People trying to write a press release for the first time may be tempted to produce something of a fairy tale.
That’s not to say their piece will be full of fancy, but its structure is likely to be along the lines of “Once upon a time” and “they all lived happily ever after.” (Or not). It’s a natural part of storytelling to start at the beginning and finish at the end.
Not in a news story
You can forget this literary world order when you’re writing a news release. You have to wade in with a comprehensive punch line at the start and trail off anticlimactically – concluding with less interesting leftovers that can be chucked out by an editor short on space or time.
The bits in between must be ordered exactly according to priority, with no extraneous matter. Irrelevant adjectives must be exiled forever.
Imagine your friend on the other side of a busy road shouts to you, “What’s happening?” and you have to tell them quickly and clearly to be understood above the noise.
Sounds simple, but of course it isn’t. Journalists spend years honing this topsy-turvy craft and that’s one of a number of reasons why it helps to have one on your PR team.
If the person reading your release – from the newsdesk assistant to the editor – doesn’t get it pretty quickly, your or your client’s story won’t get told.