SEX (did I get your attention?)


We are constantly being bombarded by information. From the internet to the radio, from the TV to newspapers it seems like it never stops. For that matter, often times we are getting the same story being thrown at us from each medium. But when it comes to deciding what we end up hearing about (often repeatedly), what are the important factors?

Those in P.R. feel it is all about the wording, though, no one can quite agree which words are most important. Kate Robins, a P.R. consultant feels its best to use words that are likely to get attention--fastest, tallest, most---as well as words that just grab the general audice--money, fat, cancer, sex. David Seaman, author of the book, “Dirty Little Secrets of Buzz,” thinks that suggest new and fresh is most effective and supports words such as safe, easy, secret, and breaking.

Media outlets have their own say on which words grab their attention. Brenda Baumgartner news director and anchor at KPVI (an NBC affiliate in Pocatello, Idaho) looks for words which "fit the culture [they] live around" such as fishing, hunting, and Mormon.

In addition, words are also different depending on the industry. For a press release about a video games a phrase such as "faster graphics" are big, while when dealing with new technology a big phrase would be "cost breakthrough." In the entertainment industry there is a whole set of nouns--baby, breakup, marriage, divorce -- which help to get a press release out.

And then there are the words which don't help at all. These words--“solutions,” “leading edge,” “cutting edge,” “state of the art,” “mission critical,” and “turnkey”--are usually a sign of an empty article with no real value whatsoever.

Regardless of everything, these are only words that work, or don't work, at this very moment. A year from now none of the words could be helpful in getting a release out But these are words which are working right now. The words which will work on the general public and at media outlets are changing constantly, so what works today may not work next year. While each industry and each person who touches the release may feel that different words will help get their news out, everyone seems to be getting at the same idea. The words in the press release need to grab people's attention by describing unique factors about the event as well as thinking about the audience its aiming for.