To the best of my knowledge, Mark Twain – the famous American curmudgeon and humorist – never authored a news release. Yet anyone who hopes to drive coverage of their announcements would do well to follow his lead: “…(U)se plain, simple language, short words and brief sentences,” Twain wrote. “That is the way to write English — it is the modern way and the best way. Stick to it; don’t let fluff and flowers and verbosity creep in. When you catch an adjective, kill it.”
If you work in public relations or with a PR agency, that’s good advice that will be good to you. Today’s leaner newsrooms and shrinking news holes raise the stakes in securing placements with target broadcast, online and print media channels. If you want a reporter’s attention, show how a given product or service delivers real-world results in real-world situations. Beef up the substance of the news release, using only enough style to give your story a well-crafted, competing edge.
Something this company failed to do amid a stream of buzzwords and jargon that doesn’t quantify any of its performance claims:
“(Company Name) is the proven leader in scale-out NAS. (Company Name’s) clustered storage and data management solutions drive unique business value for customers by maximizing the performance of their mission-critical applications, workflows, and processes. (Company Name) enables enterprises and research organizations worldwide to manage large and rapidly growing amounts of file-based data in a highly scalable, easy-to-manage, and cost-effective way.”
Earlier, the announcement cites an executive who makes the HAL 9000 computer of “2001: A Space Odyssey” seem human by comparison:
“With the accelerating adoption of virtualization and ascendance of cloud computing, it’s critical that organizations deploy the best storage architecture for these environments to ensure long-term IT efficiency,” said (Executive Name). “While the data fragmentation and management complexity challenges of traditional SAN and NAS severely limit the potential of server virtualization and cloud computing, (Company Name’s) scale-out NAS unlocks the storage bottleneck and enables organizations to maximize their investment.”
While these tactics may be more common in the race to be visible on Google, Yahoo! and Bing, they don’t necessarily translate into being seen. Search engine crawlers thrive on such filler; human readers starve. Sizzle may make the sale, but the steak makes the meal.
Tune in for my next post. I’ll share proven tips for writing news releases that advance your public relations agenda.
News releases help you reach a wide array of audiences, from customers and prospects to employees and industry influencers. Not only do they offer information about your products and services, but they also provide fresh, relevant content for your website and timely posts for your social media channels. If we can help, please let me know.
Wishing you all the best,
by Sara Callahan