That was a pretty obnoxious title, wasn’t it? String a few more sentences like that together, add a bogus (completely fabricated) self-congratulatory CEO quote or two and voila, you have a typical press release. Including something like this:
“We’re proud that BLADAM is offered in a cutting-edge delivery system that reaches a diverse mix of savvy consumers” notes BLADAM CEO Adam Lasnik “And we’re confident that our unique, patent-pending ContentTextual(tm) presentation will provide a rapidly growing platform for future advantageous growth in this medium. Oh, and did I mention that BLADAM is Web 2.0? Web 2.0! We’re hip! We’re like Zimeebratr, but better!”
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You’d think that companies would be more clueful today, but alas, even some overall clued-in companies I’ve worked for (and generally admired) spew e-xcrement like this.
I was reminded about how press releases should look when I read this clued-in comment from an entry on Jeremy Zawodny’s blog:
There’s somewhat of a convention and a pack instinct to press releases. Shame someone doesn’t learn from the Jesus and Mary Chain approach approach to concerts – play for 10 minutes and then walk off.
It would be refreshing to see company dare to do one paragraph press releases. Couldn’t some PR company introduce “2.0” PR and make its name by completely revolutionizing press releases.
Perhaps the new rules could be:
– no declaration of “[company], the global leader in …” or “a leading … company”
– absolutely no buzzwords
– no warm, fluffy exec quotes
– say exactly what it means
– be concise in the extreme
– if necessary provide a supplementary FAQ for each release
– if you’ve got nothing to say don’t feel the need to fill the silence (mind you if your company hasn’t run a release in 3 months it’s a clear sign your revenues are going south)
This new generation PR company should promote itself via a press release analyzer – drop your press release into a textbox on a form – the analyzer scores it for buzzwords, meaningless fluff and makes recommendations. A top/bottom 10 list of major Internet companies scores is maintained.
This commenter’s suggestions were triggered by Jeremy’s article, which in itself was in response to the thoughtful rant by Tom Forenski. I’m not sure I agree with Tom’s proposed remedies, but I do believe that something must be done. After all, when even casual bloggers like me are getting sent cringeworthy press releases (seriously!), you know there’s something wrong with the world.
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So here, let me take a stab at a press release for a new product:
Just wanted to give you a heads-up on our newest product. I know you’re swamped, so I’m just sending you this plain-text e-mail with the basics, and I welcome you to click through for more details or call/e-mail/IM me anytime with questions! Thanks so much for your time, and have a good week.
PRODUCT (and version #):
WHAT IT DOES: [short bulleted list]
WHY IT MATTERS: [<30 words]:" * * * On a related note, can you imagine the impact if press releases were sent on handwritten (ahem, normal-sized) postcards? No, really, I’m serious. This would accomplish the following:
– It’d demonstrate that the release wasn’t blasted to 47183782835 journalists.
– This would force writers to be concise. And recipients would breathe a sigh of relief upon seeing such brevity.
– PR folks would actually develop decent handwriting (and, hey, let’s face it… most of us can’t handwrite worth a darn anymore… it’s a lost art!)
What do you think? 🙂