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10 Tips for Writing an Effective News Release

16 Nov

10 Tips for Writing an Effective News Release.

Topic of the week 13

A news release, a.k.a. a press release, is a “simple document whose primary focus is the distribution of information to mass media such as newspapers, broadcast stations, and magazines.”

News releases serve the purpose of letting the media know what’s going on and trying to gain media attention. Public relations practitioners often use releases to get their client publicity in the news.

The media also relies on news releases to know what’s going on and the details (such as what, where, when, etc.)  

Here Are 10 Tips on writing an effective news release.

  1. Be Creative

            Be careful because you don’t want to overdo it. But a release that catches the editor and reader’s attention while tying in with local news or trends is a bonus.

     2. Make Sure Content is Clear

     3. Capture-and Hold-the Attention of the Reader

     4. Use Information that is Newsworthy.

     5. Answer the Who, When, What, Where and Why?

            The earlier in the news release the better.

     6. Use Effective/Proper Quotes

     7.Double-Check Information

     8. Localize Whenever Possible.

            Releases are more likely to get published if it has a local angle.

     9. Use the Correct Format

    10.  Write With a Direction and Purpose

For more infromation/tips check out:

Public Relations Strategies and Tactics

PR WEB

Press Release Writing

Public Relations During Times of Crisis

11 Nov

Public Relations During Times of Crisis

 In my opinion crisis management is a major/important part of public relations. You never know what could go wrong and when something does you need to know how to handle it. During lecture in my PR Application’s class today “crisis” was specifically defined as “a nonroutine event that risks undesired visibility that in turn threatens significant reputational damage.” Crisis is inevitable, it’s how it’s handled that is going to make it or break it.

4 Types of Crisis

                Meteor

                                Out of no where

                Predator

                                I person specifically tries to create problems/hurt image

                Breakdown

                                A person doesn’t do something that could have/should have

                Lingering

                                Reputation/Idea that stays with you organization, even if it’s happened years ago.

 Many things can spark a crisis. It is important to plan ahead and be prepared for when a crisis occurs.

A crisis communication kit is an important necessity for when a crisis hits. A Crisis kit often includes:

  • List of member on the crisis management team
  • Contact information of key officers, spokespersons, etc.
  • Fact sheets of the company- specifics are good
  • Profiles and biographies for key people within company
  • Copies of your company, division and product logos, your press release format and the scanned in signature of your CEO on disk
  • Pre-written scripts answering key questions
  • Contact information for each of your key media contacts both locally, nationally, etc.

Being prepared is vital and having a crisis kit is just one of the many things that companies/organizations should do and have to be ready to handle any crisis, big or small.

And make sure to remember the 3 Rs of Communication within a crisis

                Research

                Response

                Recovery

 To see the lecture and find out more about crisis communication click here.

 And to make the idea of crisis more real here is a video:

Coming Up PR Podcast

9 Nov

T.O.W. 11-2322/ T.O.W. 12-4333

                  Recently I spent some time listening to the Coming Up PR podcast on ITunes. Coming Up PR is a podcast hosted by Mary Attard, Mike Kerr, and Cheryl Brean based out of Canada. According to their blog “Coming Up PR is a podcast designed by three Corporate Communications post-graduate students in Toronto.” Coming Up PR is a bi-weekly show that “identifies and discusses trends in communication.” 

            One podcast I would like to highlight is episode #11. In this Episode Mary, Mike, and Cheryl discuss everything from internship experiences, twitter gadgets, and social media. While listening to the podcast I heard about Twitter Sheep and Klout for the first time. Both are sites connected to Twitter that show who is interested in what and who is having the most influence/interaction on Twitter. I really like Twitter so it was nice to know about two more features that add on to what the site has to offer. I found the Klout score of my teacher, Barbara Nixon, and she had a Klout score of 37. She was also in the 70th percentile. It was pretty cool to see in a somewhat tangible way the amount of influence that different people have on Twitter. It is important to know and helps marketers and communicators figure out who they should have “on their side.” Ha.

            I also enjoyed the discussion and feedback on the use of Social Media by agencies and organizations. I’m very interested in social media and I personally believe that, if used correctly, it can be beneficial for organization. I seem to be hearing more and more that companies, agencies, etc. are hesitant about embracing the social media world. Like one of the hosts said I guess it just “takes time.”

            The podcast closed with some “back to school” advice. I appreciated the comment of “treat it like your job” and “attend networking events” I think both of these statements are great advice for a PR student looking to get involved in the communications/PR industry.

Interview with Martin Waxman

28 Oct

Topic of the Week (10) – COMM 2322

 This week for my Topic of the Week assignment I had the satisfaction I watching Barbara Nixon’s interview with Martin Waxman, the president and co-founder of Palette Public Relations Inc.

  1. What did I learn from the Interview?

I learned a variety of new things while listening to the interview. One thing I found interesting was how Waxman discussed the roles of educators and technology. Waxman discussed that professors need to take advantage of social networking to allow their students to contact them more proficiently.  He pointed out that in the past students contacted the teacher through phone or e-mail. Now however, there are more and more instances of students being able to access their teachers quickly and at various times during the day. All thanks for social networking.

