Add the Power of “ST” to your news writing

by Tom Unger on April 3, 2011

in News Writing

If you can apply an adjective to your announcement that ends in the letters “s-t”, you stand a better chance of success. Those adjectives are very powerful when trying to gain the attention of the news media.

Let me explain. Is your organization the first to market with a product? Is it the first to offer a new service? Do you work at a hospital that is the first to offer a new type of surgical procedure?

Has your high tech company invented the smallest microprocessor ever? The fastest? The media, the public and history love stories that involve a word that ends with the letters s-t.

I’m pretty sure you know who the first person was to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. It was Charles Lindberg. I challenge you to name who the second person was.

One of the most famous men in the world is Neil Armstrong. Why? Because he was the first person to walk on the moon. Most folks don’t know who the second was.

One of my personal claims to fame is that, as a volunteer working at the opening night event, I shot the first basket in the Rose Garden Arena in Portland, Ore. (home of the NBA Portland Trail Blazers). I even made the tv news that night!

The other day I noticed that my local paper, The Oregonian, did a large story on the Loaves and Fishes Centers organization in town. The focus of the story was the new compostable bamboo trays the group is now using to deliver food to homebound seniors through its great Meals on Wheels Program.

The fact that Loaves and Fishes Centers switched its trays was not that newsworthy. But The Oregonian chose to publish a fairly good size story, complete with photo, because this “is the first Meals-On-Wheels operation in the country to adopt the daily use of compostable bamboo trays for its meals.”

Another example is if your story has the words “oldest” or “youngest” in it. For instance, on May 3, 2011, Derrick Rose was named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player.

Rose’s team, the Chicago Bulls, gave the story an extra boost by using the power of ST. This is the lead sentence of the story that was posted on Yahoo Sports: “Derrick Rose was named the NBA Most Valuable Player on Tuesday, becoming at 22 the youngest player to receive the coveted award.”

Sometimes it’s not even a matter of who’s first. What counts the most is who publicizes their achievement first.

Is your news announcement about something that is the “smallest”, the “largest”, the “fastest,” the “last”? If so, make sure you include that fact in your news release and put the power of ST to work for you.

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