How To: Writing a Press Release that's Relevant and Newsworthy

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Veronique Eichler and I began working together last year, when she hired me to craft the brand voice for her brand new cider company, Shield Cider. With cider on shelves, she wanted a press release. Veronique completed a first draft and reached out for an edit. Here's an excerpt from that first draft:

March 28, 2018, Houston, TX – Shield Cider is pleased to announce the launch of its premium Organic Heritage Hard Apple Cider.
Produced in Normandy, France, Shield Cider is made from 100% organic cider-specific apples, wild fermentation and time. It contains no pre-pressed juices, no concentrates, no added sugars and no cultivated yeasts – no added ingredients of any kind. In fact, there is one pound of apples in every bottle...

Good right? It's accurate. But it needed a hook. I thought about what I know of Veronique, of Shield, and of the Houston market where the company is headquartered and offered up three distinct angles we could take to tell her story - each true but each allowing us to emphasize different aspects of Shield's journey into being. Here are the three angles I proposed: 

1. Houston-based Shield Cider Survives Harvey; Launches Premium Organic Hard Cider
2. Former Energy VP Launches Houston-Based Hard Cider Import Company

3. Houston-based Shield Cider Brings New Energy to Centuries-Old Hard Cider Tradition

Veronique consulted with her team and chose the second option, adding that she'd like to emphasize the fact that Shield Cider is a woman-owned company. Now that we had a direction, I needed more information, because as much time as we'd spent together, we hadn't delved into Veronique's personal story. It had been all about the cider.

The level of trust we'd developed after collaborating for nearly a year gave us the platform to honestly discuss why Veronique transitioned into this business, why she is uniquely qualified to make it a success, and why she wanted to make this cider in particular. From these details, I crafted a new press release for Shield. See the difference:

April 10, 2018 – HOUSTON – Thirty years ago, Veronique Eichler’s career in the energy industry meant she was often the only woman in the room. Her new venture, as the exclusive importer of Shield Cider, gives her the opportunity to shatter yet another glass ceiling – the one atop the heavily male-dominated wine and spirits industry. Although women have begun to make inroads into the craft spirits category, less than 20 percent of those employed by alcoholic beverage merchant wholesalers in 2017 were women (Bureau of Labor Statistics). 

The new approach gives over-taxed reporters and under-staffed publications an immediately relevant, news-worthy story. And it worked. Read the release in its entirety in Brewbound

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