The Evolution of Press Releases

April 26, 2011 at 11:52 pm (Comm 4333 Topics of the week)

What is so great about a social media news release?
A social media news release is a tool to help the journalist to sift through the “fluff” that Public Relations professionals like to doctor up their press releases with, and find the hard facts so they might use the data. The value of the social media news release is naturally increasing in value because many professionals are beginning to take a look at capabilities and the results that they develop.(Information was taken from this webinar) Great thing about this, is that it cuts the work in half for those who choose to cover your story. What is good for them is certainly good for you.

The biggest disadvantage of using the internet for news releases, is that not all of your targeted audience is internet savvy, and if they are, then they might not prefer to read their news online.(quality press releaser) This is a shame considering how effective social media press releases have been. It is important to evaluate your market and cater to their needs.
The information you include in a news release about your organization is not meant to be a detailed narrative that paints a picture for the journalists. We all know that the number one complaint from journalists is a bunch of persuasive writing in press releases. It’s the journalists’ job to spin the information in whatever way fits in their story, not PR professionals.
I would like to identify the main goal of a social media news release is the same of a normal press release, with an addition of broadcasting the content to the social media scene in an effort to reach out to the new wave of tech savvy audience. It’s important to imbed content onto blog posts and to link to pages with more information about your topic. This is the best way to use all your information to craft the perfect story for your target audience.

Tag away!

(Taken from the infamous Die! Press Release! Die! Die! Die!)
Help out the reporter to gather more information about your topic than given in one particular news release and tag like crazy in your news release. Tag recent share price, founders, first quarter revenues, analyst quotes etc.  The great thing about tagging information is that there is no way for a PR professional to spin the story because they are tagging pure facts about the topic. This is one reason why journalists and bloggers are more apt to cover your story. When we quit trying to sell our idea, they’ll actually pay attention (when done right).

Have a try at it

Here are a few tips on how to create your own social media news release.

  • You want to give your audience the ability to click on your links to get more information, be able to watch useful videos, have access to extra contact information in the boilerplate, click on external media links, subscribe to the RSS feed etc. Have this information in the news release to cover all your bases.
  •  Offer a “Sphere It” link. Sphere offers readers a chance to look at related news from the blogosphere and mainstream news sources. (taken from this website)
  • There are many names for the social media news release including media press release, social media release etc. Instead of trying to appeal to a journalist to get your content covered, the social media news releases are geared toward journalists, bloggers, podcasters and most importantly consumers. Your content needs to make sense to all of them. (This information was very helpful taken from this website)
  • There is a lot of room for change in the template for the social media news release. There is no guideline that things need to be in any particular order, format, color scheme etc. However there are some suggestions such as using bullet points to help to quickly identify main information, or using pictures to give your readers an idea of what you are portraying.
  • Also, be very careful about what you put out there. A great idea could backfire and turn into negative publicity because you may have misrepresented yourself. Make sure to read your audience very well and reposition your content so that it appeals to the greater public.
If you need help try this template, or this template. To create your own social media news release visit pitchengine or realwire. You’ll find ways to distribute all your interesting information through these two websites. It’s great to link, but whenever possible just embed images and videos on the social media news release. Use your best judgement on overcrowding.
If you would like to check out one of Apple inc. social media news releases check out this link.

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Information Overload

April 15, 2011 at 8:43 pm (Comm 2322 Topics of the Week)

Phew!! What a whirlwind of a semester! I bet we can all agree that we are happy to see the summer months in reach as we finish up our last few classes this month. I have learned so much that I can’t possibly list a “top 10″ of what I learned this semester, however I’ll do my best to cram everything in one last blog post for the spring of 2011. I learned,

  1. How to write a Press release
  2. That you truly need to be careful about what you blog about because the rest of the world can read these posts as well (not just our class)
  3. Organization skills are impossible to live without as a PR professional( and PR student for that matter)
  4. Writing is your new best friend. There is no way you will survive in this field if you do not gain strength in your writing skills.
  5. Have an AP stylebook on you at all times. Is it tee shirt, T-shirt, t-shirt? Well, that’s what the book is for.
  6. Networking is essential! Start while you are a student. Most PR professionals will connect with you while you are still learning. The more experienced in the field, the harder it is.
  7. Stay up to date with all types of social media. This includes but is not limited to: Twitter, twitter chat, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, Facebook, Myspace, etc. etc. etc.
  8. You must be able to multitask. There will be many jobs for you to accomplish, as well as many more opportunities presenting themselves along the way. Prioritizing is important when picking and choosing the right tasks.
  9. Public Relations is a fast paced career. You’ll have to think quickly on your feet and hope for the best. Great ideas and experience is what makes a great PR professional.
  10. Most of all, love what you do. Have a passion for people and for what you do. This is incredibly important when pitching an idea. If you don’t love it, then who will?

Public Relations is a growing field, and PR firms and departments are always looking for bright and talented newbies to liven up their staff. I plan to implement these skills toward a great future in Public Relations.

