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How To Write a Press Release (with Examples) Part 2

Last month, in Part 1, we published sales and marketing guru Geoffrey James’ 5 Rules to insure your Press Release actually drives prospects to contact you. Here he continues his advice with three examples and commentary.


Apple Launches Online Store in China

CUPERTINO, California-October 26, 2010-Apple today introduced the Apple Store in China (, the easiest way to shop online for Apple products including the revolutionary iPhone 4 and the magical iPadTM. Apple’s online store in China features free shipping, free personalized engraving on any iPod or iPad, and the ability to custom configure any MacÆ with just a few clicks. The online Apple Store also offers a wide selection of third-party products and is the only place online to buy the iPod nano (PRODUCT) RED.

“We are thrilled to open our newest online store in China,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s COO. “With personalized engraving, configure-to-order options and free shipping on everything, the Apple Store is a great destination for our customers in China.”

Just in time for the holiday shopping season, signature gift wrap is available with the purchase of most Apple products including iPod, iPad and iPhone. The online Apple Store also lets eligible students and faculty members take advantage of special education pricing on Apple products.

Also starting today, customers in China can access Apple’s legendary App Store! in Simplified Chinese, with localized featured apps and charts of the most popular paid and free apps in China. The App Store offers iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users access to the world ‘s largest catalog of apps with over 300,000 apps in 20 categories including games, business, news, sports, health, reference and travel.

Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork, and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple is reinventing the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and has recently introduced its magical iPad which is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices.

My comment: Pretty good for a high tech press release. However, I’ve boldfaced the nonsense words which attempt to create excitement but which actually fall flat. What would have made this release stronger would be some reason for the reader to care. For example, if they’d positioned this as something fitting into a larger trend about buying high tech in China, they would have gotten far more coverage.


Newell Rubbermaid Reinvents Mechanical Pencils with First Sharpie Liquid Pencil

Liquid graphite technology eliminates the frustration of broken or dull pencil leads

ATLANTA, Aug. 5, 2010 — Newell Rubbermaid (NYSE: NWL) today announced the latest innovation from Sharpie(R), the largest writing brand in North America. Sharpie Liquid Pencil revolutionizes the classic, tried and true writing instrument - the pencil - with cutting-edge liquid graphite technology that writes smooth like a pen but erases like a pencil, eliminating the frustration of broken or dulling pencil leads.

“The Sharpie Liquid Pencil is a game changer in the back-to-school shopping aisle,” said Sally Grimes, Vice President of Marketing for Newell Rubbermaid’s Markers, Highlighters, Art & Organization global business unit. “It solves the No. 1 consumer dissatisfaction with mechanical pencils - breaking leads - while also giving users the added confidence of stronger, darker lines that stand the test of time, plus the ability to erase and edit as they go.”

Sharpie Liquid Pencil features a line width comparable to a No. 2 traditional or mechanical pencil but there is no lead to break, never a need to sharpen and it won’t smudge or smear. The unique pressurized liquid graphite was especially designed to write on paper and is erasable for up to three days, after which it becomes more permanent. Suggested retail price is $1.99 for a single pack and $3.99 for the double pack, each with eraser refills. Both are available wherever office products are sold beginning in September.

The Sharpie Liquid Pencil joins the Sharpie Pen as the brand further expands from permanent markers into near-neighbor categories. The Sharpie Pen doesn’t bleed through paper and is perfect for everyday writing.

My comment: Again, not too bad, but it still has some biz-blab, which I’ve boldfaced. Eliminate the biz-blab and you’ve got a fairly interesting little story. BTW, note how well this press release dovetails with the branding philosophy propounded by Newell Rubbermaid’s head of global sales in the post “Interview with a Sales Superstar.”;drawer-container



Windows Phone 7 Goes on Sale in the United States; Is There Hope for People in Need of Better Phone Behavior?

New study shows 72 percent of U.S. adults surveyed identified bad mobile phone behavior as one of their top pet peeves, but only 18 percent admit to engaging in it.

REDMOND, Wash. - Nov. 8, 2010 - As Windows Phone 7 goes on sale in AT&T and T-Mobile USA stores across the United States, Microsoft Corp. has commissioned and released the findings of a recent Harris Interactive® survey showing the surprising ways mobile phones have become a part of the fabric of Americans’ lifestyles - a point illustrated by the fact that 55 percent of all phone owners surveyed age 18-35 have used their phone in a bathroom. To commemorate the U.S. launch of Windows Phone 7, Microsoft is challenging consumers to get a grip on their mobile phone habits.

Although consumers love their phones, there is growing annoyance with the distracted behaviors people exhibit while their heads are buried in their phones. Most U.S. adults indicate they have witnessed examples of bad mobile phone behavior, yet relatively few have admitted to engaging in such behavior themselves. Key findings from the study show the following from the surveyed adults:

Seventy-two percent identified bad mobile phone behavior as one of their top 10 pet peeves, but only 18 percent of mobile phone owners admit they are guilty of displaying such behavior.

Nineteen percent of phone owners between the ages of 18 and 24 have dropped their phone in a toilet.

Forty-nine percent of adults between the ages of 18 and 24 have tripped or walked into something while walking and texting or e-mailing on their mobile phone.

Sixty-nine percent of mobile phone users between the ages of 18 and 34 have used their phone while in bed.

The new Windows Phones offer a different kind of phone experience designed to get users in, out and back to life. With Windows Phone, Microsoft set out to design a mobile experience that would bring the things people care about most right to the start screen. In doing so, Windows Phone combines basic everyday tasks - tasks associated with e-mail or activities related to taking and sharing pictures - so people can do more in fewer steps.

My comment: This is more like it. The release (which came with a bunch of print-ready and web-ready photos of the launch) is packaged as a story about how people use phones and then positions Microsoft product as part of the solution. It’s very close to what a reporter would write because it’s a real story, not just “we’ve got something new to sell” information. Also note the absence of biz blab. (I’ll bet that a reporter wrote this release.)

That’s about it for press releases, at least for now. If you like, I can do some rewrites in a future post.

By Geoffrey James

Geoffrey James has sold and written hundreds of features, articles and columns for national publications including Wired, Men's Health, Business 2.0, SellingPower, Brand World, Computer Gaming World, CIO and The New York Times. He is the author of seven books, including Business Wisdom of the Electronic Elite and The Tao of Programming.

This article was originally published on on November 10, 2010