Press Releases and Collateral: Don’t Blur the Lines

For those of you who remember print newspapers, this lead structure – often referred to as the “inverted pyramid” – was created so that pages could be laid out and pasted up with the most important facts at the very beginning of the story. That way, lesser facts could be cut to make space as needed. While the days of painstaking hand layout of print newspaper pages are long gone, the utility of this structure lives on. Whether radio, TV or print, a reporter or editor should be able to take your press release, read the first few lines and know all of the key facts relevant to a given news item or story.

However, that isn’t the case with many of today’s press releases. That’s because clients and some less-than-informed PR professionals are creating releases that read more like marketing materials – emulating sales collateral and brochures – than news documents. In PR, there has always been a balance between news and marketing spin, but many companies push for excessive marketing hype at the expense of real news.

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