Think back to the last time you were left panting desperately for air.
Maybe you were dashing to catch a plane or were trying to outrun a pursuer—on a playing field or, God forbid, in a more sinister context.
Whatever the scenario, it’s fairly safe to say that it was an exception to the rule of a more casual pace in your day-to-day life. Rarely does life require such bursts of urgent, frenetic energy.
So should it be in delivering news releases to the media: only in exceedingly extreme cases should you lead with such a tone—when you absolutely cannot spare a few moments before getting the most vital facts across.
Almost always, the publicist is better off leaving the breathlessness to reporters. Otherwise, you risk undermining your credibility with a jaded reporter who will dismiss your information as overblown hype.
Because I am still on many lists for media members, a recent example is from a news release that arrived in my in-box.
The first paragraph reads:
Dr. Terry Beardsley, founder and principal clinical researcher behind LTCI, the first USDA-approved treatment for Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) announced the launch of a new website and a simplified process for veterinarians to order Lymphocyte T-Cell Immunomodulator
(LTCI) to treat their patients.
While there is ample material here that can be crafted into something at least debatably newsworthy—and that Dr. Beardsley is a leader in his field—cramming nearly 50 words, sprinkled with multi-syllabic doozies and alphabet soup terms, from the get-go is a great way to invite insta-deletes.
Instead, a much more effective approach would be to illustrate this development through the impact on a single cat. Give it a name (“Fluffy” works fine) and give it a few paragraphs to play out the implications of this news, both for Fluffy and the family with whom he’s graciously agreed to share his home.
Then we can roll out Dr. B, his credentials and how he’s helping Fluffy and so many of his fellow felines. No matter how cute Fluffy may be, he can wait.