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Follow My Lead (or Lede)

August 7, 2013

Use your three seconds wisely.

That’s about as much time as you have to capture a reader’s attention, so don’t waste it with meaningless fluff, clichés or meandering prose.  Make every word count.

The lead paragraph (or lede, as the old-school journalists would call it) of whatever you’re writing needs to convince readers immediately that it is worth their time to press on and continue reading.  A boring beginning will result in a quick end.

How to Get Your News Ignored

January 8, 2012

Want to make certain that your press releases and pitches get ignored by reporters and editors?  It’s easy.  Here are a few tips:

The reverse pyramid method is so yesterday!  Why not build a little suspense and bury the news in the third paragraph?

Repeat key words frequently.  Your press release will be boring and redundant, but search engines will be more likely to find it.

PR Peeve #4: Wire Services

December 5, 2012

How important are BusinessWire, PR Newswire and other wire services?  Not very.

PR Peeve #2: Press Releases

November 29, 2012

Clients often think that all public relations agencies do is send out press releases.  PR agencies reinforce this notion, because press releases are easy to prepare and agencies can charge lots of money for them.

While press releases should be used to announce breaking news, they are typically the least effective method of publicizing your company.  Unless a press release has news value, no one will run it and few will read it.  A press release is also a great way to ensure that top-tier media will not run your news.  The Wall Street Journal and other top media want exclusivity.  If you send out a press release, it tells them that every other financial media outlet will be getting the same news.

While press releases should be used for breaking news, in most cases they should not be the main focus of your public relations program.

A summary of PR Peeves initially appeared in an article we wrote for the Worcester Business Journal.