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I was helping one of my researchers today to edit a press release draft that he had written. When I was writing out the standard formula for a press release in an email explanation, I kept wanting to gesticulate and say that a good press release should deliver the facts quickly and succinctly — essentially six quick bullet points that form a story. Then, a particular idea suddenly struck me:
(Please let me know if this already has been used/suggested by someone else… I plead innocence through shared creativity! I also plead guilty to muddled and morbid analogies/examples, if so judged…)
Death by Six-Shooter: A press release should knock your reader over like six quick shots that deliver the facts and importance of your story. Humor the following example:
- The lede: What’s the news? I got shot!
- The nutgraph: Where/when/tell me more! I got shot in the gut when I was in line to buy a caramel decaf mocha at the 15th and J Starbucks!
- The pithy quote: The news and its importance, in your own words: “It really hurts, and this has significant implications for my lifespan.”
- The detailed description: Paint me a picture of the story: There’s now blood everywhere and that might be the duodenum peeking out. No one got a look at the shooter, who was last seen with a venti Americano before fleeing the scene.
- The background and signficance: Here’s what else you need to know: I’ve always hypothesized that I’d bite it from a coronary from eating too much KFC. Most people have a 0.01 percent chance of dying from a gunshot at Starbucks versus a 0.09 percent chance from KFC cardiac episodes. But surprisingly, I got shot instead – making this a most unusual finding.
- The last word: A pithy statement/quote to sum it up, once more, with feeling: “Getting shot was unexpected and a hell of a way to go. But this gives us more clues as to whether getting shot while ordering coffee is a new trend for kicking the bucket.”
Feel free to improve upon this… post your versions in the comments!