  1. What surprised me?

 I was kind of surprised by Waxman’s thoughts on social media skills in an intern or possible future employee. He stated that it is important for them to have a “great understanding of tradition media interaction.” Waxman stated that it was more important for a person to understand the methods of communication rather than use one/have one themselves. With all due respect I find that a little contradicting. How are you supposed to completely understand the uses and effects of media interaction if you are not participating in them yourself? How is a person supposed to completely understand Twitter if they don’t use/have one? I mean I guess it’s possible, just a little unpractical. I would rather have an intern/ employee that understands the traditional communication strategies but is also involved in social networking and technologies.

  1. I want to know more.

I liked learning about how they record their podcast. I think it is cool that they work together, and talk to one another all the time but that the participants in the podcast scarcely see each other in person. I think this is just an example of how technology has changed the working world. I think it is impressive that we have all these different channels to connect from our very own home or office.

 Once again thank you Martin Waxman for your insight for our class!

 If you want to watch the interview click HERE.

Beyond the Inverted Pyramid: Creating Alternative Story Forms

18 Oct

            For a NewsU Course I my choice I decided take the Beyond the Inverted Pyramid: Creating Alternative Story Form self-guided course. I think this course would be beneficial for any journalist or blogger. The course took me through the concept of ASFs or Alternative Story Forms. ASFs are a part of a movement to make news more accessible and attention grabbing. ASFs are formats that are pulling away from the traditional journalistic inverted pyramid and are trying to save readers time but contain proper details and context. ASFs include things like, checklists, timelines, calendars, games, Q&As, and other creative presentations that allow readers to quickly scan and obtain the information they want. The course claims that research shows that “ASFs get more attention from readers and readers recall more information.” I know that I personally prefer the ASF formats. They are clear, crisp, creative, and different.

            I think ASFs are a valuable concept for writers and bloggers trying to reach today’s fast-pasted consumers. In a way I think the ASFs are playing a role in trying to save the newspaper in its competition with the quickly informative Internet. I think ASFs are fun and present stories in a clear and attention grabbing way. Unlike the inverted pyramid format ASFs can be chosen to compliment the story and the best way of conveying the information.

            I would recommend this course to my other peers interested in journalism, blogging, and writing for media. I learned a lot about different ASFs and how stories can become alive and better presented outside of the inverted pyramid. After this course I feel like the inverted pyramid format is important, but compared to the ASFs I learned about in this course, it’s kind of boring. I encourage others to try this course for themselves. It’s free and adds so much stylistic knowledge into the concepts of collaboration and finalization to a story.  

If you are interested in taking this course click here.

Online Media Law

9 Oct

Topic of the Week (8) COMM 2322

Reaction to NewsU Course: Online Media Law: The Basics for Bloggers and Other Publishers

What did you learn?

            During this course I learned a lot about defamation, copyright infringement, and invasion of privacy. Before this course I couldn’t have told you much about the latter 3 online media laws. In online journalism and blogging it is important to know what is classified as legal and illegal to avoid lawsuits in your writing. It was a good reminder that freedom of expression is not absolute. I learned a lot about the laws that are related to gathering and publishing information online. It was beneficial to “play the judge” and see specific cases. The course allowed me to practice my knowledge with deciding which real life situations I thought were legal or not.

What surprised you?

            After taking this course I think that the line between legal and illegal can be pretty “blurry” in some situations. After taking this course I think it is better to be “safe than sorry”. If you are not sure about publishing something you should probably hold off on publication and get an outside opinion from a pro. It’s important to give credit for material and not “cross the lines” when it comes to other people’s privacy and rights.

What do you want to know more about?

            Legal specifics have never been my strong point. I’ve never taken a law class of anytime so outside of the general legal knowledge I don’t have much. I feel that I don’t know enough yet about online publication such as blogging. I really enjoy blogging but I need to educate myself on the legal issues that bloggers often face. I am taking Communication Law next semester and I know I hope to learn a lot more about the legal situation that come with journalism and public relations.

Student Resume and Interview Advice

9 Oct

Topic of the Week (7)- COMM 2322

Here is some advice for a student who is working on a resume:

  1. Keep your resume to one page.-Important to grab attention on first page.  
  2. Choose the most effective format- chronological, functional, combination.
  3. Target a position you are qualified for.
  4. Highlight important information on the resume-bolditalics, size. But don’t overdo it.
  5. Be specific
  6. Be correct in your grammar and spelling.

 Going into the interview process:

  1. Know the company: history, goals.
  2. Listen carefully to the interview questions
  3. Dress appropriately. Professionally is important, try to dress like the staff does during work.
  4. Answer all the questions
  5. Prepare yourself ahead of time for the questions you think might come up
  6. If they give you the opportunity to ask questions ask some-esp about the company
  7. Show interest and be interesting

Check out these other sites to help your resume/interview experience:  

          Common Errors in Resumes and Cover Letters-Barbara Nixon

           Interview Tips– careerbuilder.com

            Advice for the PR Grad- Interview Tips-prchannel