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Friday, 23 December 2011

On the Fourth Day – Get to the Point

We’re all busy and most of us skim instead of reading. If the first sentence or two doesn’t deliver much that is useful, we’re off to the next website, newsletter or email. So today’s top tip you can do right now to help get you and your company better known in 2012 is to cut to the chase and deliver the facts without a long preamble.

That’s especially true of the media and influential bloggers who may be piling through 2,000 emails a day. Grab attention in the subject line. Then deliver the key facts they need to create a story. Don’t know what they are?

Then you need inspiration!

The key facts that must be delivered to create a satisfactory account are the answers to six questions: the 5 Ws (Who? What? Where? When & Why?) + How? The formula is used so often that many readers will feel that something is missing if a question is skipped.

A good editor will immediately spot exactly what is missing. They also know it will take precious time to fix. With deadlines looming, your press release will be passed over in favour of someone who understands they need to deliver the story basics.

Answering the 5Ws + How is a useful discipline that will sharpen up most writing, and is an absolute necessity when it comes to a press release.

4 Ws can be answered in a single sentence:
London-based ABC Ltd today announced a new social media site called XYZ.

That breaks down as:

Where? London-based

Who? ABC Ltd

When? today

What? a new social media site called XYZ
The above Ws can be answered in any order.

Then address the Why? question - often best wrapped up with a quote from a key spokesperson.
The How? question may involve a sentence or two of background explanation.

To turn this into a press release, add 24/7 contact details (and ensure that someone is available 24/7 to handle queries) plus the company background notes (often called “the boilerplate”) - a few bullet points about the company:
Who founded it?
What does it do?
Plus key milestones only: awards, household name clients – with their permission, flotation or significant investment tranches, kite-marks attained, outstanding anniversaries, national/ international achievements, major market domination, significant hires.

Need more inspiration? Check out our short guide here.

Photo credit: Salvatore Vuono:

PR blog posted by Penny Haywood Calder at PHPR Ltd, Edinburgh, UK. URL: TV Channel on YouTube: Ltd on LinkedInFollow PennyHaywood on Twitter

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posted by Penny Haywood Calder at


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