I used to be a PR Director and have written hundreds of press releases. That should impress no one as you can give a monkey a word processor, a few hours of training, maybe a few scotch and sodas and he could write any basic press release. They all follow a pattern
Although no one gives a damn, the release must make the news sound important. I think we should elominate press releases and make the candidate sing on You Tube, while juggling chain saws while wearing a Speedo. Come on – that would get a million hits, your press release will end up in the editor’s waste basket.
Here is the basic pattern of press releases using a recent press release announcing a new dean of the Optometry School.
The first paragraph gives the basics. “After a nationwide search, Rod W. Nowakowski, O.D., Ph.D., has been named dean of the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry. Nowakowski, who blah, blah, blah…”
Note the candidate is always found “after a nationwide search.” Just once I would like to read, “After checking a few local bars, we found a candidate that was still standing, despite five bourbons and six gin and tonics. That, we cried, is our man!”
You always stick a quote into the second paragraph saying how outstanding the new person is. And it must start with “We are fortunate …”
Don’t believe me – check this out. ´ “We are fortunate to have a candidate in Rod Nowakowski, … ” said Eli Capilouto, Ph.D., UAB provost.
Then the quote must convince the world that because Jesus was unavailable for the job, you hired Rod – “He has the passion, wisdom, commitment and courage to be an outstanding leader for the School of Optometry in the years to come.”
Please. The only part they left out was his ability to walk on water.
And of course, towards the end you must always list the person’s many memberships. “He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry, …”
Just once I would like to read, ” Recently out of rehab, the regents believe that Dr. Nowakowski has kicked his drug habit for good and with the univerity’s new security measures, it is doubtful he will embezzle any more money…”
I hate the predictability of press releases . Come on – the guy is heading the School of Optometry. Think about all the great lines you missed.
• “He has a vision…”
• “We couldn’t see hiring anyone but …”
• “Not to be short-sighted…”
• “Take the long view…”
• “Looking forward to teaching pupils…”
• “Won’t give the university a black eye…”
• “Won’t be blinded by prejudice…”
• “With an eye towards the future …”
• “He was eying retirement, but …”
In short, if you need a professional press release written, follow the pattern outlined above. If not, call me.