Friday, June 30, 2006

A Great Press Release Can Really Get Your Business Noticed

Author: Alvin Apple

Getting a new business off the ground is a daunting prospect. There are so many things to consider: office space, equipment, personnel, and the all important advertising. Money is always tight in the beginning, and quite often by the time that last dollar is spent getting things up and running, the advertising budget just isn't there. Not to worry. There are many great ways of getting the word out about your business without spending a fortune. In particular, press releases have long been an effective way of letting the public know that your business exists.

Now a press release is not an ad, and any press release structured like an ad will be deleted in a second. The job of a press release is simply to alert the media to something newsworthy about your business. It's a bit like fishing. Whether or not the editor takes your bait depends on how you present your business, or even what kind of day the editor is having. In the end, it is entirely up to the individual editors whether or not they use your story.

When writing your press release, make it sound newsy. Don't start off with sales language. You can save the blatant commercial stuff for the end of the release. Choose something interesting about your business and create a headline. ""New Innovations in Gardening Produce Beautiful Crop of Strawberries,"" is much more likely to be read than, ""Johnson's Nursery Grand Opening Special: 50% off on Strawberries."" Get the picture?

After you've got a great headline, fill out your story with interesting facts about your business. Give a brief history of what led you to what you're doing now. Mention how the needs of the market are changing and how your business is a result of those changes. Try using quotes. Whatever you do, make it interesting, and stay away from blatant sales language or specific offers.

Once you've got your release written, submit it to as many media outlets as possible. You can find media databases and lists of editors all over the web. One that I've had particularly great luck with is Gebbie.com., try them, and also do a search to see what you can come up with on your own. Submit to all of your local papers, radio stations and TV stations as well. Too often people doing business online forget about local media, and sometimes they can be your biggest champions.

Linking your release to a popular story in the news can also get an editor's attention. If a specific topic is already on the tips of people's tongues, a related release is much more likely to be picked up. Media people tend to think that a typical audience can only stay interested in a few topics at a time, so if you can tie your story in to something that's already getting buzz you'll have a much better chance. If you don't get picked up right away, keep trying. What an editor ignores today may sound like a great story next month. Don't give up.

The time at which you submit your release is crucial as well. You will always have a better chance of being noticed if the editor receives your story before 3pm. Late afternoon is deadline ""crunch"" time for newspapers, past the prime news times of radio, and getting into last minute preparation time for TV news. Keep that in mind and don't get lost in the shuffle.

If you do it right, submitting a press release can be a great way of getting the word out about your business. There's money to be made out there if you just know how to do it.

About the author: Alvin Apple helps everyday people start businesses they will enjoy. Then he teaches them how to succeed. Read all his helpful strategies, including his latest article ""How to Use Signature Files to Give Your E-mail The Personal Touch That SELLS,"" at http://AlvinApple.com Reach Alvin at 801-328-9006 or alvin@drnunley.com.

PR Advice You Didn't Ask For

Author: Robert A. Kelly

PR Advice You Didn’t Ask For

Although, as a business, non-profit or association manager, you may be glad this came your way.

Especially if your current public relations effort is delivering more publicity plugs than real behavior change among your most important outside audiences. Change that could lead directly to achieving your managerial objectives.

I’m talking about persuading those key outside folks to your way of thinking, then moving them to take actions that help your department, division or subsidiary succeed.

There’s even a blueprint to help you do it. People act on their own perception of the facts before them, which leads to predictable behaviors about which something can be done. When we create, change or reinforce that opinion by reaching, persuading and moving-to-desired-action the very people whose behaviors affect the organization the most, the public relations mission is accomplished.

What kind of results can you expect? Consider these: membership applications on the rise; customers starting to make repeat purchases; fresh proposals for strategic alliances and joint ventures; community leaders beginning to seek you out; welcome bounces in show room visits; prospects starting to do business with you; higher employee retention rates, capital givers or specifying sources beginning to look your way, and even politicians and legislators starting to view you as a key member of the business, non-profit or association communities.

An obvious first step involves getting the public relations people assigned to your unit on board. Make certain the whole team buys into why it’s so important to know how your outside audiences perceive your operations, products or services. Be sure they accept the reality that perceptions almost always lead to behaviors that can hurt your unit.

Review how you plan to monitor and gather perceptions by questioning members of your most important outside audiences. Questions like these: how much do you know about our organization? Have you had prior contact with us and were you pleased with the interchange? How much do you know about our services or products and employees? Have you experienced problems with our people or procedures?

Since your PR people are in the perception and behavior business to begin with, they can be of real use for this opinion monitoring project. Professional survey firms are always available, but that can be a budget buster. Whether it’s your people or a survey firm who asks the questions, your objective is to identify untruths, false assumptions, unfounded rumors, inaccuracies, and misconceptions .

Then you must carefully select which of the above becomes your corrective public relations goal -- clarify the misconception, spike that rumor, correct the false assumption or fix certain other inaccuracies.

You can achieve your goal by picking the right strategy from the three choices available to you. Change existing perception, create perception where there may be none, or reinforce it. But be sure your new strategy fits comfortably with your new public relations goal.

But what will you say when you have the opportunity to address your key stakeholder audience to help persuade them to your way of thinking?

Select your best writer to prepare the message because s/he must put together some very special, corrective language. Words that are not only compelling, persuasive and believable, but clear and factual if they are to shift perception/opinion towards your point of view and lead to the behaviors you have in mind.

Happily, the next step is easy. You select communications tactics to carry your message to the attention of your target audience. Making certain that the tactics you select have a record of reaching folks like your audience members, you can pick from dozens that are available. From speeches, facility tours, emails and brochures to consumer briefings, media interviews, newsletters, personal meetings and many others.

Since how one communicates often affects the credibility of the message, you may wish to deliver it in small getogethers like meetings and presentations rather than through a higher- profile media announcement.

You’ll soon feel pressure for signs of progress. And that means a second perception monitoring session with members of your external audience. Employing many of the same questions used in the first benchmark session, you will now be watching carefully for signs that the offending perception is being altered in your direction.

Luckily, matters can be accelerated by adding more communications tactics as well as increasing their frequencies.

This workable public relations blueprint will help you persuade your most important outside stakeholders to your way of thinking, then move them to behave in a way that leads to the success of your department, division or subsidiary.

So, while you may not have asked for this public relations advice, I hope you will agree that the people you deal with behave like everyone else – they act upon their perceptions of the facts they hear about you and your operation. Leaving you little choice but to deal promptly and effectively with those perceptions by doing what is necessary to reach and move your key external audiences to action.

end

About the author: Bob Kelly counsels, writes and speaks to managers about using the fundamental premise of public relations to achieve their operating objectives. He has been DPR, Pepsi-Cola Co.; AGM-PR, Texaco Inc.; VP-PR, Olin Corp.; VP-PR, Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co.; director of communications, U.S. Department of the Interior, and deputy assistant press secretary, The White House. mailto:bobkelly@TNI.net Visit:http://www.prcommentary.com

Managers Who Spend PR $$ Wisely

Author: Robert A. Kelly

Managers Who Spend PR $$ Wisely

If you are a department, division or subsidiary manager, your budget is a precious possession whether you work for a business, a non-profit or an association. So why stand by while your public relations team spends too much time and treasure on tactics like press releases, column mentions and brochures? Especially when you could be using an aggressive PR blueprint to persuade your most important outside audiences to your way of thinking, then move them to take actions that lead to your success?

