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Playing To Win

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Last week, you may recall (You don’t? You mean you don’t cut out and keep all my ramblings?), I was full of praise for a perfect pitch I’d received, which resulted in an immediate commission.

This week I offer up a release that had bags of potential but failed because it ignored one of the first rules of PR: play your best cards first.

Feature writers sometimes like to pen a slow-burn of a story, hoping to intrigue the reader and draw them in. You don’t have that luxury with a press release. We want the information and we want it fast.

“UK’s top Michelin Star chefs to join forces at pop-up restaurant in hotel at the heart of UK’s culinary capital” the teasing subject line read. It’s a bit wordy, for sure, but not a bad opening salvo. Who are these chefs, I wonder? What is the hotel called? And where exactly is the UK’s culinary capital, if not London?

Having set it up, you need to give the answers pronto. I learnt the name of the hotel soon enough, but the chefs’ names were a blank. After ten paragraphs, I knew they were “revered”, I knew they were the “country’s best”, I knew it was “a pleasure to welcome them”, but as to their identities? Not a clue. I suspected a serious case of a PR overplaying their hand. They were clearly famous only to their mothers, I decided.

So it was a total shock when, 500 words in, I discovered they were indeed, as promised, two of the country’s most famous and respected chefs, with four stars between them.

Why didn’t you say so at the start?

I never did discover where the “heart of the UK’s culinary capital” was though. They didn’t really mean Barrow in Furness, did they?

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