PR Niblets

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Extra, Extra, Read All About It - Snowmaggedon Hits Super Bowl Weekend Following a Major Market Drop

Let it break, let it break, let it break. Breaking news is a PR person’s best friend…and worst enemy. It can spark a trend and help to build an expert or it can ruin a planned press announcement and overshadow a feature story. Back in the days of yellow journalism, outrageous and flamboyant, breaking news headlines sold papers. With the decline of print magazines and newspapers, the media relies so heavily on just one little click to stay alive.

Last week with Snowmaggedon, the Super Bowl, and a fairly big drop in the market, one story after another seemed to scream, “Click on me!” But, is a headline the only line in a press release that matters?

Most PR pros will tell you yes, if you can’t grab the reporter’s or consumer’s attention in 140 characters or less (thanks to microblogging) then the reader will not continue reading and your whole story is lost anyway.

In our PR firm, however, it’s been an age old discussion (much like the chicken or the egg) as to what comes first – the headline or the news story. Some believe that a headline should simply be written after you nail the lead paragraph – while others believe a headline should be written first to set the tone of the story and be the glue that holds the pieces together.

With the average length of a news cycle being hours or at most a few days, PR pros are constantly reverting back to the days of yellow journalism and using eye-catching headlines to draw in readers. The run up to the Super Bowl last week is the perfect example with multiple stories and segments (shameless client plug: on Super Bowl commercials and who the big “players” were this year - almost overshadowing the excitement around the game itself. The game was actually very exciting with a great comeback by the Saints - but there were few commercials that really were able to stand up to all of the hype around them! My personal favorites were Google's commercial and Letterman's featuring Jay Leno and Oprah! It’s funny to see that the build-up is sometimes bigger than the actual event.

And in the case of Snowmaggedon (duh duh dunnnn), most areas just looked at it as another storm to dig out of…we’re supposed to get another Snowmaggedon this week! Batter down the hatches – it’s the end of the world!!!!!

Now that got your attention!

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