Tuesday, May 24, 2005

News Releases -- Opening Leads

I hate so many news release leads. How about this one?

"Revolutionary parenting book is released to worldwide audience via online outlets such as Amazon.com, bn.com, and at retail bookstores nationwide, including Borders, Books-A-Million, and Barnes & Noble."

Well, gosh, that makes me want to read the rest of the news release. Where's the news? Where are the benefits? Why would I as a reader want to read more? Why would I as an editor want to read more? There are new revolutionary parenting books published every day. That's not news.

"xxx teaches us a radically new approach to parenting, unlike the many parenting techniques in the marketplace, this is the first one that shifts the focus back to the parents, and away from the kids. The result is a more peaceful and calm household, and a way to launch your kids out into the world as the great adults that you want them to be."

How does shifting the focus from child to parent create a more peaceful and calm household? No logic to this paragraph. How is this radically new? Gosh, I'm sold.

Now the third paragraph is interesting? It says something:

"The key to good parenting depends on you, because you are the one you can ultimately control," says parenting expert and family therapist, xxx. "If you make sure you behave - even when your kids misbehave - then you have a greater chance of positively impacting the situation, any situation. Let's face it: parenting is the hardest thing you will ever do - but it can also be the most rewarding."

From then on, there are some great details, but the news release is way too long and disjointed. No central message.

The mistake most news release writers make is to try to say everything in a news release. The result? They say nothing.

What is the key to a good news release? Simple. Tell a story. Take it down to one person, a real person. Key on that person's needs -- the same needs as 90% of your target audience. How can you change that one person's life? That's the story. Always was, always will be.

Stories are never about abstract ideas, never about abstract audiences. Stories are always about people. Real people. People with hearts that break, toast that burns, and lives that always seem somehow incomplete.

Your goal? To complete.
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