The good news is, that aggressive blueprint shines the PR spotlight directly on those outside groups of people who have a large say in how successful you’re going to be – namely, on your key external target audiences. It reads this way: people act on their own perception of the facts before them, which leads to predictable behaviors about which something can be done. When we create, change or reinforce that opinion by reaching, persuading and moving-to-desired-action the very people whose behaviors affect the organization the most, the public relations mission is accomplished.

Look at the kinds of behaviors that are possible using such a blueprint. A big jump up in capital contributions, increased membership queries, new prospects showing up, more current buying and even repeat purchases occurring, and even new proposals for joint ventures.

Spending your PR $$ wisely implies that you are getting serious about your public relations by changing the emphasis from communications tactics to a workable plan for reaching those outside groups of people with a large say about how successful you will be. I refer, of course, to those key external target audiences of yours.

What do they think of you, anyway? Ask your PR staff why they believe that’s important to you? Hopefully, they’ll agree that target audience perceptions usually do lead to behaviors that can help or hinder you in achieving your operating objectives. In other words, is your PR team guided by solid fundamentals rather than mechanics like special events and communications tactics?

Next, decide together, then prioritize exactly which external audiences have the most impact on your operation, and let’s do some work on the audience at the top of that list.

Since you must monitor perceptions by interacting with members of that audience, you can elect to join your PR folks as they ask some penetrating questions: “Do you know anything about us? How do you feel about our services and/or products? Have you had any contact with our people? Did it work out to your satisfaction?”

Remember that you can also employ a professional survey firm to interact with members of your target audience. Only drawback here is the considerable cost involved in taking this route versus using your own PR folks who, as we know, are already in the perception and behavior business.

Either way, while the perception monitoring effort is proceeding, all questioners must stay alert to misconceptions about your unit, as well as inaccuracies, exaggerations, rumors or false assumptions. And keep an eye out for evasive and hesitant responses to your queries.

Once all the answers are in-hand, you’re ready to establish your public relations goal, thus fixing what needs correcting the most. And that may well be to clear up a potentially damaging misconception, shoot down a hurtful rumor, or clarify that misleading exaggeration.

Now, how do you reach that new goal? The right strategy is what you need and that means one of these: create perception where there may be none at all, change that offensive opinion/perception, or reinforce an existing perception. But make sure the strategy you pick fits naturally with your PR goal.

You still need a message that will correct/alter the negative perception turned up during your monitoring activity among members of your target audience. It must be a compelling message, one that is completely believable and one that explains why the offending perception is either untrue or unfair. The message must be clearly presented because you want to alter what people believe in a way that leads to the target audience behaviors you need to achieve your unit objectives.

Fortunately, delivering the message to those who need to hear it and read it is a simple matter. You have a real variety of communications tactics to help you from speeches, luncheon presentations, media interviews and emails to newsletters, facility tours, brochures and electronic magazines. Just be certain the tactics you use have a good record of reaching people similar to those who make up your target audience. So as not to call too much attention to the original misperception, your PR team may wish to deliver the corrective message as part of various presentations to target audience members rather than risk a high profile, news release transmission.

Now, to demonstrate program progress, you and your team must once again monitor perceptions among your target audience watching carefully for indications that your message and tactics have moved those perceptions towards your views.

Of course, to speed up the process, you can always add new communications tactics to the mix and increase their frequencies.

Finally, at this point you should be reassured that your new public relations effort has (1) persuaded your most important outside audiences to your way of thinking, (2) moved them to take actions leading to your success, thus (3) helping achieve your department, division or subsidiary objectives.

end

About the author: Bob Kelly counsels, writes and speaks to managers about using the fundamental premise of public relations to achieve their operating objectives. He has been DPR, Pepsi-Cola Co.; AGM-PR, Texaco Inc.; VP-PR, Olin Corp.; VP-PR, Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co.; director of communications, U.S. Department of the Interior,and deputy assistant press secretary, The White House. mailto:bobkelly@TNI.net Visit:http://www.prcommentary.com

What is a Press Release

Author: Peter Finers

A respectable company interested in publicity and active social life is obliged to have public relations department. Every product needs to be advertised and every service needs to be informed about. This is what advertising agencies are for. But publicity is also a way to advertise and PR agents in Hollywood know it perfectly well. Of course, nobody is talking about details of private life or accidental cases that have nothing to do with morality. The public should know latest news from the company whose services they are going to use. If there is information that can draw attention and both promote, why not to give it to the public.

Information about corporate news or event is called a press release, a news release or a press statement. A standard press release is a short sequence written and forwarded to representatives of the news media to announce something that is of a news value. Press releases are sent to editors of magazines, on the radio or television and online. The purpose is to inform about an event or a conference and draw attention of mass media to it. Companies providing seo copywriting services use press releases to increase the ranking of the client in the search engines. It only may seem easy to cre ate press release , but it also has its system, standards, format and principles just like any written kind of creation. Here are some useful tips on how to write a press release.

It is absolutely necessary to be sure that news you want to present is newsworthy. If the reason you sat down to write a release is not very attention drawing, wait until you have more information and details on the topic. Make sure that your release is laconic and brief. There is no need to describe all the details in the release itself, wait till due to the effort of journalists people will be interested in your event and then you'll have an opportunity to tell about it in person. Make your press release sound simple, no need to use excessive adjectives and fancy language. Think about people's attitude towards what are you going to inform about and use only strong sides of the event. First 5-10 words of the release are very important and exactly they are responsible for the first impression from the release. They have to get reader interested in what is going to happen further. Structure it right: give a short sequence of the news and only then define who was the initiator or the person of address. Make this press release work for you. Some positive information about a company simply called promotion will be helpful in further job of journalists. As you see a press release is a powerful marketing tool that builds credibility.

Killer-Content.com - Web copywriting services

About the author: Peter Finers is a senior copywriter at Killer-Content.com He has several years of experience as copywriter and has completed several important projects for different companies.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

How Real PR Works

Author: Robert A. Kelly

How Real PR Works

For some, public relations works well when their news release or special event winds up in the newspaper or on the radio.

For others, public relations works best when it does something positive about the behaviors of outside audiences that affect their operations the most. I like this approach because a business, non-profit or association manager can use the fundamental premise of public relations to deliver key stakeholder behavior change – the kind that leads directly to achieving a manager’s objectives.

What fundamental premise of public relations am I talking about here, and how can you put it to good use persuading those important outside folks to your way of thinking, then move them to take actions that help your department, division or subsidiary succeed?

“People act on their own perception of the facts before them, which leads to predictable behaviors about which something can be done. When we create, change or reinforce that opinion by reaching, persuading and moving-to-desired-action the very people whose behaviors affect the organization the most, the public relations mission is accomplished.”

A simple plan that gets everyone working towards the same external audience behaviors insuring that your public relations effort stays on track.

By the way, I’m talking about changes in behavior like welcome bounces in showroom visits, community leaders beginning to seek you out; membership applications on the rise, customers starting to make repeat purchases; organizations proposing strategic alliances and joint ventures; waves of prospects starting to do business with you; new inquiries about strategic alliances; politicians and legislators starting to view you as a key member of the business, non-profit or association communities; higher employee retention rates and even capital givers or specifying sources beginning to look your way.

Meet with your PR team and take the time to list those outside audiences of yours who behave in ways that help or hinder you in achieving your objectives. Then prioritize them by how badly they impact you, and start working with the target audience that heads your list.

First challenge? You’re not certain just how most members of that key outside audience perceive your organization.

Because there’s a good chance you can’t afford professional survey work, you and your PR colleagues (don’t worry, they’ll be quite familiar with perception and behavior matters) must monitor those perceptions yourself.

