Press releases by committee? The end result is seldom pretty
“I wish we could do a press release like this,” our colleague Jim commented wistfully when he saw Netflix’s masterful press release announcing, in Dr. Seuss style, that it’s making a TV show of children’s verse classic ‘Green Eggs and Ham’.
The originality of the rhyming release grabs you right from the start…
Issued from Netflix headquarters.
Delivered straight to all reporters.
…And keeps you reading all the way through to the Sam-I-am-style climax:
You can stream it on a phone.
You can stream it on your own.
You can stream it on TV.
You can stream it globally.
Sense of fun
Most striking of all, though, is the sense of fun. For once, you feel a PR department thoroughly enjoyed creating a press release. Unlike the frustrating writing-by-committee chore that all too often sends journalists lunging for the delete button before they’ve even finished reading the email subject line. (Which is the worst possible outcome for a text spawned by the usual tedious, time-consuming content creation process within most companies.)
So why can’t we all do press releases like the Dr Seuss one? Of course, most companies aren’t Netflix. Most corporate announcements aren’t about the filming of light-hearted children’s classics. Few press releases lend themselves to poems and fun. But almost all of them could do with loosening up a little.
They are all people
The golden rule is one that applies across the communications spectrum: whoever your target readers are, whatever their role, their seniority, their knowledge or interest levels, they are all people. People likely to be sick of dry-as-dust, formulaic press releases that bludgeon them senseless with the usual ragbag of corporate speak and the seemingly compulsory CEO quote starting “I’m excited” or “I’m delighted”.
Stampa’s recent very concise, factual announcement on the promotion of Heleen de Graaf received widespread pick-up. It was probably our most popular press release yet. It wasn’t in rhyme and it wasn’t what you’d call fun, admittedly. But we did opt to omit the ‘delighted and excited’ quotes and just tell it straight.
Maybe that is why it scored?
It didn’t leave the media bored.