March 29, 2011
I was in an event planning meeting the other day when someone asked, “Can you write a press release about the event and send it out?” I twitched, snarled (silently, though it was rewarding enough to make it worthwhile) and stopped just short of launching into my typical schpeel about the tenets of good PR—press release often not included.
Press releases are designed to announce a newsworthy item and should house the basic five ‘w’s, contact information and a company boilerplate. Flowery language and overabundant adjectives drive the press crazy. Channeling Joe Friday, “Just the facts.” A strong lede (first sentences) is favored as it brings to mind, for the writer, how a corresponding article could flow. But press releases aren’t always the perfect—or even proper—vessel for disseminating information to the press. Know how often I read through an entire press release? I can count the percentage on one hand.
Begin with a strong pitch. If you’re a chef opening a new restaurant, what is it that differentiates the locale—and you? You’ve probably done your research.