This blog has taken a break during ‘shelter in place,’ as criticizing others’ work seemed out of place, and it was a time for a Sixties-ish ‘smile on your brother’ ethos. As the crisis appears to display some light at the end of the tunnel, it was time to get going again as the editorial scourge of the U.S. and Canadian PR Newswires. In addition, a draft of my second writing book, How to Be a Better Press Release Writer Overnight is firmly underway; it will be a companion to Better Online Writer Overnight (amazon.ca).
An excellent review just appeared: “Richard Rotman’s ‘How to be a better online writer overnight’ is possibly the 21st century’s best writing style manual. Richard’s methods work. It’s a must-read for all writers.” Whoever wrote that, I am your best friend for life. You can find it here: tiny.cc/prwriter. #pr #copywriting #betterwriting
In today’s story #prfail, @castingworkbook.com misses some key news release basics and also lets its own ego get in the way of a news story. Here are some edits:
Casting Workbook Announces New Virtual Casting Room Platform Designed to Support Evolving Film & Television Industry (16 words)
Better Writer Edit
Casting Workbook’s New Virtual Casting Room Platform Supports Evolving post-COVID19 Film & Television Industry (14 words)
Announces: a news release is by definition an announcement so this word is always unnecessary.
Designed to support/Supports: it had to be designed if it actually does support so it’s redundant.
Evolving Film & Television/post-COVID19 Film & Television: ‘evolving’ could mean at any time in any direction. In the lead, as seen below, the reason it’s evolving is given—COVID-19.
Essential tip: if you say it in the headline, repeat it in the lead. Changes due to Covid are the important point here. Leaving it out of the headline misses the point.
By focussing on essentials, the original lead was cut down 43.75 per cent, a record for this blog. Particularly, the company’s need to inject its CEO in the lead was not necessary. It also makes a fundamental error in saying that she ‘announced the launch.’ It’s not even true; the news release announced it by definition so it does not need to be said.
VANCOUVER, May 7, 2020 /CNW/ – Casting Workbook has once again disrupted the industry and introduced a new innovative product designed to propel production. This morning, Company Founder & CEO Susan Fox announced the launch of Casting Workbook’s new Virtual Casting Room service (VCR) which has been in development for the past year and is now in a strategic pivot to meet the new demands of a post-COVID19 Quarantine industry. (64 words)
Better PR Writer edit
VANCOUVER, May 7, 2020 /CNW/ – Casting Workbook has once again disrupted the film and television industry by introducing Virtual Casting Room service (VCR), a new, innovative product designed to propel production and meet the latest demands in a post-COVID19 Quarantine industry. 36 words (43.75 per cent decrease)
- The drastic reduction resulted from moving copy to a second paragraph, where it belongs. See how it worked below.
- New innovative product designed to propel production/by introducing…a new innovative product. Name the product!
- Normally, the Better PR Writer blog makes copy shorter but in this instance, moving the CEO to the second paragraph,
Messy second paragraph
VCR is fully automated and includes everything an actor needs to prepare and show up for their Virtual Audition. They can pre-check in to the session in advance much like a pre-flight check in before heading to the airport. Their sides, video directions, information forms with product and scheduling conflicts, the script breakdown as well as role descriptions are included. Everything is then bundled with their online photos, resumes and even demo reels when available and sent via an elegant Sharing Platform to the production team to selected candidates. (89 words)
Better PR Writer edit
In development for the past year and now in a strategic pivot, according to Company Founder and CEO Susan Fox, the fully automated VCR includes everything actors need to prepare and show up for their Virtual Audition. Much like a pre-flight check in, they register for the session in advance and include their sides, video directions, information forms with product and scheduling conflicts, script breakdown and role descriptions. Then bundled with photos, resumes and even available demo reels, everything is sent via an elegant Sharing Platform to the production team and selected candidates. (93 words)