Choose benefits, news and feature leads
Are you still using the fact pack — cramming who, what, when, where, why and how into the first paragraph of your news release? Are you still married to the dated “XYZ Company today announced …” approach?
These conventional formulas to release leads are formulaic, old-fashioned and — let’s face it — dull. Both approaches slow the story down, appear unsophisticated and are too stereotypical to stand out from the competition.
Instead, choose from these three more effective approaches.
1. Benefits leads
Launching a new product or service? Focus on how it solves customer problems instead of on the product or service itself with this model, which I developed for my clients:
Here’s how it looks in action:
2. News leads
Do you have news to report? Instead of covering the five W’s and the H, appeal to reader interest by leading with the two most interesting elements to readers:
- What — as in “What happened?”
- Why — as in “Why should I care?”
Here’s how it works:
3. Feature leads
Feature leads show instead of tell. They attract readers by illustrating your key message instead of just stating it. Feature lead approaches include:
Description. This lead helped win support for the nation’s first statewide menu labeling law, in a Silver Anvil Award-winning campaign by the California Center for Public Health Advocacy:
Startling statistics, like this lead from a Silver Anvil Award-winning campaign by Visa:
Compression of details, as in this lead for an H&R Block survey story by Fleishman Hillard’s John Armato:
Other feature lead approaches include anecdote, analogy, wordplay, concrete details, human interest and examples.
Surprise and delight your readers.
Whichever approach you use, write a lead that appeals to your readers’ self interest or that makes your story interesting.
Can’t do that with a fact pack.