Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Nancy Nall on how not to write a press release

Nancy Nall, now world-famous for her plagiarizer-wranglin', has some not-so-complimentary things to say about the news release that tried to put a happy face on the Lincoln Museum closing. And when you learn that the release was titled "Lincoln Financial Foundation to Make Its Lincoln Museum Collection More Accessible and Visible," it's pretty hard to disagree with her.

If you're in the press release-writing business, Nall's post provides a great reality check for those moments when you think you can fool your audience. In short, you can't. And if you try, you'll be setting yourself up for an even worse public response than would have been generated by the bad news you were trying to cover up in the first place. The old, venerable "go ugly early" rule is old and venerable for a reason: it works.

No, Lincoln wouldn't have made anyone happy had they titled their release "Lincoln Museum to close in June." But by adding insult to injury, they've set themselves up for a lot more criticism. Here's one example of the anger it inspires. And here's another.

1 comment:

jbow said...

Re: the Lincoln Foundation press release, it was also inexcusable for them to email info on an an 11:30 a.m. press conference at 9 a.m. -- the hope, I think, was that no one would show.