Public Relations Writing: Lesson #4 - p. 3

Product releases (continued)

Whatever your USP, your job as a PR writer will be to set the stage for the product – in effect, to create the context for the features your product promises... If your product is the answer, what's the question?? – that's what you'll be putting in place.

    For example, let's say your product is something like the one described below. Here's a lead you would not want to go with:

      Natgo, Inc., has developed a conversion kit, selling for only $150, that will enable cars to operate on natural gas instead of gasoline – at a savings of about $50 every 1,000 miles.

    Now that happens to be a great lead graf for a news story – it's the graf you would hope a reporter would write once your press release has done its job – but if you wrote it that way, the editor might throw it out before a reporter even gets a chance at it, because it's so obviously a promotional piece about a company, Natgo.

    Instead, here is how a product release might finesse the editor:

      Would you be willing to pay $150 for a conversion kit that would let your car use cheaper, cleaner natural gas – and give you savings of $50 every 1,000 miles? A new product on the market promises to do just that, and its manufacturer is betting that there are millions ready to make the switch.

    As you will learn in a later lesson, there are different kinds of lead that work better for certain kinds of press release, including feature releases and product releases. The second graf of this release might continue to describe the need or desire for a product like this one, or its advantages (for example, environmental implications) and still not mention the company itself. The more you can paint a newsworthy picture without mentioning your client, the more likely you are to win the editor over to your story. Don't worry, the manufacturer – your client – will be included – but as news and not as a product plug.

    It is conceivable that a product release won't even mention your client's name – not likely, but it happens. For example, if your client manufactures printer ink cartridge refills, you might do a release about a new generation of printers, and talk all about Epson and Hewlett-Packard, without ever mentioning Hubert's Ink, your client. Or a dairy association might promote recipes using dairy products without identifying itself in the release. We're not talking about deception here – after all, the letterhead of the press release makes it clear where the story originates – but the content of the story might well omit mention of the client.

    Go on to the next page.

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