I’ve written the following press release about a fake rock band specifically as an example of what not to do. The names and events are fake but the errors in writing are all too common. Read it, if you dare, and then see how easy it is to give it some spit and polish and turn it into something publishable:
PISTOLS N’ PETALS TO REUNITE AFTER 16 YEAR HIATUS BRINGS TOGETHER FANS NEW AND OLD ALIKE AT ONE-OFF CONCERT TO SUPPORT LOCAL ANIMAL SHELTER
LOOKING FOR A GREAT SHOW? WELL THERE’S ONE COMING SOON AND YOU WON’T BELIEVE WHOSE BACK!!!!!
PISTOLS N’ PETALS FIRST TOOK THE WORLD BY STORM IN 1986 WITH THEIR DEBUT ALBUM “CRAVING FOR DEMOLITION.” IT MUST HAVE BEEN FATE WHEN LEAD GUITARIST RONNIE “CUTTER” ROSENTHAL AND DYNAMIC FRONTMAN PAUL “FUELPUMP” PETAL FIRST MET IN LOS ANGELOS! WITH DRUMMER BUCKY “TWIN-SKINS” BOOKER, THE GROUP TOOL LA GLAM METAL TO THE NEXT LEVEL!
THEY TOURED EVERYWHERE. THEY SOLD MILLIONS OF THEIR DEBUT RECORD “CRAVING FOR DEMOLITION”. THEIR FOLLOWUP, QUADROUPLE LP “THE LUNCHBOX HAS LANDED” BROKE THE RECORD FOR MOST WEAKS SPEANT ATOP THE BILLBOARD CHARTS.
EVEN THOUGH THEY’RE AN AMAZING BAND, MEMBERS WANTED TO DO OTHER THINGS AND SO THEY SPLIT UP IN 2000. CUTTER ROCKS OUT ALL THE TIME AS A SOLO ARTIST AND PETAL IS A PROFESSIONAL DIVER FOR SEA CUCUMBERS.
TRADGEDY STRUCK THE P N’ P FAMILY, THOUGH, WHEN BASSIST GIPPY “JACKHAMMER” MACDONALD DIED IN A BIZARRE GARDENING ACCIDENT, SO CUTTER AND FUELPUMP AND TWINSKINS ARE REUNITING FOR A SPECIAL, ONE-TIME ONLY REUNION AT THE 600-SEAT FARGO CIVIC ARENA IN FARGO, NORTH DAKOTA ON SEPTEMBER 1, 2016.
JACKHAMMER LOVED KITTENS. HE’D ALWAYS HAVE A LARGE BOX OF KITTENS ON THE TOUR BUS AND WE’D PLAY WITH THEM AFTER THE SHOW. THE GROUPIES LOVED THE KITTENS TO AND SOMETIMES THEY’D FORGET THAT WE WERE THERE AND JUST PLAY WITH THE KITTENS,” SAYS CUTTER. SO WE’RE GOING TO DONATE ALL THE PROCEEDS TO THIS SHOW TO THE GREATER FARGO HUMANE SOCIETY AND SHELTER. JACKHAMMER WOULD HAVE WANTED IT THAT WAY.
ITS GOING TO BE A FANTASTIC SHOW BUT DON’T WAIT TO GET TICKETS BECAUSE THEY’RE SURE TO SELL OUT QUICKLY! AND FOR A GREAT CAUSE TOO!
Awful. Hard to read. Here’s why:
• Never type in all-caps. It looks like you’re yelling. Plus, some poor schmuck is going to have to retype the whole thing.
• How long is that headline? Way too long.
• Writing style is more akin to an advertisement than a news piece.
• Where’s the lead? Why is the band’s history so prominent? Where’s the actual news? Where’s the dateline?
• Where does Cutter’s quote begin or end? That whole thing is a mess.
• How does one even get tickets for this thing?
• Who can I talk to with questions?
• When can this run? Who do I contact with questions?
OK, so let’s see if we can’t make this baby hum. We’ll shorten the headline, dig up the lead and toss all the extraneous wording and superlatives. Most importantly, we’ll make sure we include some contact and ticket sale information.
FOR RELEASE AUG. 18, 2016
Contact Bob Smith, Corporate Communications, Top 5 Record: 555-4444; firstname.lastname@example.org
Pistols ‘N Petals to reunite for a good cause
First reunion in 16 years
FARGO, NORTH DAKOTA — Legendary heavy metal band Pistols N’ Petals are reuniting for the first time in 16 years in Fargo on Sept. 1. It’s all to benefit a great cause in memory of a recently deceased Pistols member.
Pistols N’ Petals took the world by storm in 1986 with their debut album, “Craving for Demolition.” Born out of the L.A. glam scene, Pistols was the brainchild of lead guitarist Ronnie “Cutter” Rosenthal, drummer Bucky “Twin-Skins” Booker and dynamic frontman Paul “Fuelpump” Petal.
The band became a live favorite, performing to millions during a sold-out world tour. P N’ P’s follow-up to “Craving,” 1992’s quadruple LP, “The Lunchbox Has Landed,” spent a record 55 weeks atop the Billboard charts, breaking the record previously set by the soundtrack to “West Side Story.”
The band split up in 2000 over creative differences. Cutter went on to pursue a successful solo career while Petal received his diving certification and now spends his days harvesting sea cucumbers.
The recent death of P N’ P bass player Gippy “Jackhammer” Macdonald in a gardening accident last year prompted the surviving members to reunite for this special, one-time only reunion at the 600-seat Fargo Civic Arena.
Proceeds will go toward the Greater Fargo Humane Society and Shelter.
“Jackhammer loved kittens,” said Cutter. “He’d always have a large box of kittens on the tour bus and we’d play with them after the show. So I can’t think of a better organization to donate our ticket sales to.”
Cutter addded: “Jackhammer would have wanted it that way.”
This is expected to be a sold-out performance and the band recommends getting tickets as soon as possible for this once-in-a-lifetime event.
Tickets will be available Aug. 21 at the Fargo Community Center at 3 Main St. and through Ticketmaster.
Why this version works:
1. It flows. It’s easy to read, uses good grammar and is still compelling without including extraneous details.
2. Right off the bat, the reader has the important information: That the band is back together Sept. 1 for a charity event in Fargo. Ticket information is included.
3. Still contains facts about the band’s history to lure in a new audience and plenty of color. Quotes are tightened and improved.