Ask members of that outside audience questions like “Have you ever had contact with anyone from our organization? Was it a satisfactory experience? Are you familiar with our services or products?” Stay alert to negative statements, especially evasive or hesitant replies, and especially for false assumptions, untruths, misconceptions, inaccuracies and potentially damaging rumors. Because experience shows they usually lead to negative behaviors, the objective is to correct any of the above you encounter.

Now, you’re ready to select the specific perception to be altered, and that becomes your public relations goal.

Of course a PR goal without a strategy to show you HOW to reach it, is like a cheeseburger without the ketchup. That’s why you now pick one of three strategies designed to create perception or opinion where there may be none, or change existing perception, or reinforce it. The challenge here (a small one) is to insure that the goal and its strategy match each other. You wouldn’t want to select “change existing perception” when current perception is just right suggesting a “reinforce” strategy.

Flexing your PR muscle, it’s your writer’s turn to prepare a compelling message carefully designed to alter your key target audience’s perception, as called for by your public relations goal.

Remember that it may be advisable to blend in your corrective message with a presentation, or a newsworthy announcement of a new product, service or employee, which may lend more credibility by not overemphasizing the correction.

Clarity is the watchword with regard to what perception needs clarification or correction, and why. Your facts must be truthful and your position must be logically explained and believable if it is to hold the attention of members of that target audience, and actually move perception in your direction. In other words, your message must be compelling.

Now you select your communications tactics, the “beasts of burden” you will harness to carry your persuasive new thoughts to the attention of your outside target audience.

Your potential tactics list is ample, to say the least. It includes letters-to-the-editor, brochures, press releases and speeches. Or, you might select radio and newspaper interviews, personal contacts, facility tours or customer briefings. There are scores available with the only selection requirement being that those you choose have a record of reaching people just like your target audience members.

Before long, questions will be raised as to how much progress is being made. By which time, you’ll be hard at work remonitoring target audience member perceptions. Using questions similar to those used during your earlier monitoring session, you will now look carefully for indications that audience perceptions are beginning to move in the direction you have in mind.

By adding more communications tactics, increasing their frequencies or fine tuning your message, you can always move things along at a faster clip.

Leaving tactics to do what they do best, carry messages, what should come first is an aggressive public relations plan like that outlined above that targets key stakeholder behavior change leading directly to achieving your department, division or subsidiary objectives.

end

About the author: Bob Kelly counsels, writes and speaks to managers about using the fundamental premise of public relations to achieve their operating objectives. He has been DPR, Pepsi-Cola Co.; AGM-PR, Texaco Inc.; VP-PR, Olin Corp.; VP-PR, Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co.; director of communications, U.S. Department of the Interior, and deputy assistant press secretary, The White House. mailto:bobkelly@TNI.net Visit:http://www.prcommentary.com

Secret To Using Press Release To Generate Huge Traffic

Author: Daegan Smith

Are you getting ready to introduce a new service or product? Have you used or are you familiar with press releases? An interesting and newsworthy press release can create a lot of search visibility, media exposure and web site traffic.

People are more interested to narrative news than an advertisement. Through a press release, you can get your story successfully published. Doing a story regarding your website as well as products that is offered and having it published by the media is equivalent to getting an endorsement. Most significantly, giving off a press release is so much cheaper compared to buying an ad.

A press release is a narrative news regarding your business which you will distribute or submit to several media including the internet. Keep in mind that it will not sound as an advertisement. Each time that you offer a new product, a service or anything new that is taking place in your website, you can write a press release about it.

This can be distributed by way of a service such as prweb.com or Press-Release-Writing.com and this can be viewed by thousands of individuals in just weeks as well as be picked up or chosen by several web sites for publication.

An effective press release would need you to describe your website with the viewpoint and assessment of news. Deal with the curiosity of your targeted readers and give emphasis on why customers should look and read your story.

Guidelines in writing your press release:

1. Inverted pyramid lay-out. This format places not so important data and facts down in your release, permitting you to revise your story more easily to fit the available space that you have. If you have to cut short your story, you can start leaving out certain details beginning at the lowermost portion of the story then working upwards.

2. Be exact to the point. Your release must be well defined; this can be stated in your title. Concentrate on the main concept of your story; ask what, where, why and when to help you focus your story.

3. Create a clever title. A catchy title is an effective way to attract attention.

4. Limit your content length. Keep it with an average of 350 to 500 words. The shorter your release, the better; too much explanation and reasoning in a very small room will decrease your storyís efficiency.

5. Format your story in block, with no indentation on paragraphs.

6. Re-examine your story, making certain that it will not appear to be an essay; it must be educational yet appealing.

7. Proofread. Check and double check your story. Read it aloud to yourself and walk away for a while so that you can come back on it and examine it with a clear mind and fresh eyes.

What to write in your press release:

1. Use brief sentences and the lines should be double spaced.

2. Create an attention grabbing header.

3. Refer to and state your product, business or service in your story.

4. Write a press release when you have new products to offer.

5. Make a press release regarding the outcome of online poll or surveys that you have just completed.

6. When you are hosting a seminar or trade show, you can write a press release about it.

7. Make a press release when you are opening a new web site.

8. When your business has achieved an online award, create an informative story about it.

9. When you are publishing a free e-zine, it is good reason for a press release.

10. When you are offering or giving away free products, let your customers know through a press release.

After writing your press release, do the following:

1. Send your press release. There are many online press release distribution sources (some free and others charge a fee) that you can send your press release to. Be resourceful and search the internet to find the best one for you.

One is 24-7PressRelease.com offers free press release submission and distribution service providing customers with the choice to donate finances for a much higher detection, placement and recognition.

2. Wait. Check with the media and make sure your release is appearing on a certain that it is planned or scheduled. If it does appear in the newspaper, clip it and place it on your site; Newspaper clippings can also represent an endorsement.

3. Look how your traffic go sky high! Seat back and watch a big flow in your web siteís traffic.

Press releases are worth trying and pursuing, as long as one does it right. Take it into consideration and act on it, then success will not be far behind.

About the author: Daegan Smith the owner of Net MLM Articles and the leader of the fastest growing team of successful home business enterpernuers on the net. Find out how we're creating financial freedom all across the globe and how to get in on the action FREE => http://www.comlev.com

The Worst PR Mistakes

Author: Robert A. Kelly

The Worst PR Mistakes

For a business, non-profit or association manager, they could be fatal, coming as they do in four bitter flavors.

Mistake #1 – You limit your PR activity pretty much to placing product and service plugs on radio and in newspapers.

Mistake #2 – You fail to embrace the kind of PR plan that persuades those important outside audiences to your way of thinking, then moves them to take actions that help your department, division or subsidiary succeed.

Mistake #3 -- You fail to use the high-impact, fundamental premise of public relations to deliver external stakeholder behavior change – the kind that leads directly to achieving your managerial objectives.

Mistake #4 -- you fail to get the creative potential of your assigned PR team or agency which you need to positively impact the behaviors of the very outside audiences that MOST affect your unit.

Here’s one way to reverse that hurtful process. Take a look at this fundamental public relations blueprint. People act on their own perception of the facts before them, which leads to predictable behaviors about which something can be done. When we create, change or reinforce that opinion by reaching, persuading and moving-to-desired-action the very people whose behaviors affect the organization the most, the public relations mission is accomplished.

Such a blueprint will broaden your public relations field of fire and put its primary focus where it belongs, on your unit’s key external stakeholder behaviors.

