PR Writing Post 5

Using the three pronged approach what did you learn from this weeks chapter, Writing the News Release?

  • What did you learn?
  • What surprised you?
  • What do you want to know more about?

  One thought on “PR Writing Post 5

  1. February 11, 2014 at 11:13 pm

    In this chapter, I learned about the basic layout of a news release. I’ve seen plenty of news releases, but I never paid attention to how uniform they are. All of the relevant information is located in the same basic part of the release. It makes it easy for the journalist to skim and find all of the information they need to determine if they’re going to devote more time to it. This’ll come in handy when they get a bunch one morning. They’ll automatically pay attention the one that’s sharp, quick and easy to read.

    I was surprised by how much thought PR practitioners put into their releases. When it comes to generating newsworthiness and an angle, I thought it was all the journalist’s doing. In some cases, I’m sure it is, but the book describes the bulk of the press release as being the who, what, when, where, why and how’s of the journalist’s story. I’m sure not all releases include so much more information, but the ones that do are the ones that the PR practitioner makes sure to follow up on. It’s also really considerate that the PR practitioner includes contacts. Sometimes that’s the toughest part of a journalist’s job, trying to figure out who to talk to and how to do it. It’s nice that that part can be cut out, making their job easier.

    What I’d like to learn more about is how much detail to go into in a news release. It’s the journalist’s job to take these releases and turn them into a story, so how much should the PR practitioner say in the release? We want to make sure we give the writer enough information, but we want to leave them room to do some of their own writing as well. It seems like a pretty fine line that’s easy to cross, so how do we know when enough information is enough?

    • February 12, 2014 at 9:29 pm

      You bring up a good point Carmen. I am one that tends to want to give every detail when I write. Almost as a fiction writer has to describe. I have been able to move away from that by writing drafts and revising down in order to get to the space requirement. Knowing what is important beyond just the key information and point of the release would be good for me to know so I am not spending time revising as much. It is easy for me to take the who, what, when, where and why and make it so detailed that the information ends up being twice as long as needed.

    • February 12, 2014 at 10:38 pm

      Carmen,

      I agree, the effort that PR practitioners put into a news release is surprising. Not only do they have to create a piece of writing from a journalist’s perspective, but they also have to support it as a PR practitioner, making sure that they’re well-informed about the topic, readily available (at the journalist’s convenience) to discuss it, and that they create a relationship with that journalist by following up with them.
      So far we’ve learned that most of the press releases generated by PR practitioners and submitted to journalists or media outlets are issued verbatim, so in response to your question, I think the most important things to remember would be your objectives and key messages for the audience, the structure of the news release and it’s newsworthiness. I don’t think we necessarily want to leave room for the journalist to do their own writing because we don’t want our message to get altered, which is why we contact them often to offer more details or further explanation to ensure the correct information will be released. I think that as long as we create a news release that is tailored to our audience and that includes relative, newsworthy, and credibly information that conveys our key messages, then that’s enough.

      -Lauren

      • February 13, 2014 at 12:49 am

        Lauren,

        For some strange reason, I can never get over the fact that the majority of press releases are, as you said, issued verbatim. I always viewed journalism as a very original form of writing. However, I think that the more important thing to recognize is the importance of clarity and conciseness in our writing as PR professionals. I think about all the gatekeepers a story has to go through before it is actually published—the journalist and possibly multiple editors—and it really stresses the importance of being able to quickly and effectively communicate with the reader.

        I also agree with you when it comes to conveying key messages through news values. If a news release we write isn’t newsworthy, a journalist is going to scrap it anyway. This makes me refer to the conversation we had in class when we talked about writing press releases that we know won’t be read even once through. Newsworthiness, credibility, and being relatable to your audience—whether that is a public or a journalist—are things that should not be ignored if we truly want publicity.

        -Lydia

    • February 14, 2014 at 1:51 pm

      Carmen,

      I was also interested to learn how structured the News Release is as well. I also think it is hard sometimes too to decide “when enough information is enough.” I think that is where having different “angles” to your story comes in like Shannon Cherry was talking about during our Skype session. Only give the important information and then try three more times with different angles after that.

