Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Writing a product press release

It all starts with technology companies introducing a new product to the market.
To create awareness for the product, the marketing/PR professional must draft an appealing press release or announcement. This is easier said than done.
It normally follows the following format:
1) Product name (bolded and repeated several times throughout
the text)
2) Company name (if possible, with ticker and tagline)
3) Application (explaining the use)
4) Benefits (set against existing products/solutions in the market)
5) Availability (retail, distributors, countries)
6) Potential (expected deployments)

The problem – they all look alike.
The example at the bottom of this blog has been written by an unidentified author. It gets the point across splendidly.
The writer is not only a great wit – s/he is also teaching each marketing and communications professional a valuable lesson: the way the information is presented here will not make anyone run to the stores and purchase a BOOK.
So how can we make a reader sit up and take notice?
  1. Avoid long winding headings. Make your headline short, to the point and interesting. In the example below, the headline could read: Want to feast your eyes? Get a BOOK! It will increase the chance that a reader will be curious and read on.
  2. sentences make people loose interest and also give them the feeling that the company might be “hiding” something.
  3. Don’t go into too much details how it works – your audience is not a member of your R&D team. Write the product application for a complete outsider without any technical knowledge. Describe is clear, short sentences what’s about; long and complicatedTry to put some wit in the release. When using humor, make sure that it also swings in other cultures and languages. A notorious example was the perfume “Morning Mist that leaves you refreshed”. They used the same slogan in the German market. Since Mist in German has a different meaning (manure), it ruined any chance ever to enter that market successfully.
  4. Tab into the wants and needs of your potential customers, and explain how the product can ease their pain or make their life easier.
  5. Give clear information about availability: time, location and purchase wise.
  6. Avoid acronyms, abbreviations and buzz words.
  7. When addressing an international audience, pay attention to language, content and style. Avoid American expressions such as “ramping up” and British expressions such as “whilst”. Mentioning of dates and times are also tricky: 8/9 US = 9/8 Europe; 2pm US = 14.00hrs. Europe.
  8. Make sure that the original text lends itself for multiple translations. When using similes, make sure they are understood in different countries and cultures.
Introducing: The new Bio-Optic Organized Knowledge device, trade-named -- BOOK. BOOK is a revolutionary breakthrough in technology: no wires, no electric circuits, no batteries, nothing to be connected or switched on. It's so easy to use, even a child can operate it. Compact and portable, it can be used anywhere -- even sitting in an armchair by the fire -- yet it is powerful enough to hold as much information as a CD-ROM disc. Here's how it works: BOOK is constructed of sequentially numbered sheets of paper (recyclable), each capable of holding thousands of bits of information. The pages are locked together with a custom-fit device called a binder, which keeps the sheets in their correct sequence. Opaque Paper Technology (OPT) allows manufacturers to use both sides of the sheet, doubling the information density and cutting costs. Experts are divided on the prospects for further increases in information density; for now, BOOKS with more information simply use more pages. Each sheet is scanned optically, registering information directly into your brain. A flick of the finger takes you to the next sheet. BOOK may be taken up at any time and used merely by opening it. BOOK never crashes or requires rebooting, though, like other devices, it can become damaged if coffee is spilled on it and it becomes unusable if dropped too many times on a hard surface. The "browse" feature allows you to move instantly to any sheet, and move forward or backward as you wish. Many come with an "index" feature, which pin-points the exact location of any selected information for instant retrieval. An optional "BOOKmark" accessory allows you to open BOOK to the exact place you left it in a previous session -- even if the BOOK has been closed. BOOKmarks fit universal design standards; thus, a single BOOKmark can be used in BOOKs by various manufacturers. Conversely, numerous BOOKmarkers can be used in a single BOOK if the user wants to store numerous views at once. The number is limited only by the number of pages in the BOOK. You can also make personal notes next to BOOK text entries with optional programming tools, Portable Erasable Nib Cryptic Intercommunication Language Styli (PENCILS). The media is ideal for long-term archive use; several field trials have proven that the media will still be readable in several centuries, and because of its simple user interface it will be compatible with future reading devices. Portable, durable, and affordable, BOOK is being hailed as a precursor of a new entertainment wave. BOOK's appeal seems so certain that thousands of content creators have committed to the platform and investors are reportedly flocking to invest. Look for a flood of new titles soon.

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