A variety of results is likely. For example, fresh proposals for strategic alliances and joint ventures; customers starting to make repeat purchases; membership applications on the rise; prospects starting to do business with you; community leaders beginning to seek you out; welcome bounces in show room visits; higher employee retention rates, capital givers or specifying sources starting to look your way, and even politicians and legislators beginning to view you as a key member of the business, non-profit or association communities.

Before you begin such a makeover, make certain the public relations people assigned to your unit really believe – deep down -- why it’s SO important to know how your most important outside audiences perceive your operations, products or services. Make sure they accept the reality that perceptions almost always lead to behaviors that can help or hurt your unit.

Sit down with them and discuss your plan for monitoring and gathering perceptions by questioning members of your most important outside audiences. Questions like these: how much do you know about our chief executive? Have you had prior contact with us and were you pleased with the interchange? How much do you know about our services or products and employees? Have you experienced problems with our people or procedures?

Luckily for you, your PR people are in the perception and behavior business to begin with, so they can really do a job for you on this crucially important opinion monitoring project. Professional survey firms are always available, but they can be very expensive. Nevertheless, whether it’s your people or a survey firm asking the questions, your objective is to identify untruths if not outright lies, false assumptions, unfounded rumors, inaccuracies, and misconceptions .

Then you must carefully select which of the above aberrations becomes your corrective public relations goal – clarify the misconception, spike that rumor, correct the false assumption or fix certain other inaccuracies.

Selecting the wrong strategy to show you how to reach your goal is like eating corned beef and cabbage without the horseradish mustard and potatoes. Fact is, you can achieve your PR goal by picking the right strategy from the three choices available to you, change existing perception, create perception where there may be none, or reinforce it. But be sure your new strategy dovetails nicely with that new public relations goal.

But what will you say when you finally get the opportunity to address your key stakeholder audience that will help persuade them to your way of thinking?

Select your best writer to prepare the message because s/he must put together some very special, corrective language. Words that are not only compelling, persuasive and believable, but clear and factual if they are to shift perception/opinion towards your point of view and lead to the behaviors you have in mind.

Happily, the next step is easy. You select communications tactics to carry your message to the attention of your target audience. Making certain that the tactics you select have a record of reaching folks like your audience members, you can pick from dozens that are available. From speeches, facility tours, emails and brochures to consumer briefings, media interviews, newsletters, personal meetings and many others.

Experience shows that HOW one communicates often affects the credibility of the message. So, you may wish to deliver it in small getogethers like meetings and presentations rather than through a higher-profile media announcement.

Time to look for signs of progress. And that means a second perception monitoring session with members of your external audience. Employing many of the same questions used in the first benchmark session, you will now be watching carefully for signs that the offending perception is being altered in your direction.

Aren’t we fortunate that these matters usually can be accelerated by adding more communications tactics as well as increasing their frequencies.

This workable public relations blueprint will help you persuade your most important outside stakeholders to your way of thinking, then move them to behave in a way that leads to the success of your department, division or subsidiary.

The people you deal with behave like everyone else – they act upon their perceptions of the facts they hear about you and your operation. Leaving you little choice but to deal promptly and effectively with those perceptions by doing what is necessary to reach and move those key external audiences to action.

end

About the author: Bob Kelly counsels, writes and speaks to managers about using the fundamental premise of public relations to achieve their operating objectives. He has been DPR, Pepsi-Cola Co.; AGM-PR, Texaco Inc.; VP-PR, Olin Corp.; VP-PR, Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co.; director of communications, U.S. Department of the Interior, and deputy assistant press secretary, The White House. mailto:bobkelly@TNI.net Visit:http://www.prcommentary.com

PR That Entrepreneurs Often Overlook

Author: Robert A. Kelly

PR That Entrepreneurs Often Overlook

If that sounds like you, here’s what you may be missing once the new enterprise is launched

Public relations that really does something about the behaviors of those key outside audiences that most affect your new enterprise.

PR that uses a fundamental blueprint to deliver external stakeholder behavior change – the kind that leads directly to achieving your venture’s objectives.

And PR that persuades many of those important outside folks to your way of thinking, then moves them to take actions that help your new enterprise succeed.

That’s why you as a small business owner must gear up to deal with the unattended perceptions out there that could nudge your fledgling venture closer to bankruptcy than success. Perceptions that, if left unattended, may well result in actions that run counter to those you and your banker had in mind.

For example, when new ventures fail, the wreckage is often assigned to undercapitalization. Seldom is failure attributed to a lack of an effective action plan that might have modified the behavior of prospects and other collaborators in a positive way, thus averting that failure.

So why support your new venture with press release public relations when a basic PR blueprint like this one can hold the key to your success? People act on their own perception of the facts before them, which leads to predictable behaviors about which something can be done. When we create, change or reinforce that opinion by reaching, persuading and moving-to-desired-action the very people whose behaviors affect the organization the most, the public relations mission is accomplished.

Add to that these kinds of results: fresh proposals for strategic alliances and joint ventures; customers making repeat purchases; prospects starting to look your way; community leaders beginning to seek you out; and even politicians and legislators viewing you as a true innovator.

Major caveat for a new entrepreneurial venture: because the cost of gathering key audience perception data – an absolute must in this business – can be substantial, it should be built into the original funding budget. That suggests that you, as the new venture leader, must take the lead in assuring upfront funding of the perception monitoring function.

So, with the people whose perceptions of your venture you care most about now the target of your PR effort, you are ready to launch a well-planned public relations program that can reach, persuade and move those individuals to actions you desire.

Here’s a public relations checklist entrepreneurs may find helpful.

From Day 1, you have to be certain your staff or agency public relations people are really committed to knowing how your outside audiences perceive your operations, products or services. And further, that negative key audience perceptions almost always lead to behaviors that can hurt your new venture. Fortunately, your PR people are in the perception and behavior business to begin with, so they should be of real assistance for your opinion monitoring project.

Professional survey firms are always available, but that can be expensive. So, whether it’s your people or a survey firm asking the questions, your objective is to identify untruths, false assumptions, unfounded rumors, inaccuracies, and misconceptions.

First, rank your external audiences as to impacts on your operation. For example, #1 customers; #2 prospects; #3 employees; #4 local and trade media; #5 your local business community; #6 community leaders, and so forth. Then, involve your PR team in plans for monitoring and gathering perceptions by questioning members of those you expect will be your most important outside audiences.

Second, interact with members of your key audience and jot down their first impressions of your fledgling operation, especially any problem perceptions.

Use questions like these: Now that you’ve read our brochure, do you believe our products/services will be of use to people in this area? Have you used the services of our competitors? Did you find them useful? Fairly priced? Any problems? Listen carefully for any rumors or misconceptions about your new operation.

Third, decide which of the negatives you discovered, rates as the #1 corrective public relations goal – for example, clarify the misconception, spike that rumor, correct the false assumption or fix a certain inaccuracy.

Fourth, when you finally have the chance to address your key stakeholder audience to help persuade them to your way of thinking, what will you say? Ideally, you will prepare persuasive and compelling messages that not only provide details about your product and service quality and diversity, but address perception problems that surfaced during your monitoring sessions. As the method of communication can affect the credibility of the message, you may wish to deliver it in small meetings or presentations rather than through high-visibility media releases.

Not so incidentally, here’s where a talented writer earns his or her keep because s/he must put together some very special, corrective language. Words that are not only believable, but clear and factual if they are to correct the negatives and shift perception/opinion towards your point of view and lead to the behaviors you have in mind.

Fifth, in the same way Quesadillas come with sauteed onions and smoky cheese, the right PR strategy tells you how to reach your goal. But just three strategies are available in matters of perception and opinion -- change existing perception, create perception where there may be none, or reinforce it. And be sure your new strategy is a natural fit with your new public relations goal.