  2. February 12, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    This chapter was very insightful. It gave a lot of tips about what makes a release good, bad, and I had no clue that there was a formula to writing a release. I learned about subheads. I’ve never really paid attention to anything besides the headline, but I do see how a subhead could be helpful to a journalist. The most interesting thing I read about had to be the search engine optimization concept. I think it’s really interesting to choose words based on how often they’re searched for on the internet. It does explain why you can end up with search results for businesses and products when you were just looking for a simple definition. I

    I was surprised by a few things in the chapter. I knew that we wrote the date differently in America, but I didn’t think about how much confusion that could cause. We talked about the difference in my Spanish class, but it’s different when the way you write the date could throw off when someone is confused about why you’re sending them a press release so early. I was also surprised that there were different kinds of leads. I have this notion that PR professionals and journalists just write and it’s amazing without using any kind of guidelines. That makes no sense, but the creative writer in me makes not agreeing with this idea a little difficult. The three lead types is a very helpful tool because I know that I was struggling with how to write the lead for our writing assignment this week.

    I would love to learn more about multimedia news releases and search engine optimization. The books description of social media releases overwhelmed me for some reason and I only hope it’s not that difficult. The SEO tools were just really interesting to read about and I think it would be a great learning experience to actually use some of the tools they talked about in the book.

    • February 12, 2014 at 9:23 pm

      I don’t recall what class in my educational journey but at one point I was taught that anything I write should have key words. I am someone who grew up books and news papers with the internet coming along in my adult life. I am still amazed how much the internet has changed just about everything in life. At one time I could just sit down and write, now I have to take into account more than just the thought. I have to use terms that will be favored by search engines, formats that will look good in social media and even compress my thought down to 120 characters.

      I too would like to know more and become more skilled at the use of key words for search engines. I see it as a double edged sword. I have to write differently but in doing so my work has the potential to be seen my many more than if I did not use the tactic.

      • February 13, 2014 at 12:27 am

        I don’t ever recall being taught about keywords. I do remember being told to keep it simple and keywords are usually widely known. (I guess I learned about keywords?) I do find it really interesting that once you realize there are these keywords, you think about how often you use them. I use keywords a lot when I’m searching for something and if it isn’t on that first page of results I will quit so I think it’s definitely important to have enough keywords to get on that first results page.
        Speaking of seeing it as a double edged sword, I just experienced SEO like no other. I was looking for definitions and answers to some questions I had, but all I got were businesses and news articles that really had very little to do with what I was looking for. SEO can be a dangerous thing.

    • February 12, 2014 at 10:24 pm

      I am glad that someone else was interested in the SEO. I can see it being a very important part of making sure a release becomes published based on the words that are used to describe it. I think that as PR professionals we really have to be innovative and trendy. I don’t want to say that we must “spin” things because of the negative connotation but we must stand out if we want our organizations to succeed. Everything we have learned so far builds on one another and my checklists are getting pretty long. I think the main thing I am taking home from the course is that to be successful in PR I must be an excellent writer. Even a mediocre is far from acceptable.

      • February 13, 2014 at 12:31 am

        I feel like my checklist is pretty overwhelming, it probably doesn’t help that it’s in my head. At the top of that checklist in big bold letters is “Be a great writer.” and I think this class will be extremely helpful in making me a great writer. Along with being a great writer is being good at finding information. Research is really important in our field and I think the SEO tools, make doing research a little easier because you can figure which words are going to make your release more visible to the public.

    • February 14, 2014 at 1:55 pm

      Danita,

      I thought that is was interesting about the date as well. It never occurred to me until reading the chapter in the book that the date could be confusing. However, I do think that just simply being aware of who you are writing the release can help that. As Shannon Cherry said in our Skype session, simply call the journalists and ask them how they want their news release to be written. I think that also if a person from a different country is living here that they should be able to figure it out if they are practicing PR here and need to be familiar with how things are done.

  3. February 12, 2014 at 9:15 pm

    I enjoyed this chapter. Learning the professional layout of a press release is something I will use immediately in my personal life. Having an overview of the format in the introduction to public relations class was great but getting deeper into it was something I looked forward to.

