Hey Mr. CEO, You’re not the story

I am looking at the lead of a press release and assuming the poor PR people knew better than to NOT include the CEO’s name in any missive they issue.

That could be the only reason for this sort of thing:

“Charles J. Beech, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Trivantis, the company behind the successful Lectora eLearning brand, today announced the Company’s agreement in principle to acquire its partner Flypaper Studio, Inc., providers of the leading Flash content creation and digital signage platform.”

You know what Mr. Beech. You’re not the story. It takes 20 words amounting to nothing to actually get to the point of this release – which is that his company just bought another one. The acquisition is actually the story, and if the PR people want that story read and to better control the message, they should package it up so it actually reads like a story.

Failing to do so means the PR people have to hope and editor or blogger will take the time to make the thing a story, and that they won’t shake their heads and skip it.

The story here is that eLearning software firm Trivantis has reached an agreement in principle to acquire Flypaper Studio, which will mean <inset meaningful words here> …

Later on, Mr. Beech can beat his chest and tell the world everyone is delighted by the deal.

The whole point of issuing a press release is to relate news about the company that creates interest among the unfamiliar, and generates excitement and/or confidence among clients and partners. Over and over, I see press releases so bogged down by egos and 25-year-old writing formulas that the news gets lost and the release doesn’t get the amount of reads that was desired when the process started.

It’s forehead-slapping obvious. A new release should lead with news.

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Comments ( 3 )
  • Benjamin says:

    This sort of thing isn’t always the PR person’s fault. I’m guessing they wrote the press release without mentioning the CEO… until the CEO or someone in management insisted they put the CEO’s name in the lead.

  • Peter Bray says:

    Hey Benjamin: I am the person responsible for the gaff you publicly point out: I will ask for your understanding as I explain. If you will do any research at all online, you will discover our CEO avoided any opportunity for raising his profile especially when it could detract from the company’s message. In our company’s 11-year history, this is the first time any Trivantis press releases mentioned his name, and it does at my insistence. (to continue…)

  • Peter Bray says:

    Our CEO announced our acquisition plans at our annual user conference, and it was important for our current and future stakeholders to understand our CEO was vital in this dynamic. While I generally agree with your Press Release 101 message of ‘don’t bury your lead’, in this case, there were important and specific business reasons for doing so. He was relevant to the message.

    Thank you,

    Peter Bray
    Chief Marketing Officer – Trivantis

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