The PR Wall of Praise

I received a press release today that, in my opinion, epitomizes what a press release should be. I asked its author, Jerry Moon, at Emerson Process Management, if I could use it as an example in the blog, and he kindly agreed. Here's the release, unedited, with my comments interspersed.
For immediate release Photo available: http://www.emersonprocess.com/home/news/resources/index.html#photos
One of the nicest things is to show where the photo is, especially a high res version. Who knows, this release might make it to the print magazine.
EMERSON ADDS ROUTE-BASED INFRARED ANALYSIS TOOLS TO AMSâ„¢ SUITE SOFTWARE
The head is clear, not only about what the product is, but what it DOES. And it is blessedly short.
Ability to analyze route-based IR images enables maintenance personnel to obtain better information on the condition of operating machinery
The deck tells not what the gizmachis is, but what it does... and why that should be important to the reader.
KNOXVILLE, TENN (June 20, 2007) - Emerson Process Management, a business of Emerson, has included new infrared analysis tools with its AMSâ„¢ Suite software. The added capability provides route-based IR data collection. The ability to analyze route-based IR images of plant equipment allows consistent thermography coverage of facility assets, easy database storage, and integration with other machinery health data.
Note please, that although Emerson is the biggest dog in the pound, Jerry resisted the siren call of adding the phrase, "the world's leader in..." in the first line. Too many releases begin this way, and we can't all be leaders. Especially since the point of a product release isn't to congratulate ourselves on how wonderful we are, but to tell potential end users why they ought to run right out and buy ten of these things. The first sentence says what the new product is-- an enhancement to the AMS suite of software. The next sentence starts telling us what we should be able to do with this enhancement.
When preparing for an infrared inspection survey, a technician can download a selected inspection route to the camera's memory. The technician can then follow the most efficient route and know exactly where to scan images at each machine on the route.
More important functionality...not for function's sake, but because it explains how to use the software.
Thermal images made in the field using Emerson's new CSI A9800XL Machinery Health Imager camera are easily uploaded to the new software. A Diagnostic Fault Tree assists users with diagnosing thermal faults. Images can be checked for hot or cool spots, measured for temperature, and compared with images made earlier at the same spot for predictive maintenance purposes. Stored images can be easily navigated, and adjusted as desired. Thermal profiles can be developed, copied, pasted in reports, and distributed. Images made by older IR cameras, including the CSI 735 RV, can also be analyzed.
Again, Jerry follows the pattern of what followed by why and then where.
AMS Suite provides users of CSI vibration data collectors and infrared cameras with many new and upgraded functions, including a new asset-centric interface for easy navigation in a Windows compatible environment. Users can now quickly identify a specific machine for evaluation and then decide what database tools to use for analysis, plotting, reporting, etc.
For further information about the IR Analytical Tools contained in version 5.0 of the AMS Suite, go to http://www.assetweb.com/mhm.
A quick recap of what the user can do with the product, treading very lightly on the traditional tech-heavy "this is my neat product, see all the features" writing that make automation industry press releases deadly.
Machinery Health Management solutions are key elements of the PlantWeb architecture and Asset Optimization offering of Emerson Process Management. PlantWeb automates the flow of information on asset reliability and performance to the people who run the business. To help users apply and use the information, Emerson's Asset Optimization offering combines world-class services with the innovative products to significantly improve process plant reliability. The results include improved process availability, increased productivity, and reduced equipment cost-of-ownership.
Next, Jerry takes us from the product to the product line, again focusing on the why rather than on the "see my cool product." All the glowing "all about me" stuff is stuck at the end of the release, where it legally belongs.
About Emerson Process ManagementEmerson Process Management (www.emersonprocess.com), an Emerson business, is a leader in helping businesses automate their production, processing and distribution components in the chemical, oil and gas, refining, pulp & paper, power, water and wastewater treatment, food and beverage, pharmaceutical, and other industries. Machinery Health Management, an Emerson Process Management company, was founded as Computational Systems Inc. in 1984 and is based in Knoxville, Tennessee. It is the world's leading designer, producer, and marketer of condition-monitoring products and services. CSI equipment and services play a key role in Emerson's mission of combining superior products and technology with industry-specific engineering, consulting, project management, and maintenance services to help customers achieve the potential of their operations. Emerson brands include CSI, PlantWeb®, Fisher®, Rosemount®, Micro Motion®, Daniel®, Bristol®, DeltaVâ„¢ , Ovation®, AMSâ„¢ Suite, and MDC.
About EmersonEmerson (NYSE: EMR), based in St. Louis, is a global leader in bringing technology and engineering together to provide innovative solutions to customers through its network power, process management, industrial automation, climate technologies, and appliance and tools businesses. Sales in fiscal 2006 were $20.1 billion. For more information, visit www.GoToEmerson.com.
CSI, PlantWeb, Fisher , Rosemount, Micro Motion, Daniel, Bristol, DeltaV, Ovation, AMS, and MDC are marks of Emerson Process Management.
This is how a release should be written. Please understand that other people, many other people, write press releases this way. I picked Jerry's because it came in today, when I was thinking about it, and because it was a short enough release that I could line-comment it for you, without getting carried away. If you, or your PR firm do not write releases this way, either news releases or product releases (and please remember that there is a difference) please consider changing how you write them.