Sixth, things get simpler here. Select communications tactics to carry your message to the attention of your target audience. Making certain that the tactics you select have a record of reaching folks like your audience members, you can pick from dozens of tactics. Everything from speeches, facility tours, emails and brochures to consumer briefings, media interviews, newsletters, personal meetings and many others.

Seventh, how do you decide that your efforts are changing perceptions for the better? As time passes, you should notice increased awareness of your business, a growing public perception of the role your business plays in the community; and, of course, growing numbers of prospects.

You can track these results by interacting on a regular basis with people from each of your key audiences, especially by monitoring print and broadcast media and through interaction with key customers and prospects.

But eighth, questions will soon appear as to progress. That will demand a second perception monitoring session with members of your external audience. Using the same questions used in the first benchmark session, you will now be alert to indications that the negative perception is being altered as you wished.

In public relations, we’re lucky that these efforts can be accelerated through more communications tactics as well as increasing their frequencies.

The stakes are high – the very survival of your new enterprise!

So, concentrate on what’s most important -- people in your new venture’s community or marketing area behave like people everywhere, they take actions based on their perception of the facts available to them.

In the proverbial nutshell, here you have a workable public relations blueprint that can help you persuade your most important outside stakeholders to your way of thinking, then move them to behave in a way that leads to the success of your new enterprise.

end

About the author: Bob Kelly counsels, writes and speaks to managers about using the fundamental premise of public relations to achieve their operating objectives. He has been DPR, Pepsi-Cola Co.; AGM-PR, Texaco Inc.; VP-PR, Olin Corp.; VP-PR, Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co.; director of communications, U.S. Department of the Interior, and deputy assistant press secretary, The White House. mailto:bobkelly@TNI.net Visit:http://www.prcommentary.com

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

PR Works! 15 Ways To Make Your Press Release Stand Out From the Crowd

Author: Julia Hyde

PR Works!

15 Ways to Make Your Press Release Stand Out From the Crowd!

Do editors of newspapers, magazines and online news sites really use press releases? Too right they do. In fact, the press release is one of the most effective forms of publicity. But many businesses, both online and off, underestimate the power the press has to promote their business and get their product or service noticed by potential customers.

There are no figures that show how many news stories are generated by press releases but my guess is that it runs into the hundreds and thousands, if not more. Many will be published word for word. Others will be paraphrased. But, either way the stories generate free, credible publicity for you, and your business.

So how do you convince reporters and editors to sit up and take notice of your company’s news? Write a press release that’s newsworthy, factual, topical, and then send it to the right people. It’s not as simple as it sounds, though, because the press is bombarded with information everyday and their priorities are not necessarily yours.

Have no fear. Here are 15 tips to help you write a press release that will impress reporters, and increase your chances of publication.

1. Don’t waste the reporters’ time submitting something that isn’t news. Find an interesting angle or a new twist and you’re almost guaranteed success. If you make your story sound dull it will probably end up in the trash. The best source for ideas is the magazines and newspapers themselves. Not the front page headlines but the one or two paragraph items on page three or page 10. Play close attention to these because they often suggest something bigger is afoot. If that something can tie into your product or service you’re on to a sure-fire winner.

2. Your headline should summarize your story in ten words or less. It tells the editor, at a glance, if your story is newsworthy or not. Avoid adjectives like “amazing” and “exciting’. It’s a turn off for journalists. A simple title such as,“MarketingBiz.com Announces Launch of Newsletter Service” is better than, “MarketingBiz.com to Launch Exciting and Interesting New Service.” Remember, this is news, not advertising.

3. Make sure your lead sentence contains all the main points of your story. It should tell the reader who has done what, where, why and when. Try not to let this sentence ramble on. Make sure it’s straight to the point and contains only essential information.

4. Include all the benefits of your product or service. If your product is 20% cheaper, say so. If your service can help make your client, healthier or wealthier, say so. Concentrate on the advantages to the consumer because no one cares about the advantages the product has to you.

5. Add detail to your story. In the body of your release add extra information in order of importance. But beware, editors delete paragraphs from the end so make sure you include vital information early.

6. If possible include one or two quotes from reliable or expert sources. Quotes give a point of view, reflect the personality of the speaker and add a human element.

7. Keep the length to a single page if possible. Definitely no more than two. Anything over that becomes a chore for the editor. If you must go to two pages put “more” at the bottom of page one so the editor knows there is more to your story. At the end of your release put either the word “Ends” or ### or –30-. This lets the editor know your release is over.

8. If you’re sending photos with your release, always include a caption listing the names of people in the photo. Include sources, contacts and the release date.

9. Avoid embargoes unless they are absolutely necessary. They are often used to make a story look more important than it actually is. Editors will rarely be fooled and you may find it’s counter-productive.

10. Sending your release to the right people and to enough publications will increase your chances of getting your story printed. There are literally thousands of newspapers, magazines and online publications for trade and the consumer. Find the right ones by:

? Checking listings in a media directory. You can find them at your local library. ? Using an online service such as PR Web, that offers free distribution, or a paid service like PR Newswire. ? Sending the release to trade publications related to your business ? Contacting local and national TV and Radio

11. The more press releases you issue, the more will get printed. Ensure you issue at least one story a month. But don’t send out a release for the sake of it.

12. If you’re sending your release via email, avoid sending file attachments. Editors are wary of viruses and most will immediately delete your release.

13. Avoid fancy letterheads and gimmicks. What you say is more important.

14. Include contact name(s), telephone number(s) including cell phone numbers and an email address. This may sound obvious, but a surprising number of releases are submitted with this essential information missing.

15. Make your grammar and spelling perfect. A poorly written, grammatically incorrect press release tells the editor one thing…that your company does not have professional standards. Proofread your release several times before you submit it. Don’t just rely on a spell-checker.

About the author: Julia is an independent copywriter and consultant specializing in search engine marketing and copywriting, direct mail, press releases and other marketing materials businesses need to increase sales. Learn more about how Julia can help boost your profits by visiting www.juliahyde.com. Or email info@juliahyde.com. She'll get back to you right away.

The Ultimate PR Edge: Getting Reporters To Open Your E-Mails

Author: Bill Stoller

The Ultimate PR Edge: Getting Reporters To Open Your E-Mails

by Bill Stoller, Publisher Free Publicity, The Newsletter for PR-Hungry Businesses http://www.PublicityInsider.com/freepub.asp

You know that getting publicity is vital to the health of your business. You probably also know that e-mail is the way most publicity seekers get in touch with reporters to score that precious coverage. Here’s what you don’t know: The vast majority of e-mails sent to journalists never get read.

Bottom line: if your e-mails don’t get read, you have no shot at getting the publicity you so desperately need.

Here's how to beat the odds:

Avoiding the Spam Trap

To a spam filter, your humble e-mail pitch may appear to contain an array of trigger words and suspicious phrases. A server that relayed your message may be on a blacklist - a ""do not open"" list of known spammers. Or perhaps the filter’s having a tough day and has decided to start blocking things arbitrarily. You can’t prevent every instance of spam blocking, but you can take some steps to help lessen the chances of your e-mail ending up in a black hole.

The most important step is learning how spam filters think, and creating e-mails that avoid the usual pitfalls. Fortunately, you’ll find that -- once you can do this -- many spam triggers are easily avoided.

Rather than taking up space here with all the how-to’s, allow me to simply direct you a terrific site on the subject: http://www.wordbiz.com/avoidspamfilters.html

Getting Your E-Mail Opened & Read

After beating the spam filter, next up is getting your e-mail opened and read. The key: the subject line. No matter how on- the-money your pitch, a subpar subject line will kill any chance of getting the reporter’s attention. You’ve got one shot at getting your e-mail opened, make the most of it with a killer subject line.