    It is not something I was surprised to find from the chapter but in my own research of how to write a press release. Previously when I was tasked with writing a news release I searched out information on the internet. The instructions I found available are very different from the format taught in the chapter.

    I have also seen many press releases in my time working in radio and briefly with the newspaper at Washtenaw. The thing I take note of looking back is how many different styles I saw and what ones stood out to me. I agree with Gina about the headline and first few sentences needing to be to the point. Those that kept my attention where the only ones I ever took a second look at.

    I would like to know more about when it is appropriate to issue a press release. In my mind I would be issuing a release to targeted media any time the organization I was working with did anything of note big or small. I would not flood all media but target those who the message fit. Is there a point of putting out too much information to the media?

    • February 13, 2014 at 12:33 am

      Ben,

      I think that goes along the lines of shotgun distribution that we talked about in the chapter about working with journalists and the social press. Press releases take time and energy to produce because they are designed to generate interest. It seems pretty logical to say that it would be a waste of energy to pitch a story or send a release to someone that you know is going to have no interest whatsoever in what the organization is doing.

      We haven’t talked much about radio at all, as it’s often recognized as a tertiary level medium. I love radio and have taken courses that focus on radio news and adapting a news story into a radio short, but we never focused on the original release. I wanted to ask you, how did the adaptation of the press release for radio differ from the way it was used in the written media?

      -Lydia

    • February 13, 2014 at 5:44 pm

      I think there are a lot of different ways to write a press release and the book just gives the more common way. When Shannon Cherry was talking about how she writes a press release, it was different from what the book and Gina said we should do. I do think changes in the way you write your press releases is going to change based on what kind of organization you’re working for or if you see that other PR practitioners working for similar organizations write theirs differently.

      • February 18, 2014 at 1:43 am

        The way a press release is written is also highly dependent on what the release is about. If you’re writing a press release about a CEO addressing a serious matter with his company, it would be a lot more professional and extensive than a fluff piece about a publicity stunt that a company is holding. The journalist would have a lot more freedom with the fluff piece because it wouldn’t be as imperative to include so much information.

  4. February 12, 2014 at 10:09 pm

    I think news releases are a significant part of public relations because they help practitioners achieve their goals and clients’ objectives, especially because they provide credible information and advertisement to their audiences. I like how the chapter discusses how to create a news release in a way that favors journalistic writing styles and writing for public relations (think like a journalist!). The news release can still present information objectively and in correct newspaper/broadcast style, but it must also be carefully crafted to include key messages, which is why planning is the major difference between the two types of writing.

    The number of news releases that are generated and sent to media outlets and reporters everyday is unbelievable, and it’s a little discouraging to realize that the majority (55 to 97 percent) of them are never used. If that doesn’t say “competitive,” I don’t know what does!

    The different types of leads were a new aspect for me, and I thought it was interesting (and obvious, though I never considered it) that the type of lead depends on the subject of the news release. I like how the chapter offers tips for deciding whether or not a piece of a story is newsworthy, and how it emphasizes specific details about the news release format, like the number of characters, words, sentences and lines.

    The “Tips for Success: Rules for Writing a News Release” section on page 132 mentions using “creative and descriptive words that grab the reader’s attention,” but I thought the news release should avoid using clichés or “fluffy” words? It seems contradictory that the writing should creatively and colorfully focus on small specific details, but should also be written in a “simple” way that tells the news. Another guideline points out avoiding generic words and phrases like “world-class” and “leading provider” when demonstrating the company’s distinct product, while another guideline advises the writer to focus on the announcement’s affect to the industry instead of overtly promoting a product. I’m assuming that these suggestions would depend on the objective and key messages of the news release, but I’d like to learn more about including specific details and when those details would be appropriate.

    -Lauren

    • February 12, 2014 at 10:33 pm

      The statistic about Press Releases not being used almost sounds cut-throat! I was trying to think of why the percentage was so high. Mostly because I didn’t want to think that writing an effective press release would be something I never experience. 🙂 I remembered some things Gina said in class about organizations writing releases for everything, “Oh hey we promoted this guy, go write a press release.” I’m sure we will be forced to do this some day but I hope that I learn enough to make that the best promotion press release out there, even if it isn’t exactly “newsworthy.” Another reason I think comes down to poorly written press releases. Did we effectively tell our audience about what is going on? I hope that we never have that problem and I know I will always strive to be a part of that 45% and not dwell on that depressing statistic.

