Yo, Publicists: Leave Breathlessness to the Media

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.






Positively Weary Of the Annoyingly Premature Appositive

Over the past few weeks, I have met with a pair of prospective clients. Both are excellent companies, national in scope and doing some outstanding, innovative work that fill major needs in the market.

Alas, both have news releases that suffer from the same ailment that beset countless others with white-noise writers at the helm: the annoyingly premature appositive.

An appositive, brilliantly and hilariously described here by Robin L. Simmons, is a phrase that describes the subject immediately on the other side of the comma. In unskilled hands, however, the appositive can be annoying. And oh-so premature.

Sometimes, as in the case of the above-mentioned prospective clients, it can suffer from both maladies.

OK, time to offer up a concrete (if hypothetical) example:

“Inside Edge PR, an award-winning and innovative public relations company that specializes in writing real stories that people actually care about instead of white-noise pieces of drivel that lack any awareness of the media’s need, today wrote a blog post about annoyingly premature appositives.”

Here’s what’s annoying about stories that start this way: it tries to cram in too much, too soon. It doesn’t trust that the reader will get to the third or fourth paragraph or read any complementary writing that will flesh out the context of a given company, product or event.

Solution: tell a story that grabs the reader from the get-go, is actually interesting, and offers something of value to your audience. Do all of that, and they’ll read not only the fourth paragraph, but the 14th.

To find news release samples that are appositively sensitive to this issue, check out Inside Edge PR’s Resources page.


When’s The Best Time To Send a News Release?

If it’s Friday, then that must mean it’s time to squeeze in that media outreach campaign before reporters, editors, producers and other news-disseminating decision-makers take their weekend break.


Generally speaking–and unless it’s such an urgent matter that your piece of news positively, absolutely must get out pronto–you are better off holding off until the following Monday or Tuesday.

Why is that? For the answer, just click on my Tip of the Inside Edge video clip below.

For more from my video archive, click on the Inside Edge PR channel.

Merging Content Opens Story-Telling Avenues

When Dr. Richard Powell sees a new patient in pain, he can empathize perfectly: that was how he first encountered the world of chiropractic.

So starts a recent Inside Edge PR news release on behalf of Dr. Richard Powell of HealthSource of Elmhurst.

The rest of the release, headlined “His Pain Leads To Others’ Gain: Elmhurst Chiropractor Marks 25 Years of Helping Patients,” blends a biography that I developed about Dr. Powell as well as excerpts from testimonials that I wrote about two of his patients.

The outreach reflects the power of re-purposing individual story-telling elements–regardless of industry–into a new piece targeted to a different audience.

Here, Dr. Powell’s bio and the two patients’ stories are geared mostly toward an internal audience, such as existing and new patients. When combined and edited, however, they can speak to an external audience, such as local media outlets.

Related Posts:
The Re-Purpose of PR: Maximize News Value
In media relations, throw ’em an occasional curve: fastball pitches go nowhere fast