Here’s how to do it: 1) Place the word ""News"" or ""Press Info"" or ""Story Idea"" at the beginning of your e-mail subject line, in brackets e.g.: [Story Idea]:

2) Try to incorporate the reporter's first name also at the beginning of the subject line.

3) If you know the name of the reporter's column, for instance ""Cooking with Linda"", also try to incorporate that. One more thing -- if the reporter doesn’t write a regular column, try to at least include their beat (e.g. Joe, re: your future pieces on the wi-fi industry).

With these three tips in mind, a successful e-mail subject line might read:

[Story Idea]: Linda, Here's a Tip for Your ""Cooking with Linda"" Column

That’s a heading that will stand head and shoulders above the rest.

Here are a few more e-mail do’s and don'ts: Do:

* Make the information you place in the subject line short and to the point. Often, reporter's e-mail software cuts off the subject at only a few words.

* Don’t get cute or be too vague in your subject line. For example ""Here’s a Great Story!"" is vague and sounds like spam; ""This Will Win You A Pulitzer!"" will make you look silly (unless you’re delivering the scoop of the century, of course!).

* Try to make your most newsworthy points at the top of your e- mail message - don't expect a reporter to scroll down to find the news.

* Include your contact information, including cell phone, e-mail address, regular address, fax number & website URL at the beginning and end of the e-mail.

* Include a link to your website if you have additional information such as: photos, press releases, bios, surveys, etc.

Don’t:

* Include more than a short pitch letter or press release in the body of your e-mail.

* Allow typos or grammatical errors.

* Include an attachment with your e-mail. In this day and age of sinister viruses, reporters automatically delete e-mail with attachments.

* Place the following words (by themselves) in the subject line: ""Hi"", ""Hello"" - the media's spam filters will pounce and destroy.

* Send an e-mail with a blank subject line.

A cool tip: Use Google News (www.news.google.com) to search for recent stories that have appeared relating to your industry or field of interest. Then, e-mail the reporter directly (use a subject line such as Re: Your July 5th piece on electric cars). Give positive feedback on the story and let him know that, next time he’s working an electric car story, he should get in touch, as you’re an expert with provocative things to say. Give a couple of supporting facts to back up the assertion, include your phone number and web link, and ask if he’d like to see a full press kit. This technique really works!

About the author: Bill Stoller, the ""Publicity Insider"", has spent two decades as one of America's top publicists. Now, through his website, eZine and subscription newsletter, Free Publicity: The Newsletter for PR-Hungry Businesses http://www.PublicityInsider.com/freepub.asp , he's sharing -- his secrets of scoring big publicity. For free articles, killer publicity tips , visit Bill's exclusive new site: http://www.publicityInsider.com

Is This the PR You Thought You Were Getting?

Author: Robert A. Kelly

You know, where you do something positive about the behaviors of those outside audiences that MOST affect your organization? And where you do so by persuading those important external folks to your way of thinking, then move them to take actions that help your department, division or subsidiary succeed?

Yes, that’s right, it’s where you use the fundamental premise of public relations to produce external stakeholder behavior change – the kind that leads directly to achieving your managerial objectives.

What it boils down to is (1) your public relations effort must involve more than special events, brochures and news releases if you really want to get your money’s worth, and (2), the right PR really CAN alter individual perception and lead to changed behaviors that help you succeed!

You can do it when you bring that fundamental premise of PR mentioned above, into play. It goes like this: people act on their own perception of the facts before them, which leads to predictable behaviors about which something can be done. When we create, change or reinforce that opinion by reaching, persuading and moving-to-desired-action the very people whose behaviors affect the organization the most, the public relations mission is accomplished.

What kind of results can you, as a business, non-profit or association manager, expect from such an approach? Well, for starters, improved relations with government agencies and legislative bodies, stronger relationships with the educational, labor, financial and healthcare communities; prospects starting to work with you; customers making repeat purchases; and even capital givers or specifying sources looking your way

And that’s not all. You also could see progress in the form of membership applications on the rise; new proposals for strategic alliances and joint ventures; rebounds in showroom visits; enhanced activist group relations, and expanded feedback channels; as well as community service and sponsorship opportunities; not to mention new thoughtleader and special event contacts.

Yes, that’s promising quite a bit but that’s what this approach to public relations is capable of delivering.

Of course the PR people supporting you as a manager – agency or staff – must be real team members and committed to you, as the senior project manager, to the PR blueprint and its implementation, starting with target audience perception monitoring.

Ask yourself how important it is that your most important outside audiences really perceive your operations, products or services in a positive light? Then assure yourself that your PR staff buys into that notion wholeheartedly. Be especially careful that they accept the reality that perceptions almost always lead to behaviors that can help or hurt your unit.

Review the PR blueprint in detail with your team, especially the plan for monitoring and gathering perceptions by questioning members of your most important outside audiences. Use questions like these: how much do you know about our organization? How much do you know about our services or products and employees? Have you had prior contact with us and were you pleased with the interchange? Have you experienced problems with our people or procedures?

The perception monitoring phases of your program obviously can be handled by professional survey people, IF the budget is available. But keep in mind that your PR people are also in the perception and behavior business and can pursue the same objective: identify untruths, false assumptions, unfounded rumors, inaccuracies, misconceptions and any other negative perception that might translate into hurtful behaviors.

Clearly, you will need a well-defined goal, one that responds to the aberrations that appeared during your key audience perception monitoring. As a flexible goal, it could call for straightening out that dangerous misconception, or correcting that gross inaccuracy, or doing something about that damaging rumor.

Inevitably, a goal needs a strategy to show you how to get there. And here, you have three strategic choices for handling a perception or opinion challenge: create perception where there may be none, change the perception, or reinforce it. Unfortunately, a bad strategy pick will taste like fudge sauce on your spareribs, so be sure the new strategy fits well with your new public relations goal. For instance, you don’t want to select “change” when the facts dictate a “reinforce” strategy.

Changing people’s minds to your way of thinking is a tough assignment, so your PR team must set down the needed corrective language. Words that are compelling, persuasive and believable AND clear and factual. You must do this if you are to correct a perception by shifting opinion towards your point of view, leading to the desired behaviors.

Sit down again with your communications specialists and review your message for impact and persuasiveness. Then, select the communications tactics most likely to carry your words to the attention of your target audience. You can pick from dozens that are available. From speeches, facility tours, emails and brochures to consumer briefings, media interviews, newsletters, personal meetings and many others. But be sure that the tactics you pick are known to reach folks just like your audience members.

Because the credibility of a message can occasionally depend on its delivery method, you might introduce it to smaller gatherings rather than using higher-profile tactics such as news releases or talk show appearances. One good thing about doing progress reports for clients or bosses is that they sound the alert for you and your PR folks to return to the field for a second perception monitoring session with members of your external audience. Using many of the same questions used in the first benchmark session, you must now stay alert for signs that the bad news perception is being altered in your direction.

If impatience shows up, you can always accelerate things with more communications tactics and increased frequencies.

It should be an irresistable premise for any manager! Do something positive about the behaviors of those outside audiences that MOST affect your organization. And do so by persuading those important external folks to your way of thinking, then move them to take actions that help your department, division or subsidiary succeed.

