The Most Important Sentence In a News Release - Part 2
In the previous issue, I described why the first sentence of news release, called the lead, is the most important. In this issue, I give two examples of leads that need fixing, describe what is wrong, and provide improved versions. These examples are modeled after common mistakes.
Reminder: What Should Be In a Lead
A lead is generally a one sentence paragraph that can stand on its own in telling the story of what the news release is about. The facts answering the who, what, where, when and why of the story are answered in the lead. The rest of the news release elaborates on that information, and provides facts answering the question "how".
Poor: Our Town High School Sports Booster Club is holding a fundraiser crab feed on April 7 in the school gym.
What's Wrong: It's incomplete. It doesn't provide the complete when (time) and where (address) information. It also doesn't say why the sports booster club is having a fundraiser.
Improved: Our Town High School Sports Booster Club is sponsoring a crab feed to raise money for new uniforms, Saturday, April 7, 5-8 p.m. in the school gymnasium at 1234 Main St.
Poor: The XYZ Company is moving to a larger office.
What's Wrong: This lead fails the "Who Cares?" test. The fact a business is moving to a larger office is not as important or interesting as the reason why it is moving. This lead also doesn't say where the company's new office is.
Improved: The XYZ Company has doubled its sales staff in less than a year, creating the need to move into larger offices located three blocks from its current Our Town location.