Write your news release from the reader’s viewpoint

I am reading “The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs” by Carmine Gallo who, according to the jacket bio, has a background in public relations. In the midst of his describing Jobs’ public speaking secrets, Gallo inserts a rant about PR pros who write poor news releases.

“The majority of press releases are usually self-indulgent, buzzword-filled wastes of time,” Gallo writes.

Anyone who spends just a few minutes cruising through various corporate web sites and reading the news releases posted there would have a hard time arguing with Gallo. That’s because many PR pros often write their news releases to meet the needs of their supervisors or higher-ups in their company (“We need to announce this ASAP!”) and forget about meeting the needs of their actual target audiences.

Gallo says that when PR pros craft a news release, they should ask themselves one question: Why should my readers care about the information being communicated?

He even gives real life examples of a few news releases that fail to answer that question. And, I have to say, these news releases sound like many others you and I read quite often. They are “self-centered,” meaning they focus on the impact to the company issuing the news release and not on the impact the news might have on the average consumer, customer or reader.

Gallo also states that few members of the press even read such news releases because they fail to generate any interest.

So how do you avoid that? I’ll discuss that in my next blog post.

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