Adam T. Sutton

Crafting a Sexy, Green, Toxic, Secret Press Release

A story about toxic shower curtains was catapulted to national news because of a well-crafted, well-timed press release, according to The New York Times. The story, loaded with tips on writing better press releases, show the power of PR. 

Here are some tips gleaned from the story:
#1: Give your release a “who cares?” and “so what?” test

#2: Valid claims like “first,” “most,” “fastest,” and “tallest” can help

#3: Hollow claims like “state of the art,” “cutting edge” or “unbelievable” won’t help

#4: Relevancy is important – The toxic shower curtain story took off because everyone showers.

Other relevancy and word tips:
o General: The general public likes these words: “money,” “fat,” “cancer,” and “sex.”
o Regional: The press in Idaho might respond to “fishing,” “hunting,” “Mormon” or “polygamy.”
o Topical: Cost breakthroughs, like the iPhone price drop or the $100 laptop, are good for consumer electronics press. “Baby,” “breakup,” “marriage” and “divorce” are good for entertainment press.
o Hot topics: The article mentions that “green” and “environmental” angles have been hot. I have a feeling these topics are getting stale, though. I think using “oil” or “gas” would have a better impact right now.

#5: Hit the inbox on a dead day
Getting press is a lot easier on slow news days. Avoid Fridays – typical big news days. Also avoid competing with a huge breaking story, like a new war or a cure for cancer. Editors usually look to fill space on slower days like Saturday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

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