Leon’s Furniture PR Needs Some Polish

In this latest instalment of PR Tools, @LeonsFurniture chain made many instructive press release mistakes. As usual, the PR Writer is mystified how a major national chain like Leon’s can pay significant sums to distribute a news release with so many basic mistakes and a need for editing. Let’s start with the headline. #PR #PRwriting #humberpr #pressrelease

Original headline

Leon’s Announces Opening of Two New Stores

Better PR Writer Edit

Leon’s Opens New Stores in Kelowna and Calgary

Wasting words in a news release with language like ‘announces’ or ‘is pleased to announce’ should have been taught at #humberpr PR 101. It just isn’t news – and it’s really dull. Leaves out the who/what/when/where.  It’s the store opening that’s important. Taking essential information from the rest of the flabby release, it can be stronger. It now contains a location, important for media in those cities. 

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Original lead

TORONTO, Aug. 25, 2020 /CNW/ – Leon’s, a Canadian retailer of furniture, mattresses, appliances, and home electronics, and a wholly owned subsidiary of Leon’s Furniture Limited (“LFL” or the “Company“) (TSX: LNF), has announced the opening of two new showrooms in British Columbia and Alberta. The first location in Kelowna, B.C., opened on August 13th, 2020, in the Orchard Park Shopping Centre. The second showroom located in Calgary, Alta., is set to open its doors in September and celebrate with a Grand Opening Sale during October. 

Better PR Writer Edit

TORONTO, Aug. 25, 2020 /CNW/ – Leon’s, a Canadian retailer of furniture, mattresses, appliances, and home electronics, and a wholly owned subsidiary of Leon’s Furniture Limited (“LFL” or the “Company“) (TSX: LNF), has opened new showrooms in Kelowna, B.C. and Calgary, Alta. The 20,000 sq. ft., Kelowna store in the Orchard Park Shopping Centre, its sixth in B.C., opened August 13, and Calgary, with 50,000 sq. ft.,  will follow in September. There also will be an October Grand Opening celebration sale.

Comments

As much as I’d like to take out the ‘wholly owned subsidiary’ sentence, it contains the stock symbol (TSX: LNF), essential for investor relations. Interestingly, the lead contains the locations, matching the headline as now written. 

Pro Tip #1: Make the lead relate to the headline. If it says Kelowna and Calgary in the headline, make sure it’s in the lead too. 

Pro Tip #2: Location is a word that can almost always be eliminated. Although my rewrite is a bit different, it could have said ‘the first, in Kelowna….’

Pro Tip #3 No ‘th’ in numbers in dates. It should be August 13, 2020. They are Cardinal not Ordinal. Ordinal, like 10th, 11th etc. is a position, like something in a list. The fourth row, the third grade. 

A few more thoughts: 

  • Note that the square footage is added
  • As is the data about how many Leon’s there were in B.C. 
  • The word location is edited out…Kelowna store in the Orchard Park Shopping Centre
  • The date is corrected
  • ‘Celebrate with a Grand Opening Sale during October’ becomes ‘There also will be an October Grand Opening celebration sale.’ 
  • ‘During’ was eliminated by moving October in front of the ‘grand opening’ sale. 
  • ‘During,’ a word like ‘location,’ according to How to be a better online writer overnight’ can almost always be cut

Original second paragraph

As many Canadian retailers choose to downsize their physical retail footprint, Leon’s is excited to continue to expand their brick and mortar presence across the country and offer Canadians the in-store shopping experience many customers look for when purchasing home furnishings.

Better PR Writer Edit

With many Canadian retailers downsizing physical retail footprints, Leon’s proudly is expanding its brick and mortar presence, offering Canadians the in-store shopping experience many customers look for when purchasing home furnishings.

Pro Tip #4: It and They. Companies are an ‘it.’ People are a ‘they’ in the journalistic, not cultural milieu. 

The major change:

A. As many Canadian retailers choose to downsize their physical retail footprint, Leon’s is excited to continue to expand their brick and mortar presence

B. With many Canadian retailers downsizing physical retail footprints, Leon’s proudly is expanding its brick and mortar presence. (not theirs). 

Reason for changes

  • One could say ‘Leon’s employees are excited to continue their presence.
  • Also, ‘continue to expand its brick and mortar presence’ contains much extra verbiage, like ‘continue to expand.’ 
  • The adverb ‘proudly’ replaces the ‘is excited to continue.’ Use adverbs where possible.
  • Don’t say ‘choose to downsize.’ Clearly that is part of downsizing. Use the gerund form ‘With many Canadian retailers downsizing.’ 

‘Is excited to continue to expand’ is really PR negligence. Adverbs work wonders, so ‘proudly is expanding’ does the job better. ‘Its’ we’ve talked about. I have mixed feelings about ‘brick and mortar presence’ but overall, it is an operative word. And that’s my story and I am sticking to it. 

Author: rotmanprwriter

PRWriter, Copy Doctor, Humber College PR and writing Prof

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