Writing coach Ann Wylie says this is the kind of press release that makes an editor’s eyes glaze over:
“XYZ Co. Inc., a leading supplier of the world’s integrated real-time advanced software-aided microchips, announced today the availability of its latest product, the XYZ 4.2, version 3, which will revolutionize the software-aided micro-technology chip industry.
“‘This will revolutionize the software-aided micro-technology chip industry,’ said Joe Blow, XYZ Co. Chief Executive Officer and Founder.”
Ann offers that fictional lead to illustrate the problem with many press releases. They follow a fill-in-the-blank model that’s dated, formulaic and dull.
Instead, she suggests, why not lead with the benefits of a particular product or service? Explain how the end user’s life will be easier, or how they’ll save time or money using it.
Or begin your release with the phrase “It all started when…” like this:
“It all started when Carlton Calvin was reading a brief item in the Los Angeles Times about the growing popularity of push scooters in Japan. With a spark of creative thinking, Carlton, president of Razor USA LLC, spawned the “Razor scooter,” one of the hottest trends to hit the United States within the last two years.”
Using the phrase “It all started when,” Ann says, draws the reader in, and it’s a great way to start any story.
Those are two of six ideas she suggests for writing world-class press releases. They’re all explained in the article she wrote for the November/December issue of The Publicity Hound subscription newsletter.
The next time you’re tempted to use a tired fill-in-the-blanks lead like the one above, stop and regroup. Ask yourself, “How can I explain how the news will affect readers?”
Answer that question and I can virtually guarantee you’ll end up with a better press release.