      Catherine

      • February 18, 2014 at 1:51 am

        I thought that the percentage of press releases that aren’t even picked up was shocking. It’s really discouraging to know that something you put so much effort into, gathering and writing the information, might hardly be glanced at before it’s deleted. That’s why it’s so important to make sure your lead is compelling, to make sure that all of the work you do doesn’t go to waste.

    • leahprodriguez
      February 12, 2014 at 10:42 pm

      Lauren,

      The “Tips for Success” is also confusing me. Does this only apply to a headline, or do they mean using descriptive words throughout the release? Using clichés would create a fluff piece; using simple words will help readers to understand better. News releases are a sure credible source, and provide information needed to promote the business client and get their point across. I go back to the last blog post about the relationship between journalists and PR practitioners. If we offer credible and reliable information, why would a journalist consider us an inconvenience? However, the statistic of how many news releases are actually chosen tells me I need to be more conscientious of what is considered newsworthy.

  5. February 12, 2014 at 10:15 pm

    When reading chapter five I was immediately surprised in the first paragraph. “55-95% of all news releases sent to media outlets are never used.” Wow, what a statistic. Even though so many articles come originate from PR efforts it is crazy to see that so many more fail to be effective and catch the attention of journalists.

    I really find it beneficial that the book mentions the importance of the audience and key messages in each chapter. I think the key to success for Public Relations writing is making sure we can answer the 5 W’s and So what? Who Cares? This constant reminder is excellent for me so I can really hone in on what is important and what isn’t. When writing my Press Release for Balcor I organized my thoughts and planned my key messages. That was a first for me and I found myself referring back to it as I wrote my release. I answered the 5 W’s and used the arrows Joy taught us in our workshop. I never knew planning could be so painless!

    The chapter also showed me a lot of ways to edit my work and make sure my lead paragraph is succinct and attention grabbing for journalists. I liked the different types of leads talked about in the text. Deciding what type of lead to use is also a helpful piece of advice to help me craft a good press release.
    I would love to know more about search engine optimization. I often get wrapped up in the key messages that I wouldn’t know how to also put key words into my releases that weren’t just fillers.

    Catherine

    • leahprodriguez
      February 12, 2014 at 10:33 pm

      Catherine,

      The 55-95% statistic is what stunned me as well. This makes me question how many news releases I send will actually be chosen. It goes without saying that we will be faced with a lot of rejection in our career, but we need to not let it cripple our need for success. The 5 W’s and So what? Is what will get journalists to use our releases because it will get them interested after reading the first paragraph? If we cant effectively get our key messages in our lead, it wont be worth reading. I too get wrapped up in my key messages and would like to find out ways to implement key words and eliminate fillers.

      -Leah

      • February 12, 2014 at 10:36 pm

        I couldn’t agree with you more Leah. We will be faced with rejection in our career and I think those opportunities are the best for us to grow as PR professionals and individuals. Everything circles around our 5W’s and So What, Who Cares? I think that if we are able to answer just those messages effectively and succinctly we will be in good shape. 🙂

        Catherine

    • February 13, 2014 at 12:49 am

      I was also surprised by some of the facts stated in the opening of the chapter. The one that shocked me was that an estimated 2,000 news releases a day go to a daily newspaper editor’s desk. This fact also ties into the statistic that you were shocked about. If a news paper editor is receiving 2,000 news releases a day and between 55 and 97 percent aren’t being used, that means your news release has to be REALLY impressive to even be considered. I can really understand the importance of following up after learning these facts. With so many news releases, and so many being ignored, I can see how it is definitely necessary to follow-up with a journalist in order to get a story.

      I also agree with your point that it is beneficial that the book stresses the importance of the audience and key messages. I think it is always important, as a PR professional, to be thinking about your audience all of the time. Because, in the end, that’s really who you’re working for.

