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.
A Yorkshire Post staffer for many years and twice named in the top six of business reporters in national awards, I am still very much a journalist at heart.
I keep my hand in with regularly published articles where my skills in interviewing, shorthand, angle-finding and crisp writing are put to good use.
Always on the lookout for interesting snippets, profile candidates and feature ideas – so please e-mail me your news and suggestions.
I interviewed and wrote the words for this quarterly client magazine focussing on the chemicals sector, published by regional development agency, Yorkshire Forward. I had to interview many top academics, understand their projects and translate their scientific language for a wider audience.
Read in full: Yorkshire Forward Snergy May 2007
Once a civil servant, always an entrepreneur. What led Erica Lewis to launch her fast-growing Diva Telecom business?
Read in full: Northside Feb 2012: Erica Lewis. My photography
Sacked by the country’s biggest estate agent 20 years ago, Kevin Hollinrake co-founded York-based Hunters – now one of the UK’s biggest independent agencies. My photography
Read in full: Northside Dec 2011: Kevin Hollinrake
Interview with aptly named fashion consultant, Liz Clothier – who advises busy executives on how to improve their wardrobe.
Read in full: Northside Nov 2011: Liz Clothier. My photography
I raised the profile of the third Ilkley Summer Showcase with a PR campaign that brought widespread broadcast, print and online coverage – and many more visitors to the event.
Stephen Butler, Communications Officer, Ilkley Business Forum said: “Jane put her heart and soul into the PR for our event and we will certainly use her services again and recommend her to others.”