Press Release Hype
We get hundreds of press releases here, from a wide cross-section of companies in the LE industry. If you’re the person in charge of writing those press releases for your company, kindly lend an ear. I know some of those releases not only go to magazines, blogs, online forums and the like, but also land in the e-mail in-baskets of police buyers and administrators all over the country. So in essence, you might have an all-too-fleeting moment to capture the attention of a buyer somewhere (cop, sergeant, training lieutenant, deputy chief, city buyer, etc.) so you have to spend that time wisely.
And many of you don’t.
Here’s an honest example, and the really sad thing is it’s not really that unusual to get something reading like this. Oh, I’ve changed the name of the guilty party, but if you’re reading … well, you’ll get the drift. I defy you to understand what they’re talking about:
“CopWerx, the number one leading designer of cross-platform software, announces it’s new Phase III Data Management System, created for today’s cutting-edge law enforcement environment. CopWerx’s award-winning software engineering excellence has allowed us to create a seamless focus for online and cloud users, enabling officers and system administrators to access real-time data flow conceptions, allowing them to respond instantly to changing personnel management requirements. This never-before-offered solution to a themed point of reference commitment has once again raised the bar for medium to large population-based law enforcement agencies, rendering a first-person approach to problem solving a sudden reality for their agencies.”
Now, let’s look at another one I got recently and you can easily see the difference:
“Xeletron offers your agency the ability to easily manage data flow, from crime scenes, investigators, field officers, forensic labs, data archiving, traffic management and even police fleet management. All done using simple-to-understand language and affordable hardware. Chances are good we can help you to upgrade your existing computer systems to make them even more effective. We’ve had success assisting the Dallas Police Department, Denver, San Diego and a host of other agencies solve their growing, complicated data management problems. Let us help you.”
I actually understand that. If I call Xeletron, they’ll likely send someone out who can take a look at what my problem is and maybe offer a solution I can afford. Worth a shot, eh?
But the difference is huge — and critical. Don’t get caught up in tech-speak if it’s computer stuff, or cop-speak if it’s other gear, training or services. Don’t say this when talking about your thermal imaging cameras:
“Tactical team leaders find reliance on thermal imaging a critical part of their pre-mission planning stages, allowing tactical deployment of operators for both perimeter security and suspect identification and arrest procedures. Our thermal imaging technology can enhance and bring your tactical deployment missions to a tier-one level.”
How about just saying: “Police often use thermal imaging to help secure a scene and to identify and arrest suspects. We’d like to show you our line of rugged, reliable thermal imaging tools that will help you do your job more safely — and more reliably.”
Sometimes, speaking plain English isn’t a bad thing, and might even allow some over-worked administrator (or bored graveyard cop reading American COP) to understand what your company does. They might even call you for more information then.
Not to mention magazine editors everywhere will be happy to finally actually understand your press release, and be able to write about it more effectively. Imagine that.
By Roy Huntington