How To Write A Press Release: The 10 Commandments Of A Great Lead Paragraph
How to write a press release is a major challenge facing both experienced and aspiring PR professionals.
Press release writing is a learned skill. This article contains press release sample writing, including that all important first paragraph.
"If it bleeds it leads" is a famous saying amongst news editors on why certain stories are on page one or first up in a TV or radio news bulletin.
With so many big news stories breaking recently, such as the Pope's death and the Navy helicopter crash in Indonesia, how can you make your media release stand out?
Well, the success of a news release being followed up by the media depends on the all important lead or first paragraph.
After the headline, this is the first message an editor or journalist will read and it is one of those critical moments of truth when you either win over or lose the media.
The first paragraph sets the structure for the whole of the media release.
Take this example of a very poorly written opening or lead paragraph that was actually sent out from the office of Northern Territory Opposition spokesman, Richard Lim on March 9, 2005.
Shadow Minister for Employment Education and Training Dr Richard Lim says that private registered training organisations which provided vocational education and training for Territorians are struggling to survive because over the last two years, the Northern Territory Government has a policy of using the Equipment Grants for government providers only, they being the Charles Darwin University and Batchelor of Indigenous Tertiary Institution.
(Source: D.D. McNicoll, The Diary, Media Section, The Australian, Thursday march 17th, 2005, pg 22.)
What is this person trying to say?
As a media and communications specialist working with clients, I find I spend at least half my writing time working on that all important first paragraph. It is were all the value is.
Here are my Ten Commandments for writing a great lead paragraph. A good lead paragraph must:
1. Summarise The Whole Story.
2. Answer The Five W's.
3. Grab Your Attention.
4. Make Every Word Count.
5. Make Sense.
6. Be Accurate.
7. Keep To One Sentence.
8. Provide Context.
9. Be Precise.
10. Edit, Check and Proofread A Minimum of Three Times.
Thomas Murrell MBA CSP is an international business speaker, consultant and award-winning broadcaster. Media Motivators is his regular electronic magazine read by 7,000 professionals in 15 different countries.
You can subscribe by visiting http://www.8mmedia.com. Thomas can be contacted directly at +6189388 6888 and is available to speak to your conference, seminar or event. Visit Tom's blog at http://www.8mmedia.blogspot.com.
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