If you want to increase the chances your release gets used, make the lead the lead. Press releases often go unread because the writer has buried the lead.
One of the frustrating elements of press releases is that one must often wade through sentence after sentence of preliminary information before getting to the real essence of the release. The lead gets buried under process and procedure.
The problem should be evident. Making it more difficult for a reporter or editor to understand the significance of the release increases the chances that they'll simply stop reading and delete the release before ever giving it much thought.
So, what would you rather have? Someone hitting the delete key after the first sentence or someone giving your release the attention it deserves?
The process of a press conference is of little interest to the media. What was said at the press conference is what holds value.
The way to improve your odds that your release will get read and used is to place the news hook in the opening paragraph, ideally in the first sentence. Reporters don't have time to hunt for the news. They need to know within a few seconds whether the release is newsworthy and warrants further consideration.
A lead that begins, "Members of the XYZ Board of Directors gathered on the city's west side today to hold a press conference," is an example of putting process before the news. The process of a press conference is of little interest to the media. What was said at the press conference is what holds value.
Another way to write it would be:
"The XYZ company is promising a change in policy that will result in lower prices and faster delivery times. The new directives were the result of a six-month study of the firm's manufacturing process.
"Members of the XYZ Board of directors announced the changes at a press conference on the city's west side today."
Look at the first sentence in this post. We made the main point - the news hook - clear at the outset. Sure, not everybody will read all the way through the post, but at least they'll know what it's about, and if it interests them, they'll continue reading.
Press releases that begin with a flowery narrative might receive a good grade in a creative writing class, but fail to hold the media's attention.
End result: Delete.
Mack Communications | Twitter: @mack_comm