Popular stories in the media often originate from a press release. Each week, we pick one of those popular announcements and distill down key PR lessons that you can immediately apply in your own business. This week: a product announcement from Barry Callebaut about the launch of a new type of chocolate.
‘Ruby’ becomes first new natural colour of chocolate in over 80 years – The Guardian
The announcement about the introduction of a new type of chocolate was picked up by mainstream newspapers around the world including The New York Times and The Guardian, as well as business publications such as CNBC, Bloomberg, and The Wall Street Journal.
Why did the media like this story so much and what can we learn from this announcement by the world’s largest cocoa processor, Barry Callebaut.
- Strong News Hook. The reader is instantly hooked by the Ruby chocolate headline because this new product announcement is publicizing history in the making. The press release attracts further attention with the superlative sub-heading—80 years after the introduction of white chocolate—which tells us what makes this product category unique and how chocolate may never be the same again. It is then followed by key facts about flavor and its natural ingredients, reflecting the trend for natural foods.
What Doesn’t Work:
- Lack of Supporting Data. The Barry Callebaut release claims that Ruby chocolate meets consumer demand yet fails to provide data to support its claims. The reference to the Hedonistic indulgence—a consumer need found among Millennials—claimed by Peter Boone, Barry Callebaut’s Chief Innovation & Quality Officer, is not explained in the press release either. The New York Times article picks up on the release’s excessive “marketing jargon.”
- Poor Writing Structure. The writing structure is poor because the release starts off in the first two paragraphs with details of the unique characteristics of Ruby chocolate then flip-flops between research and more product attributes before returning to research and ending with a fluffy quote.
What We’ve Learned: Back up Your Claims and Write Logically
Making bold claims draws attention, which is what you want, but if you don’t provide data or evidence to support these claims you will quickly lose credibility. This lack of supporting evidence was picked up by the writer of the Huff Post article. She quoted a food critic, who posted in the dining guide Eater, saying big companies may use gimmicks designed to trick consumers. If you don’t want to attract skeptics and want to build and maintain a good reputation, be prepared to back up your claims.
Also, remember to group bits of information together so your writing follows a logical structure. In this release, the important information backing up the uniqueness of the product should have been the focus of the upper paragraphs. Readers want to know why your product is unique and why they should care. You can describe the historic timeline of how the product came together in the lower paragraphs. So, cut the fluff, keep it concise, and show, don’t tell.
Check out the Barry Callebaut announcement here and let me know in the comments section below why you think the media liked this story so much and what lessons you will likely apply in your next press release.
Marcel van de Hoef is co-founder of Publiqly, whose step-by-step systems help small and medium-sized companies write press releases that journalists and bloggers can’t ignore. Were you forwarded this post? Sign up to receive our weekly press release lessons directly in your inbox.