  6. leahprodriguez
    February 12, 2014 at 10:58 pm

    What I valued most from chapter 5 was how to plan a news release. I liked how the book suggested a planning worksheet that would answer the 5 W’s, but specializing in the form of a press release. I never thought to ask myself “what do you want to achieve with the news release?” and “what goal is the organization pursuing?” these questions are important factors; however I hadn’t considered them before. I also learned that there is more than one type of lead; a straight summary lead, informal leads, and feature lead. I always assumed a lead was the same for every type of story, so it surprised me when, in an informal lead it provides factual information in a more informal way.

    The most surprising thing to me was “between 55 and 97 percent of all news releases sent to media outlets are never used” (Wilcox, 117). I understand journalists have different opinions on what they consider to be newsworthy, so it’s important to choose whom we’re sending our release out to in terms of relevance. This does raise an alarming question though, like how do I know whether or not something is going to be of value to a journalist? Also if one journalist turns us down, how long do we try pitching that story idea before we give up?

    Something I’d like to learn more about from this chapter is how to write a multimedia news release, specifically how to add high-resolution photos/graphics, video and audio components. I would also like to learn how to add links to be circulated through other sites. This will be beneficial considering the way social media has been taking off within the last 5 years.

    -Leah

    • February 13, 2014 at 12:59 am

      I agree with the question you brought up of, “how do I know whether or not something is going to be of value to a journalist?” Every journalist and every media outlet is going to be different, so it will be really hard to know what each one is looking for. It almost feels like you have to be a mind-reader to get your news release used! I also want to learn more about the multimedia news release. There are just so many components that I could see it getting very confusing. But, like you mentioned, I think the multimedia news release is very important due to the prevalence of social media, and our world just largely functioning and existing on the web.

      I also didn’t know that there were different styles of leads for a news release. I think this is a good thing because you can better tailor your news release to the journalist or publication that you are sending it to. If the publication isn’t super formal, or if the news release would be used as a feature story, an informal or feature lead might be more appropriate.

  7. February 13, 2014 at 12:24 am

    From this chapter I learned that there are many more formats to a press release than I originally thought. I didn’t realize that there were actually three different types of releases, each tailored to the medium that you intend to receive your release. Online press releases seem to be much more concise and are more appealing to the eye, whereas a print news release is strictly designed for informational purposes. I also didn’t know that there was a social media release that can include photos, videos, and links to other content. I always seem to see inverted pyramid style come up in some way. I’m really learning the importance of being able to put “the five W’s” within a lead and how key it is to attract your reader’s attention (especially if they are a journalist or social press writer) from the very beginning.

    I was surprised to find Google AdWords and other search engine optimization tools as such an integral part of generating publicity and making news releases accessible. Google seems to be at the forefront of this movement toward tailored searching. The External Keyword ad trends tools are excellent ways to make sure that your press release contains elements that are relevant to the target audience.

    I’d like to know more about how to effectively use search engine optimization techniques. I’ve never used AdWords or anything like it and I think it would be interesting to find out more about how it works. I’d also like to learn how to format a social media release. It seems like a much more creative undertaking!

    • February 13, 2014 at 12:45 am

      I think having the opportunity and actually being able to use SEO is a great thing. So many companies and organizations capitalize on it when others don’t. I think it would be really interesting to see how it all works.

      As PR students, we hear a lot about SEO and what it does for a webpage but I don’t think any of my classes dive deep into it. This should play a huge role in the multimedia press releases so it would be fun to learn at least the basics. To go along with the press release part, what components are even necessary for a social media release? I know it lists some that can be used like videos and pictures but how much more can you do? And is there ever a point where there is just too much?

      I wonder if that’s something Gina’s social media class with cover more in depth in the future.

  8. February 13, 2014 at 12:38 am

    I’ve only written a couple press releases and let me tell you, they have not been good. I really struggle with figuring the “So What, Who cares part”. I know why I would care but that doesn’t mean that others would care. I believe that comes with a lot of audience analysis and even simply reading more. If I read more then I’ll see how the new portrays that and maybe I’ll learn.

    I feel as though the chapter has taught me a ton of the basics. Until I get the hang of press releases, the chapter will be a nice thing to refer back to. It is something to make sure all of the little ducks are in a row.

