Plain language … it’s clear, to the point, meaningful, and it’s such a cool approach, it’s … sexy. In today’s noisy world, there’s no better way to cut through competitive clutter than with the instant clarity of plain language.
The new online Gobbledygook Grader – recently announced by HubSpot, David Meerman Scott and Dow Jones – effectively drives home the point that far too many … in fact, most … press releases are full of gobbledygook, jargon, and overworked hype-laden junk words.
Check it out … it’s free, useful, and could be sobering news for people who write press releases or for organizations under the illusion that a press releases will magically translate into media attention. But looking closer, I wonder whether the Grader is more of a simple tactic that does not address the real issue, the real problem.
Aside from the fact that now we have yet another online grader tool, there is really nothing new about the fact that press releases are generally not focused on providing legitimate news but rather are infused with meaningless promotional hype that few people care about. Press releases are today less about giving the media something to report and more about promoting something. Today’s press releases have become sales flyers.
That’s why most news organizations use special spam filters – like SpamSieve – to catch and remove press releases to email trash. Even though PR people and organizations crank out hundreds of thousands of releases, the reality is that few of the releases are ever seen by the media.
On the other hand … if – God forbid – your intention is to generate a real news story, here’s now: Write a brief story synopsis in plain language (free of all the goggledygook and hype), include it in an email to the right reporter (not a bunch of reporters but one really good one), and wonders will happen – you just might land great media coverage. That’s how media coverage happens today … not through press releases but providing the right journalist with a plain language summary of a story at the right time.