DS PR 101: Don’t bury the good stuff

This isn’t terrible, it could just be better. So I’m not too concerned about using the name of the company that sent me a release today. There’s good information in it – if the readers are patient enough to read on and find it.

Magenta Research is proud to announce a state-of the-art installation equipping Colorado State University’s College of Business for global communication. Magenta was chosen to provide a connectivity solution that would allow the routing of video audio and control signals to classrooms, conference rooms and common areas.

Colorado State University (CSU), is located in Fort Collins, Colorado, and hosts approximately 25,000 resident-instruction students who come from every state and more than 80 foreign countries. CSU has an extensive distance learning program with students attending from around the world.  The distance-learning program allows students who cannot physically attend classes to attend lectures via Internet or DVD. One of the challenges that the university faced was keeping the distance-learning students up-to-speed with lecture materials.  Distance-learning students depend heavily on internet lectures and receiving recorded DVDs of previous lectures.

Professors only have seven minutes between classes to set up microphones, mixers, switchers, and cameras. The set up and testing of this equipment is time consuming, labor intensive and subject to errors. Having localized video equipment in each classroom required the professor to physically be in the classroom to make changes to the AV configuration.

In my old newspaper days, we called this burying the lede. I am not sure why newspapers called the leading paragraph the lede and spelled it like that. But they did and still do, I think.

The good stuff here is that this new connectivity solution is saving time and resources and removing considerable aggravation for the profs and the AV department. Unless I am missing it, THAT’S what higher ed AV and IT people would get excited about. They will not normally get excited by a lede that drags out the “state of the art” cliche and then just flatly says the school put in some Magenta gear.

There’s too much background info in the 2nd paragraph and again nothing about the good stuff. All that 25,000 students, 80 countries, 50 states belongs further down in the release.

The net result is a release that says: We’re proud to announce we did something that’s the bee’s knees at this place and if you bear with us long enough we’ll eventually let you in on why you should care.

Magenta is known, by the way, as a supplier of premium gear for moving content around large spaces, and I’ve used their VGA over Cat 5 in past operational lives.

Approach your news releases as stories, and grab the readers from the beginning. Your goal with the first paragraph is to get them continuing on to the next paragraph, and so on.

The headline – Magenta Bridges the Gap for Colorado State University – also does absolutely nothing to pull readers in.

How about “Magenta central AV controls save time, money and resources for college’s AV/IT group”

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Comments ( 1 )
  • Barnaby Page says:

    It adds zero to the quest for good PR in the digital-signage sector, but just to answer your musing…I was taught that we wrote lead as “lede”, head as “hed”, etc. so that if the words were inadvertently typeset (remember that?) it would be immediately obvious to a proofreader (remember them?) that they weren’t intended to be part of the story.

    By the way, Dave, the feedback form requires a URL – a bit unfair on people who want to comment in a personal capacity rather than a corporate one.

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