Friday, April 6, 2012

On writing the perfect press release

Posted By on 04.06.12 at 01:55 PM

Ringtone entrepreneur Phil Anselmo
  • Ringtone entrepreneur Phil Anselmo
Looked at from the perspective of workflow and time management, my job might appear to be less about writing about music and more about sifting through a relentless deluge of press releases that keeps my inbox in a state of constant ridiculousness. Most of them are utterly useless to me. Today's haul so far includes news about this month's beer specials at some north-side jock bar, lineup confirmations for a few small music festivals on the other side of the country, and an extremely in-depth notice about the front man for a North Carolina-based "Ultimate Michael Jackson Tribute Band," who's recovering from a bout with pneumonia—which on one hand I guess I'm glad for the guy, but on the other hand I don't know what I'm supposed to do with this information or why it's being sent to me, aside from the fact that e-mails don't cost money. Even messages that seem potentially useful on the surface are often rendered worthless by a publicist's attempts to get too cute at the cost of actually imparting any meaningful information, which result in me having to read through several hundred words of ersatz Pitchforkiana only to realize that the release doesn't say where the band is from or what date their album comes out.

But every once in a while a press release comes along that does its job perfectly. It offers an intriguing but informative headline such as, "PHILIP ANSELMO Releases Exclusive Vocal Ringtones – Available Now!" I know what a Phil Anselmo is, but I'm not sure what a "vocal ringtone" is. So now I want to open the e-mail. Inside the information is presented plainly and succinctly: "PHILIP ANSELMO, known as heavy metal's most notorious vocalist, is releasing several ringtones for fans to grace their cell phones with. Ten individual ringtones have been created using Philip's voice, ranging from hilarious to seriously badass!" Which, OK, here I would have dropped in the information that Anselmo sang for Pantera and still sings for Down. But on the other hand, way to trust your audience.

Then maybe add a quote from whoever made the product that you're pushing ("Grab one of my new 'Craptastic' ringtones and be the first one on your block to be full of it!") to add a bit of salesmanship. Then wrap up with the information on how one would go about purchasing your product.

While I'm a strict vibrate-only kind of phone user, I can also appreciate the considerable allure of having your phone yell at you in Phil Anselmo's voice every time someone calls you. After a brief reminder of what a singularly ferocious thing that voice is, I'll reproduce the info on how to purchase the ringtones. I can't speak to the relative quality of the individual ringtones, but I will say that "Bbbbbb" and "Ding Dong" both look intriguing.

To download the ringtones, just text the keywords below to 69937 and your ringtone will be sent to your phone. Charges apply per ringtone.

Ringtones:

Title: Ring
Keyword: Phil1

Title: Ring Inhale
Keyword: Phil2

Title: Ding Dong
Keyword: Phil3

Title: Bbbbbb
Keyword: Phil4

Title: Pick Up the Phone
Keyword: Phil5

Title: There's Someone Calling
Keyword: Phil6

Title: Answer
Keyword: Phil7

Title: Whaaoo
Keyword: Phil8

Title: I'll Keep Calling
Keyword: Phil9

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