PR Tools: Good press release example, word repeats set off alarms: almost 20 per cent edited out

New York in the fall.

I started this post thinking I’d write about well-crafted press releases, as good examples, for my second Better Writing book, now underway, covering news releases. I came across this one from Nikon that at first glance looked very well done and was a successful PR tool. I still think it’s effective. However, in studying it, the word repeats surprisingly made me re-think my original assumptions.  

Original headline

New York named “Best State for Fall Photography” in Nikon’s Fifth Annual Nationwide Competition (96 characters)

Better PR Writer Edit

New York: “Best State for Fall Photography” in Nikon’s Fifth Annual Nationwide Competition (91 characters)

Most studies say that headlines are too long, measured in characters, so trimming them is important. Google’s standard is between 65 and 80 characters, with most wire services setting 100-125 characters as their standard. In the SEO world, Google’s standard prevails. It’s the ultimate arbiter. A simple headline-ese edit here trimmed five characters and worked better. 

‘New York:’ instead of ‘New York named.’ 

Original subhead

The Empire State Unseats Three-Time Reigning Champion Michigan to Reclaim the Prestigious “Top Spot for Fall Foliage” Title (123 characters)

Simple edit

Empire State Unseats Three-Time Reigning Champion Michigan, Reclaiming Prestigious “Top Spot for Fall Foliage” (111 characters)

Applying headline standards – which by the way call for minimizing capital letters – several changes shorten it easily. 

  1. The Empire State—‘the’ is not necessary.
  2. Make it ‘Empire State.’To reclaim — reclaiming. Gerunds (‘ing’ forms) aid readability. 
  3. Top Spot for Fall foliage title — Delete ‘title.’ Top spot for Fall Foliage is sufficient and implies a competition. 

Original lead – note ‘state’ repeated four times

MELVILLE, N.Y., Nov. 21, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Today, Nikon Inc. unveiled New York as the winner of its fifth annual “Top Spots for Fall Foliage” competition to determine America’s most picture-perfect state to photograph autumn colors. After an exciting race, New York ousted the other forty-nine hopefuls for the title of “Best State for Fall Photography” in the United States. Not only does this year mark New York’s second time earning the prestigious honor, but the victory is significant, as it is the first time in three years for a state to de-throne the competition’s reigning champion – Michigan. (91 words)

Better PR Writer edit (only one ‘state’)

MELVILLE, N.Y., Nov. 21, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Today, Nikon Inc., after an exciting race, unveiled New York as the fifth annual winner of its “Top Spots for Fall Foliage” competition determining America’s “Best State for Fall Photography.” Not only does this year mark New York’s second time earning the prestigious honor, ousting the other 49 state hopefuls. The victory is even more significant as Michigan, the competition’s reigning champion, will be dethroned for the first time in three years. (72 words)

I really did want to leave this alone but certain phrases compelled commentary. ‘State’ was repeated four times and that set off alarms, as did the separation between the competition and the title. 

Original first sentence 

Today, Nikon Inc. unveiled New York as the winner of its fifth annual “Top Spots for Fall Foliage” competition to determine America’s most picture-perfect state to photograph autumn colors.

Edit

Today, Nikon Inc., after an exciting race, unveiled New York as the fifth annual winner of its “Top Spots for Fall Foliage” competition determining America’s “Best State for Fall Photography.”

  • ‘The exciting race’ was moved from the second sentence, as it freed other deletions and allowed placing the competition’s name and its title in one sentence, eliminating word repeats. 
  • In addition, it made the lead more exciting, as there was some drama. 

Original second sentence

After an exciting race, New York ousted the other forty-nine hopefuls for the title of “Best State for Fall Photography” in the United States. Not only does this year mark New York’s second time earning the prestigious honor, but the victory is significant, as it is the first time in three years for a state to de-throne the competition’s reigning champion

Edit

Not only does this year mark New York’s second time earning the prestigious honor, ousting the other 49 state hopefuls. The victory is even more significant as Michigan, the competition’s reigning champion, will be dethroned for the first time in three years.

First of all, this sentence was eliminated: 

Not only does this year mark New York’s second time earning the prestigious honor, ousting the other forty-nine state hopefuls.

It’s not certain that 49 state hopefuls is necessary but let’s say there actually were that many states in the competition. The sentences were also broken up for clarity. 

 

 

 

 

 

Author: rotmanprwriter

PRWriter, Copy Doctor, Humber College PR and writing Prof

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