Wow!

end

About the author: Bob Kelly counsels managers about using the fundamental premise of public relations to achieve their operating objectives. He has been DPR, Pepsi-Cola Co.; AGM-PR, Texaco Inc.; VP-PR, Olin Corp.; VP-PR, Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co.; director of communi- cations, U.S. Department of the Interior, and deputy assistant press secretary, The White House. mailto:bobkelly@TNI.net Visit:http://www.prcommentary.com

Same Time Next Year: Using Editorial Calendars as Part of your PR Efforts

Author: Shannon Cherry, APR, MA

It's the time of year when calendars crowd out the books and magazines in bookstores and are even on sale at reduced prices. But there’s a special kind of calendar that all good public relations professionals use – the editorial calendar.

According to Shannon Cherry, using editorial calendars is one of the most effective, yet most overlooked tool in a publicist’s toolkit. “Most people avoid using editorial calendars because it takes some time to research and compile,” she says. “The top PR professionals do this every year and I’ve personally found that outcomes are well worth the time – especially when you end up getting featured in a key article in a major publication.” Cherry is the president of Cherry Communications (www.cherrycommunications.com), a public relations and marketing firm which helps small businesses, consultants and entrepreneurs to be heard.

Except for the year and the names of the months, these calendars bear little resemblance to the glossy hang-up calendars in the stores. No swimsuit-clad models, lush scenery, puppies, kittens or cartoons of Dilbert. Editorial calendars are usually bare-bones lists of upcoming issue topics and major features – or at least the cover stories or special sections. Not much to look at – unless you're a PR pro trying to crack that market.

“That's because knowing what publications have in store allows you to tailor your pitches, news releases and articles to particular issues,” says Cherry. “Helping editors and journalists by providing the stories they need earns you goodwill and increased attention.”

Editorial calendars are basically telling you exactly what information they need for each issue. “If you can spin your own story to match what the media is looking for, then you have a great chance of being featured in that publication,” she says.

A current editorial calendar can usually be found in the advertising section at the publication's website. If you can’t find it there, contact the publications marketing/sales department and ask them to email/snail mail it to you.

Here are some examples of editorial calendars: •Choice: The Magazine for Professional Coaching - http://www.choice-online.com/calendar.html •Small Business Technology Magazine - http://www.sbtechnologymagazine.org/write/SBTM_Editorial_Calendar _2004_2005.pdf •Fortune Small Business - http://www.fortune.com/fortune/mediakit/editcal-targeted.html

Not all publications have editorial calendars. “Really small magazines – the many labor-of-love kind of magazines published by enthusiasts –usually don't.” says Cherry. “Magazines, which don't accept ads, may have one but they don't publish it. Totally reader-contributed publications don't. New magazines generally don't because the content is so often changed and tweaked as the publication searches for its voice.”

Even some large, national magazines don't have calendars. News weeklies like Time and Newsweek don't. Neither does People or US Weekly. “They are steered by what news hits that week and that is, of course, something you can't predict months in advance,” she explains.

Cherry suggests, after reviewing the calendar, you can decide which stories you can offer to be a source or expert for, or, in the case of trade publications, which months you could offer a written expert-opinion piece.

“Remember that editorial calendars can and do change, so check for updates regularly,” reminds Cherry. “Also, pay attention to deadlines. Article queries and pitches especially should be sent to the editors well ahead of time. And if they don’t have deadlines, assume that the media need the information about four months out.”

About the author: Shannon Cherry, APR, MA helps businesses & entrepreneurs to be heard. She’s a marketing communications expert with more than 15 years experience and the owner of Cherry Communications. Subscribe today for Be Heard! a FREE biweekly ezine and get the FREE special report: ""Get Set For Success: Creative, Low-Cost Marketing Tips to Help You be Heard."" Go to: http://www.cherrycommunications.com/freereport.htm.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

PR tips - should we issue a press release?

Author: Jo Chipchase

Question: Why should your business issue a press release? Answer: because you have something to say, you want to say it in public and a press release encourages the press to say it for you. And because you want to show your business in a favourable light from the outset and begin the longer-term process of building awareness and understanding of your product or service.

There’s plenty of research to show that young companies – weighed down by the business of simply running a new business – pay scant attention to PR, yet that’s exactly what they should be doing from the very start to get their names and products known. For most businesses, PR isn’t about spin or the abstract maintaining of “good relations” with the press and public; it’s simply about telling people that you and your products or services are there and letting them know why they should be interested. It’s about getting column inches in newspapers and magazines and fulfilling the adage that an inch of good editorial is worth a page of advertising. It’s about making your sales easier.

Issuing press releases is a mainstay of basic PR. It’s how you start the ball rolling with the press. The good news is, if approached in the right way (whether you do it yourself or use an affordable professional, this activity need not cost the earth).

But do remember that you’re presenting your business to the public. A release that’s poorly written, with grammatical or spelling mistakes, or full of jargon, or long-winded and unfocused, can do you more harm than good. Given the importance of PR, there’s something to be said in favour of paying for professional writing skills. PR writers don’t just turn out good English: they know how to structure a press release and present facts in a way that appeals to busy journalists and grabs their attention.

The next question is: “When should I issue a press release?” Certainly, issuing releases willy-nilly, at whim, is no good. The time to make a business announcement is when you have something topical and newsworthy to say (but remember: what you consider topical might not be of interest to the wider world or to journalists). All releases need a strong ‘hook’ – in other words, an angle that will appeal to editors and give your story a good chance of gaining coverage.

So, what would be considered newsworthy? For starters, perhaps you’re launching a new product or service? Or opening a new branch? Or you’re launching a spin-off venture from scratch? Whatever it is, it should be presented as offering something reasonably new and interesting, not just as a “me too”.

Hopefully, your product or service has particular benefits and applications that will appeal to your market segment and generate interest. If whatever you’re launching is technically innovative or it’s being marketed in an unusual or high profile way, you could have the basis of a release. In this case, make sure you don’t fill your release with unnecessary jargon or marketing-speak that could alienate journalists, such as “the cost effective, integrated, seamless, one-stop-shop solution to meet all your business needs.” Tell people what it is you’re actually offering. The above example is full of hype but what’s the product? An accountancy service? A stationers? An abattoir?

Other company activities could be newsworthy. Have you appointed any new members of senior staff who have a reputation in your industry? Won a large contract or client? Become involved in a sponsorship deal? Have you received an accolade or won an industry award? If so, the trade press might be interested.

Forthcoming events can provide ideal material for announcements. Are you holding any open days, speakers’ panels, rallies or debates? Charity events or donations from your organisation to good causes are worth highlighting, as are initiatives that benefit the wider community. If celebrities or public figures are involved, your newsworthiness will increase. The level of interest will relate to the stature of your company and the nature of your event. If a famous chocolate factory held an open day with lots of freebies, it would be of national press interest. If Bloggs the Grocers held a similar event, the local paper would be the main target.

When you’re seeking newsworthy stories, don’t forget one of your best assets – your personnel. Have any employees been recognised for outstanding achievements? Do they have unusual hobbies? Have they received any unusual requests or orders from customers that your company has fulfilled? The local press might opt for a quirky human-interest story.

Whatever the reason for your announcement, remember this rule of thumb: yet another pizzeria on a high street full of pizzerias will not gain many column inches, no matter how good the pizzas. But a pizzeria offering the hottest jalapenos in the UK, singing waiters, Italian cocktails with every meal or three for the price of two (or something!) just might. Sometimes it’s even worth coming up with an offer of some sort (particularly in retailing) simply to garner press interest.

Remember to monitor the news for events to hook into. Can you associate your company with upcoming holidays, public projects, or fads? Statements that might seem controversial, such as stating your organisation's stance on a volatile public issue, might gain coverage. Have you conducted research that gives you statistics you could release?

