Friday, July 27, 2012
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
It's a News Release, Not Rocket Science. Don't Mess it Up for Your Client.
If you aren’t familiar, one of our sister brands is a cloud-based, South Carolina-focused magazine called CRESCENT (CrescentMag.com or facebook.com/CrescentMag or twitter.com/CrescentMag or pinterest.com/CrescentMag). I’m fortunate enough to also serve as its editor.
From time-to-time, someone will submit a pitch or a release that’s written pretty well. Every now and then, somebody even knocks it out of the park, but much of the time, I wonder if some of these folks ever took a writing class.
I get it. You want to be cutesy and clever. That’s fine for a media advisory when you’re trying to generate interest to get media attendance at an event, but it’s nowhere close to appropriate for a pitch or news release.
Write like a reporter. Yes. It’s important for you to get results for your client, so do what you know you should do. Tailor the pitch to your audience – in this case, a reporter.
A reporter or editor doesn’t want to read about what you say is the greatest, bestest, most amazingly amazing product/service ever.
I can’t believe I have to say this, but it’s still about the “Who,” “What,” “Where,” “When,” Why,” and “How.” These are universal truths and should be as unbiased as possible. Try to give them an antiseptic quality when you write them.
The personality of your submission should come from the quotes.
Yes. Use quotes. Use quotes from the client. Use quotes from people who used the client’s product or service. Use quotes from an “expert” in the field who can comment on the client’s products and/or services being publicized. Let those people talk about the greatest, bestest, most amazingly amazing product/service ever.
In other words, write the article yourself. No one can speak as knowledgably about your subject as you can, so write it the way you want it to appear in print or broadcast over the air, and if you try to get too editorial and over-adjectived, you run the risk of your piece getting tossed in the trash before it's ever considered.
This isn't rocket science, but it’s apparently a lost PR 101 skill. As noted restaurateur Brad Hamilton advised audiences in 1982’s Fast Times at Ridgemont High, “Learn it. Know it. Live it.”
UPDATE: Oh, and one more thing. If you're promoting an event, please make sure you say when and where it is, whether it's open to the public, and whether there's a cost involved in attending. If I invite you to a party, don't you want to know when it is and where it's going to be? Again, think through the details. Tell your intended audience what they need to know.
UPDATE 2: Really? I actually have to add this? OK. Here goes. When you send a news release, get the recipient's name right. If you get it wrong and then apologize and resend the news release, please, for the love, don't keep getting the recipient's name wrong.
UPDATE 3: Now it's just getting ridiculous. Spell check won't catch all of your mistakes. Read the release before you send it, and if you can't spell or don't have confidence in your grammatical capability, find someone who does, and ask him or her to proofread your piece.
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