos throughout. Even supposedly-credible aggregators like Medium contain a fair amount of this. The writing looks like it’s generated by some outsourced content mill by people who aren’t fluent in English.
And where is the PR Newswire editorial staff on this one? They always used to call the source and point out errors and typos. When did they start simply distributing garbage like this with no changes?
I also think this is another reason why fake news is believed and spread, particularly by millennials. Much of it is poorly written, but plenty of people either don’t know enough to recognize that or don’t care.
We all know that language evolves, but here is a great argument against throwing out all rules and spelling conventions. The discounting of quality writing is leading us to an environment where many aren’t able to recognize BS when they see it.
This was an atrocious document and website, but when I was a mere copy clerk on a daily newspaper we had a reporter whose writing was just as bad. He had supposedly been some hotshot from Associated Press that the EiC had “stolen” for a substantial salary. Everytime the City editor got his copy he would smack his forehead and toss the prose on my desk saying “fix this.” I did but I never got that guy’s job.
Josh, I’m as incensed by incoherent writing as you are—and certainly this press release would be an egregious example of that, if it actually said anything.
But it seems a little mean-spirited to go after the “little guy” like that: “If you’re ignorant, everyone can see it. So don’t post — and don’t run press releases — if you haven’t got your house in order.”
Not saying you shouldn’t have your fun with garbage like this, but perhaps you didn’t need to call out the name of the organization. Save your ammo for the bigger targets—they deserve everything you can dish out when they’re weasely and incoherent.
My brand is to name names. I generally don’t go after the little guy, but this guy deserved it . . . boy was this lame. He says he is an expert, but to be that, you have to be able to spell. I also think it says something about what passes for press releases these days.
Do you think all of this might have been done intentionally, as if to punk us? After all, he doesn’t even spell his own email address correctly in the footer of the website.
Double Yuck! A revolting press release not only poorly written, but unworthy of writing in the first place.
Do you feel better, are you proud of yourself? Yes, the press release was poorly written, and it’s my fault. But what I did not expect is such blatant negativity. If you need to attempt to destroy people to feel better about yourself go ahead. I notice you did not mention any of the previous news releases I wrote.
I don’t care about the comments; people are negative and hateful, I can also understand why this is frustrating. I own up to my mistakes, and I will learn from this. This press release was a rushed job, not I’m paying for it. I am not the best writer in the world; however, I am not the worst.
As far as the content on my blog, there are links with the author’s name. I chose to post those articles because they are my favorite by those authors.
You all have a great New Year!
Joseph, I commend you the courage to come forth and make a statement here. My purpose is to educate my readers, and your case was certainly one that I thought people could learn from. Normally I criticize people in power and large corporations, but so many people raised your press release to me as an example — and there was so much else to point out about your web site — that I thought it was worthwhile to analyze.
I’m glad you’ve decided to learn from this. Here are a few things worth learning.
The first is that public relations is called public for a reason. When you put out a press release, it’s out there where everyone can see it. As a PR firm, you are saying “This is the quality of my work.” That’s why it has to be perfect.
The second lesson is that if you actually know about millennial marketing that’s unique, you need to share it. Thousands of people say they do this. I’d love to read, on your site or in your blog, your own ideas on millennial marketing — they would create the credibility you are missing.
Finally, and most importantly, you need to know your strengths and weaknesses. In your case, writing and attention to detail is a weakness. Hire a professional editor — they’ll keep you from looking like a fool. They’ll also help you make sure to give credit where credit is due, rather than taking things from your favorite authors, photographers, and Web sites and just posting them. In the case of the blog, there needs to be a link that says “reprinted from” with the original article. And liking someone’s work is not enough — you need to get permission. An editor will help you to avoid stepping into traps like this.
I’m certain this was an unpleasant way learn these lessons about starting out in the public sphere, and again, I commend you for continuing to move forward.