News Releases for Meat-Eaters

Unless it’s a Nobel Prize winner – or Jaxson, the adorable pug that received “Hometown Hero” honors last week from the City of Meridian, Idaho, for barking loudly to alert his owners to an electrical fire – most award recipients probably don’t get the publicity they deserve.

I edited a news story this week about an award-winner that is a perfect example of missed opportunities – for the organization that sent the announcement, and for the reporter who based the story on it.

Here’s the first paragraph of the original news release:

 (Name of group) announced today that (name of person) was selected to receive the 2016 (name of award), the Association’s most prestigious volunteer award. Each year (the group) honors the legacy of (its founder), with the (name of award).

Yes, we get everybody’s names in there. But good news releases are ultimately tools to get publicity and build a brand or reputation, and this one would have been far more effective had it contained more (as I often put it) “meat on the bones.”

Here’s what I would have done with that first paragraph:

About (number of) volunteers work statewide with (name of group) – and this year, one stands out for her versatility and dedication in (number of) years of service to the organization. (Name of honoree) is the 2016 (name of award) winner. Her service and this award honor the legacy of our founder, (name of founder)… and so on.

Let’s assume that this organization would love to have many similarly dedicated volunteers. So, an effective news release would contain meaningful quotes from the award winner, and a rallying cry from someone in the organization – to encourage other people to sign on because it is important to serve, and to highlight a couple of spots where volunteers are needed.

In short, like Jaxson the pug, reporters appreciate meat! Give them something more to work with – a reason beyond a single, deserving award winner to cover the story. Show how that winner is representative of a need or an issue that affects many more people, and you’re likely to get more – and better – coverage.

(Photo credit: Mali Maeder/Pexels)