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Having fun with advertising.

April 13, 2011 at 9:25 pm (Comm 2322 PR Connections, Comm 4333 PR connections)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are many ways to spread the word about your product or service. Advertising is one of the most fun ways that attracts viewers and allows them to remember you just. The trick is to be memorable in a favorable way. I know that many people say that bad publicity is good publicity, however when you are advertising your product or service, you want it to always have a good reputation and spark a fond memory of whatever you are trying to sell.

Start by thinking outside the box. Don’t think of what has worked in the past, and slightly alter that idea into something “new and totally reinvented”. Go further and come up with something completely new. Have fun with this idea. Don’t be crude or insulting, however don’t have a “safe zone” so that your possibilities are endless. Don’t throw a single idea away. Brainstorm like crazy, and truly scour any lead.

Advertisers are looking for key as exposures that include elevators where important decisions and purchases are made before or after work. This has an impact on unsuspected consumers who are subliminally receiving a message without knowing it.

I found this website on stumbleupon and I fell in love with it!  The creativity within the minds of the PR and marketing professionals is astounding. This is the type of advertising that really catches people’s attention and marinates. It can’t hurt to take a look. Enjoy!

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Beware of mobs…..

April 12, 2011 at 3:13 pm (Comm 2322 PR Connections, Comm 4333 PR connections)

Flash mobs that is.

Flash mobs are becoming more and more common as we find how impacting they are on an audience.

PR  and marketing professionals are taking advantage of these occurrences which can be identified as is a large group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform an unusual and sometimes pointless act for a brief time, then quickly disperse. These are fun, surprising, and innocent ways of promoting a product or making a point. Flash mobs create a lot of buzz, especially when done on college campuses.

Several flash mobs that many are aware of include the T-mobile flash mob in the London railway station, the 1,000 person Glee flash mob in Seattle, or the American Airlines flash mob with the link to the video here.

This is a great marketing tool, and although some may snuff at the idea of a flash mob as if it was sooooo 2008, flash mobs are still a rarity in smaller cities and just as effective as any billboard with an advertisement.

One flash mob that I absolutely loved is the recycling flash mob in Canada. Although there is no known organization behind the flash mob, the cause is very clear and powerful. Check out this video.

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Go from 0 to 100 overnight!

April 11, 2011 at 1:13 pm (Comm 2322 PR Connections, Comm 4333 PR connections)

Image Credit: StumbleUpon

Business need to keep this in mind when they are in a pickle with trying to attract new viewers on their websites. PR daily.com had an article recently on three important social media sites that businesses should take full advantage of.

Linked in, YouTube were among the list of important sites because of their huge number of users and unique ability to attract an array of consumers .

My favorite however, is StumbleUpon. I have been using StumbleUpon for about 2 years now, and when I mean using, I mean addicted. This website is simply the most entertaining website to everyone in their own way because the whole concept is to “Stumble” upon all of the things that interest an individual person most. If you are into golf, classical music, cooking, sewing, and movies then the only websites that StumbleUpon will take you to are those related to golf, classical music, cooking, sewing, and movies.

So, when businesses want to really get their name out there, they’ll come up with a great website so that it will be submitted to StumbleUpon, and then all of a sudden fellow stumblers will come upon your website, thus increasing the traffic to the website tremendously overnight!

This is the ultimate marketing tool because stumblers are actually interested in your field. This is why businesses need to have a kick-butt website that is appealing.

Check out the article and many other interesting PR related news at PRdaily.

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How would you handle this crisis?

April 11, 2011 at 10:30 am (Comm 2322 PR Connections, Comm 4333 PR connections)

Friday (April 8 at around 4:30 pm) a 15 month old toddler was served alcohol at a Michigan Applebees. The child’s cup was full of alcoholic margarita mix which was confused with apple juice. Although this incident appears to be an accident, Applebees is saying this is “unacceptable” and is promising to work with local authorities.

The child could have died if he consumed any more. The child’s blood alcohol level was at .10. The mother began to realize her son was acting strange, and alerted a manager when she tasted her son’s “apple juice”.

There is no word yet on the legal action that will be taken.

Imagine  you are the PR representative working on behalf of Applebees. What action would you take to make sure this never happens again? How would you work with the family, to come to an agreement on what the right actions are to take?  Who should be fired for this accident? The server, the bartender  the manager?

This is unfortunate incident and the little boy is okay, but what happens next? I would not be prepared to handle a disaster like this, and this crisis brings up a great time to discuss what do do in a crisis situation.

Check out this link to dive into the right steps a PR professional needs to take when handling a crisis like this. Public Relations During Times Of Crisis

And to view more presentations from Barbara Nixon click on these links.

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Monkey see…monkey do

April 10, 2011 at 5:19 pm (Comm 2322 PR Connections, Comm 4333 PR connections)

Children always copy what their parents do. It may be the way parents walk, talk, laugh, work, play, interact, eat, etc. Kids continuously walk in the footsteps of their parents from a very early age.

