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Intel Cracks the Code ...

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The news release resembles a cockroach. It survives in spite of the odds that say it should have died long ago.

PR pros recognize the pressure on journalists to write fresh stories that don’t rely on information in the public domain.

And journalists aren’t exactly fans of the news release. A couple of years ago we asked journalists a simple question, “What word or words do you associate with the news release?”

Here’s what came back.

 

While not exactly a statistically sound study, I think it’s fair to conclude that journalists dislike news releases.

Still, they have their place. After all, companies need to announce new products, relationships, financial information and other sundry matters.

So if we’re going to write news releases, there’s a logic in structuring them to serve journalists who more than anything else want to be able to scan the news release in a few seconds. This way, they can determine if it gets through the first filter without a major investment in time. Is it relevant? Will my audience care? Should I consider writing a story? They want to figure this out in seconds.

With this in mind, Intel has cracked the code in how to structure a news release.

  • Headline

– Subhead

  • News highlights
  • Copy

That’s the theory.

You can see how this plays out in reality with a product news release announced last month.

 

 

It seems safe to assume that there’s a never-ending tug-of-war between PR and marketing at Intel in how to shape the “highlights” section. PR probably approaches this section from the perspective of a journalist; i.e., what would they likely write about. Marketing, on the other hand, often leans toward a more promotional approach. I’m guessing the “winner” changes from news release to news release.

Digging deeper, when Intel makes “I’m-great” pronouncements in a news release, it appears that they strive to do this with supporting data. Circling back to the news release on a new gaming processor, you’ll see the highlights section captures the phrase “best gaming processor” with an academic-like citation. This leads to an explanation of the citation and a link to a competitive benchmarking study that weighs in at 27 pages.

 

 

It turns out that Intel, not a third party, conducted the benchmarking study. Still, by handling it this way, the “I’m great” pronouncement actually makes its way into a number of media stories, albeit within quotes.

As you eye the news releases in the queue, perhaps it’s time to consider a change in structure.

Of course, the best structure on the planet doesn’t matter if the news is weak, the writing poor and those adjectives that are like fingernails on a chalkboard to journalists — breakthrough, revolutionary, etc. — frame the content.


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