Wow. A gimmick news release was put out today by a company called Pitch Point Public Relations claiming to be the “Most Amazing Press Release Ever Written.” Perhaps I’m getting old, but I just don’t see it.
In the past 10 years we’ve seen a lot of attempts to change the nature of the news release. And along the way there have been some improvements. The fact that they can now be easily distributed online along with hyperlinks, meta data and rich multimedia content is pretty cool and a drastic improvement to what we used to do back in the pre-Internet days.
But as fads come and go, there are a few things that any good news release still needs to accomplish (and, yes, there is a reason I call it a news release and not a press release, which is more valid today than ever). Below are some choice nuggets from some training materials I put together for our junior staff and clients about a decade before the author of “the Most Amazing Release” cut his teeth in the PR racket:
- A news release must be newsworthy
- It must work as a stand-alone story
- It should be written using AP style
- It should be written in the “inverted pyramid” style
- It should be free of hype and jargon
- It should be objective
- It should be complete
- It should be straightforward
- It should contain context and inform the reader (ultimately the journalist’s audience) why the news matters
Even today, as news releases are used to serve multiple audiences, these fundamentals are still important. Perhaps that’s why the traditional — even somewhat formulaic — news release remains the weapon of choice for the world’s most marketing savvy companies. Why? Because they continue to generate more media coverage than anything else.
The fact that this release got coverage in some pretty high profile places including TechCrunch and even the Huffington Post is impressive — and to be honest, a bit of a surprise based on its lack of any real content or news. So kudos to Pitch Point. I don’t think I’m going to start recommending a strategy of sending newsless news releases to clients any time soon, but this release does demonstrate that it’s OK to have a little fun and lighten up with language once in a while. And that’s refreshing indeed.