    Nothing really surprised me about the chapter but I did find some things interesting. It’s really cool how a manufacturer of potato chip makers sold out after only parts of a press release were used in an article. It’s nice to know that the entire press release doesn’t have to be used and publicity can still be received.

    Even though I’ve heard it many times, it still blows my mind to know that some reporters publish releases verbatim or with little changes. If they truly cared about their content and even developing as better writer, maybe they would do more with a press release then minor changes. That does not say that all do it but if majority of the reporters do, then maybe there is a deeper issue to deal with.

    After reading this chapter, I still have some questions. I know that the press release remains really standard but why is that? If our society now is so hooked on originality and creativity then why has the press release formatted the same basically since its beginning?
    Another thing it the chapter mentioned that the use of 24/7 internet makes it so “For Immediate Release” is a bit meaningless. If that’s the case, then why are we still using it? Should we only use it to print and not for online or multimedia releases?

    I would also like to learn more about multimedia press releases. I feel like they take a great deal of time but in the end, it could be worth it for the technological generations.

    -Raven

    • February 13, 2014 at 2:07 am

      Raven,

      I am definitely going to refer back to this chapter too! News releases are my weak point and I am hoping to get better at them. This chapter is a great tool for the basics. I have a problem with what information to include, not to include, which part is most important, who cares, and well everything. I am always second guessing myself when we have to write news releases. This chapter is going to be a great help for me to get over my issues. It breaks down the basics which is something I needed.

      When writing down notes for the chapter the part about the potato peeler is something I highlighted. I too found it interesting that one news release could have such an impact on a company. I get discouraged when I see that it is so hard to get the journalists attention. It makes me feel better that it has worked for business in the past. I hope that someday I can say I did that much good for a company.

      -Sophia

  9. February 13, 2014 at 12:41 am

    The textbook outlined the values of news releases, and one thing I hadn’t thought about before was that they are a cost effective way to advertise. If your news release is used in a story then you are accomplishing the same thing you would have accomplished by advertising through paid ads. Also, as the book notes, you have credibility on your side when it comes to media coverage. Before reading this chapter, I also didn’t know about the different types of leads that can be used in news releases. I always thought that leads in news releases are supposed to be just factual and straight to-the-point, so it was interesting to learn that feature leads are acceptable in some situations.

    When I started reading Chapter 5, a fact from the first page immediately jumped out at me. The textbook says that Feature Photo Services estimates that daily newspaper editors receive about 2,000 news releases a day (p. 117). I think that estimate alone is telling of why it is so important that PR professionals need to be able to write well and also be able to make things newsworthy and applicable. In the discussion of online news releases, I was surprised to learn that the ideal length is 200 to 250 words. It makes sense, because people generally get disinterested if a piece of writing is too long, but it still seems like an awfully short amount of words to get a message across.

    I would like to learn more about effectively using SEO techniques. We work with SEO quite often at my job so I am interested in knowing how to get the best results with these techniques. I am also interested in learning about multimedia news releases, because I am unfamiliar with them. There are a lot of components to the multimedia news release and they are more complex than the other forms of news releases, so I would like to be more knowledgeable about them.

    • February 13, 2014 at 12:54 am

      I completely agree with the number of press releases jumping out at you. I was shocked that it’s so high but it makes sense. There are so many companies competing for attention so there will always be a ton of press releases flying around. That must be why our professors stress to make sure we have well written and newsworthy releases. PR is a hugely important component to the news stations and the lives of journalists but we aren’t useful if our press releases aren’t good.

      I think the majority of our classmates are interested in SEO techniques. It’s something very interesting that we don’t learn too much about. Where do you work that uses SEO often? I think it’s something that most places should utilize but I’m not sure if it’s very complex and makes it so small places don’t have the man power. I think even a little bit of SEO would be beneficial in the long run to most places

      • February 18, 2014 at 12:43 am

        i work at a nurse staffing agency and we just launched a new website and blog, so we’ve been really focused on SEO. It can be difficult to optimize for blog posts because sometimes you don’t know which keywords will be best and you also don’t want to be too broad.

    • February 13, 2014 at 1:59 am

      Chelsea,

      I am also interested in SEO techniques. This could make our job much easier and can be a vital tool we can use. It is crazy to me that we have the power to control other peoples search engines by using key words.