This is why social media is becoming a huge concern to parents. Children are more than ever wandering online and into some entertainment avenues that are potentially harmful to the children if not monitored. Some parents are just not in the loop. Either they are ignoring the obvious facts of overuse of social media, or they truly do not understand how addicting it can be when children are not old enough to understand the significant effect of social media as entertainment.

www.commonsensemedia.org is a website dedicated to informing parents of what their children are paying attention to, and whether or not this is a good choice for their family. “Common Sense Media is dedicated to improving the lives of kids and families by providing the trustworthy,” information, education, and independent voice they need to thrive in a world of media and technology.(taken from mission statement)

The organization was brought to my attention when viewing a commercial on Hulu. I found this to be a great marketing tool for the organization, which deals with limiting the social media exposure to children.

As a side note, the organization  is hiring PR and marketing professionals. I think it would be an excellent company to work for that was founded upon the wellbeing of humanity.

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Extra Extra! Read all about how to write a terrific press release.

April 9, 2011 at 9:37 pm (Comm 2322 Topics of the Week)

There are many ways to entice a reader to want your client’s product or service. Press releases come in pretty handy when selling an idea, but it takes practice. The obvious skills of persuasive and descriptive writing are important to tell a story, however there are 10 more skills that I would like to share in order to effectively write a press release.

  1. Make sure the first 10 words of the press release are effective. These are the most important -(taken from this website)
  2. Always write in third person (taken from this website)
  3. (For the love of God) Be concise and grammatically correct (taken from this website)
  4. Do not publicize an event that happen a few weeks ago. News is NEW!  (taken from this website)
  5. Write a strong headline. Try witty, spicy, daring, funny, or tastefully controversial. (taken from this website)
  6. Talk about the impact of this news on your company, location, employees, community or industry. (taken from this website)
  7. Keep the press release short and sweet by eliminating the fluff and hype words. (taken from this website)
  8. Use key words (not buzz words) at the beginning of the first paragraph.This makes your release search engine friendly. (taken from this website)
  9. If you have a small business that you are attempting to gain press for, try making major news stories a local spin. (taken from this website)
  10. Lastly, make sure that your release does not sound like a thinly veiled advertisement. You are writing to inform after all. “This will only get you a ticket to the trash” as this writer says it (on this website)

If you stick to these general rules, chances are you’ll knock the socks off of your audience. The goal is to hook, line, and then sink the readers to loving your product, or feeling informed on what is going on with your client.

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The faster you drive…the quicker you get there

April 9, 2011 at 8:14 pm (Comm 2322 PR Connections, Comm 4333 PR connections)

This video is a report on how Texas is increasing their speed limit to 85 miles per hour. Check out this video

I wanted to point out the fact at the end of the video. Assume that each 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying an additional $0.24 per gallon of gas. I don’t know about you, but in this economy I know that gas really adds up especially on long distance drives on a highway. Now imagine going 85 mph  instead of the posted 70 mph that Florida regulates.

This also frightens me because I know that I drive alert and in control, but I do not trust other drivers to be like me. Safety is my number one concern on the road, (maybe because I drive a semi fuel-efficient compact car) and I have nightmares about being squashed by some big oil rigger or monster truck failing to break behind me.

If I lived in Texas, I would be thinking about hightailing it out of there with the rising insurance costs and the pressure to actually go 85 mph. Everyone knows that those few who go well under the speed limit cause danger to those who are flying by you. Ultimately, the cost of driving a vehicle is skyrocketing in this state, and its the scary truth of pretending as if we are all race car drivers.

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Interviews turn…..virtual?

April 9, 2011 at 8:00 pm (Comm 2322 PR Connections, Comm 4333 PR connections)

Photo credit: Skype

I stumbled across an interesting article of 10 tips on how to conduct yourself during a virtual interview. I’m not completely familiar with virtual interviewing techniques, and I found this to be interesting. I would agree with most of the tips, like how to set the room lighting, and practicing a mock interview before actually going through with the interview.

One tip that caught my eye and I don’t know if I particularly agree with is the tip on looking into the camera instead of looking at the screen in which the interviewer appears. This may seem like it makes the interviewer feel as if you have better communication skills because you are giving them “eye contact”, but it’s obvious that the interviewer is not your camera.

In all, this is an awkward situation. I don’t think that it is completely necessary to look into the camera to prove that you are a good candidate for the position, but then again what do I know? I have never even heard of anyone having a virtual interview before.

Most people who use virtual chats with their friends and family are used to the speaker to be looking off in a direction other than the camera. I feel like it has just become normal to not have complete eye contact. Body language and social skills are much harder to read virtually, thus making eye contact with an interviewer forced and distracting.

Check out this article with other tips on how to improve your virtual interviewing skills.

What do you think? Is it more important to stare into the camera, or the computer screen?

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