Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The Art of the Executive Summary and News Release

How VC Guy Kawasaki explains the art of an executive summary to start-ups, is how I’d like to explain the art of the news release to my counterparts. There has been talk in several places about the “death of the news release.” My take on it is that the news release is a zombie, the living dead. It’s not alive, its not dead, you can't resuscitate it but you can’t kill it. So you might as well deal with it in all of its grotesqueness.

I make no apologies that I spend as little time as I can on news releases. Frankly they are a waste of time, no one reads them, but you gotta do one anyway so make the process as quick and painless as possible. If someone wants to write in a news release that something is “best-of-breed, turn-key, solution that drives business process and is powered by one million gbs throughput of pure IP joy” on one of my news releases, I let them go ahead and do it and I hope my media relationships are strong enough that no one of note would think that I actually wrote something so lame.

But all that being said, I love the way Guy Kawasaki highlights the elegance and simplicity of what start-ups need to know about making a good executive summary. When you think about it, the news release is an executive summary by another name and when reading these guidelines, I can’t help but fantasize about those simpler, gentler days of my youth when news release writing was a joyous affair where we just introduced the news, explained the fact, highlighted opportunities and potentials and communicated in English.

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