      Like most of the other students I also was surprised by the number of news releases that editors and journalists receive. You are right we are going to have to be able to write well and know what is news worthy. These seem like obvious things but I found when writing our news release and pitch email it was more difficult than I thought. I am hoping that we will get more exposure to writing news releases and pitch emails; if not in this class then hopefully in an internship. I would hate to not be prepared because I think it hurts your relationship with reporters.

      Like you I am interested in multimedia news releases. I think this is more important now than ever. I am not familiar with this and am intrigued on how to utilize this.

      -Sophia

      • February 18, 2014 at 12:45 am

        I agree that it hurts your relationship with reporters to not be prepared. From what we have talked about in class and what we have read, it seems like you pretty much get one chance to impress a reporter. That’s a lot of pressure and definitely nerve-wracking!

  10. February 13, 2014 at 1:48 am

    I was surprised to find that 55 to 97 percent of news releases sent to the media outlets are never used. I didn’t realize that this number was so high. The text goes on to say that newspaper editors receive about 2,000 news releases a day and that journalists receive several hundred. These are very large numbers that I was not expecting. My question would be after following all the traditional guide lines how do you separate your self and get your news release read by the right people. It seems that it is very competitive and with the strict guidelines that you need to follow it is hard to be unique. I would be worried that they wouldn’t even see my email because they get so many. I think that maybe a solution to this problem is to build a relationship with the journalists or editor so they know if they get something form you its worth reading. This is easier said than done of course.

    I like how in the text it says to stand out you must, “Hint: Pitch purple snowflakes” (Wilcox 120) This made me laugh because I know it is true. It will be hard to always find an interesting pitch to get reporters and bloggers to pay attention to your story.

    Another tip that the book gave that I liked was, “Press releases aren’t dead, but a poorly written news release is a waste of time for both the company and the reader.” (Wilcox 132) I want to remember this in my career. I want what I write to matter; I think this is important when building a relationship with journalist, bloggers, and editors.

    -Sophia

  11. February 14, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    I have heard about three different views now on writing the News Release. I am hoping by now that I will be able to have a good format and know how to write a good release. One thing that I did not know that was right in the beginning of the chapter is that the term “press release” is actually an old term. I found myself writing those words at the top of my page the other day and quickly changes it to news release because it just seemed more right. “Between 55 and 97 percent of all news releases sent to media are never used.” That is where the vital importance of following up comes in to play. What I learned in class was that you might as well not even write the release if you’re not going to follow up. This was very interesting to me because I had been taught in my previous Intro to PR class to not do so because it would annoy the journalists and reporters. I also learned tons during our Skype session with Shannon Cherry, who owns her own PR business for women. She really opened up my eyes a lot about the importance of building relationships with everyone and hard work. She explained to us that you must always follow up and sometimes just be a shoulder to lean on, and be a “real person.” Also to make sure to go out of your way to help others even if does not benefit you at the time because it will always pay off in the long run. So basically it’s safe to say that I learned much more from the single Skype session than reading the chapter alone. Which again I think is another point that Shannon was trying to make about having the internships and real life experience. I was able to learn more than a chapter in the book because it was a conversation with a real person talking about real life experience.

  12. February 20, 2014 at 9:05 am

    I think the most valuable thing I learned was everything on the “Tips for Success” about writing executive quotes. ‘Speaking’ for someone else can be really challenging and the tips make it a lot easier. I think the best tip is about avoiding “corporatese” and giving boring pedestrian quotes. Emphasising that editors will completely ignore it helps me understand how important it is to have a really good quote.

    It may sound odd, but I was surprised that people think the press release isnt a useful tool or isnt relevant anymore. To me, it’s ridiculously obvious how important and useful releases are, now more than ever. Like it says a bit later in the book, with smaller news rooms, there are a lot more press releases getting run. If you ask me, that makes for a very useful tool.

    I am very interested in the different ways that press releases are structured. They all have similar formatting, but the content varies so much. For instance, when we went through the new hire releases in class, they were all structured the same. When I wrote a release in Intro for a local newspaper it was completely different structurally. I think press releases have a relatively basic format, but every type has its own nuances.

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