How many of these have found their way into your releases?
Are you still using the fact pack — cramming who, what, when, where, why and how into the first paragraph of your news release? Are you still married to the dated “XYZ Company today announced …” approach?
These conventional formulas to press release leads are formulaic, old-fashioned and — let’s face it — dull.
Make sure these PR 101 leads don’t find their way into your releases:
Show, don’t tell. When writing news release leads, choose concrete details, not abstract ideas.
If you have something to announce, announce it! Don’t announce that you’re announcing it:
Background — also known as the blah blah blah — is no way to draw readers into a piece. Instead, leave the definitions, history lessons and broader context for the third paragraph.
Don’t start like this:
4. Fact pack
Instead of a “suitcase lead” — one you try to cram all of the story elements into — aim for a bikini lead. Cover just the interesting essentials.
After all, if you lead with all of the W’s, what do you put in the second paragraph?
Planning to run a question lead? What if the reader doesn’t know — or care — the answer to your question?
I don’t know. Have I?
Maybe start by illustrating some situations where my personal interests are in conflict with my employment contract, instead.
As anyone who’s ever interviewed an engineer knows, quotes aren’t necessarily riveting. And quotation marks don’t magically make them so.
What to use instead?
Instead, make your release lead compelling with reader benefits, synthesizing the news or illustrating the idea with a feature lead.
You’re not still using the inverted pyramid … are you?
Prose is architecture, Ernest Hemingway famously said. It’s not interior design.
At NOT Your Father’s PR Writing — our media relations-writing workshop starting Aug. 15 — you’ll master a structure that’s been proven in the lab to increase readership, understanding, engagement and sharing.
Plus, you’ll steal structural tricks from Silver Anvil award winners, model lead approaches from The New York Times, and learn to build a better lead with our fill-in-the-blanks recipe.
Save up to $100 with our group discounts.