Finally, if you’re targeting different press sectors with the same story, write multiple releases rather than issuing one generic release. An announcement focusing on the metallurgy used to create your new range of stainless steel cooking pans would be of interest to the trade press. However, it wouldn’t be considered too thrilling by the lifestyle press and women’s magazines.

You need to think carefully about what you’re announcing and who it’s aimed at, rather than using the ‘scattergun’ approach and sending untargeted releases to whichever journalists you happen to find. Professional PR distributors retain up-to-date lists of all the journalists in each industrial sector and geographical region, and take a great deal of care to target the right journalists with the right releases. If you’re distributing your release yourself, a few hours’ homework can pay enormous dividends.

About the author: Editorial director Press Dispensary www.pressdispensary.co.uk

How to write more powerfully for PR, offline and online

Author: Suzan St Maur

Years ago when my Dad owned a group of local newspapers I spent my school and college vacations working in the editorial office. We used to amuse ourselves over our sandwiches at lunchtime looking through and trashing the endless press releases that would arrive in the mail each day, all beautifully produced with glossy photographs (this was in pre-internet days).

We trashed them because all but the odd one or two were ill-considered, highly subjective, barely camouflaged advertising copy that had about as much editorial news value as last week’s shopping list.

Why am I telling you all this?

Because despite the fact that this happened many years ago, it’s still happening today. Both offline and now online editors continue to laugh sardonically at the self-promoting garbage they receive from corporate sources exactly as my Dad and I laughed umpty-dump years ago. I salivate just thinking about how I could spend the fortunes wasted on those releases and photographs over so many years.

And why does this continue to happen? I believe it is because the organizations who send out this stuff – particularly their financial managers – just can’t get their heads around the difference in culture between what they want to say, and what editors need to deliver to their audiences.

Good PR advisers try hard to compensate, but ultimately it’s the client who pays their fees, and if the client insists on issuing garbage there’s not much a PR adviser can do other than resign the business.

Time after time after time I’m called into companies and asked to comment on why the PR coverage they get in the media is so poor. 99 times out of a 100 it’s because they’ve issued press releases that are only of interest to themselves and their bosses. And yet when I point this out to them they can’t understand it.

“But our development team worked 14 hours a day for three years to win that contract!” they shout indignantly. “And the CEO had to cut short his vacation in Turks & Caicos just so he could sign the documents by the deadline! I mean, it’s the most important thing to have happened to us in the history of the company!”

“I know,” I croon soothingly, “but those points aren’t of much interest to the readers of your regional business press, or your trade press for that matter.”

“Well, maybe not,” they reply. “But they are very relevant to us, and to our shareholders. That’s why we made such an elaborate issue of those points in the press release.”

Ah, I think to myself as I gaze out of the window to see if my creatively-parked car is going to attract the attention of passing traffic policepersons. Here is another problem we encounter with press releases.

It’s called “when is a press release not a press release?” The answer is, when a press release is to be used to impress all sorts of people who are not members of the press. Only we want them to think that this is what the press will write about us, so we put it in a press release. That would be okay as long as that’s as far as it goes.

But the awful truth is the same document (paper or electronic) really does get sent out to the press. And quite rightly they ignore it, once again because it is of no interest to the readership of the publication concerned.

For Heaven’s sake, you folks who do this sort of thing, please grow up and face reality. If you want to promote your achievements to your share/stockholders or staff or suppliers or whoever, then just go ahead and do it and dress it up in “press release” costume if you must, although I don’t think that fools anybody.

But whatever you do, don’t send it to the press – and don’t kid yourself or anyone else that to use the same document for both purposes is a way to economize. It’s a sure way to shoot yourself through the foot and indirectly could cost you a fortune.

If you want to get coverage in the media then you must forget all elements of self-congratulation. Whatever information you send out has to have something “in it for them” (the audience) - something new, interesting and relevant. It doesn’t have to be earth-shattering, just worth reading.

If your organisation has done something brilliant and you’re proud of it, by all means say so; just be sure to emphasise what’s great about it for the audience and/or the rest of the world, not merely for yourselves. Let the facts tell the story. If your organisation genuinely deserves to be congratulated, it will be.

And you don’t simply have the audience to consider in this case, because unlike the forms of communication you control, with media coverage the decision of whether or not to transmit your message rests with someone else – usually the editor. Editors and journalists are either very busy or very lazy or both (and don’t chastise me for admitting that, guys. I’ve been there, done it, got the T shirt and drank too much in the brasserie at lunchtime too.)

If you supply them with material they can see is relevant to their readers and preferably is usable with the minimum of editing, they will warm to it a lot faster than something that may hold a grain of interest but will take someone a whole evening to rewrite and several phone calls or e-mails to check for accuracy.

Try to match the style and writing approach of the publication. If you’re sending a release out to several publications that circulate among the same readership, then one release should be relevant to all. But if you’re aiming at different press groups – say the trade journals and the business pages of the regional dailies – you will need to rework the approach of your press release according to the different audiences.

You’ll usually find that the basic core of a press release can remain pretty well the same across all media groups, because it consists (or should consist) of the pure facts – the old journalist’s formula of who, what, how, where, when and why.

What changes is the angle, and particularly the lead-in. That means the headline, which should be short and attention-grabbing, and then the first two or three sentences that support the headline and set up the whole story. Often it’s worth trying to work in a clever bit of word-play with headlines, but be very careful – a pun or play on the words that doesn’t work is worse than writing the headline straight.

By far the best guidance you’ll get, though, comes from studying the audience – the people who read the publications. What in your story is going to interest them?

·Readers of a trade journal will be interested in what’s new and different about your new product and how it could improve the way they do business.

·Readers of local or regional business sections will be interested more in how your new product’s manufacturing and distribution, say, will impact on the local business community and economy.

·Local general newspapers and other media will be interested in the human side, i.e. how many new jobs the factory producing the new product will create.

·…etc.

And one last tip on how to get the best from press releases – use “quotes” from the key people involved in the story.

Not those awful, meaningless corporate-babble quotes you so often see in company press releases … “We are delighted to be able to announce the new contract at this moment in time and we have every confidence that our latest investment will be of significant benefit to our…” you know the type of thing. These are usually the first elements that get chopped out by the editor.

It’s perfectly OK to write quotes for your senior people, by the way. They very rarely give real quotes for anything other than TV or radio interviews but don’t seem to mind quotes being written for them, provided they’re given the opportunity to check them before they’re issued.

So, write them quotes that – far from being beatific banalities – actually are telling important parts of the story. This is good for two reasons:

1.It makes your senior exec look intelligent and aware of what’s going on in the organization, which is 100% more than the banality-quote will do for him/her.

2.Because it’s an important part of the story and contains useful facts, the publication’s staff will be far less likely to edit it out.

Possibly you’re beginning to feel that in order to get press coverage you’ll have to turn yourself, your product and your entire board inside out and upside down. You could be right, but that’s PR. Remember that press coverage is not advertising**. Yes, it’s free and that’s wonderful, but as always there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

Editors will only put your stuff in, for free, if it is genuinely good for their publication and their readers, not for you. They do not care about your sales figures. They care about their own sales figures. Successful PR people and writers of press releases always, always bear these points in mind; in fact that’s why they’re successful.

**An exception to this is what’s known (in the UK at least) as “advertorial.” In case you don’t already know this is advertising copy written in editorial style, but the space it occupies is really an advertisement you pay for. If you’re obliged to write it, please just try to make it as honest as you can. Not easy.

Online tips

Nearly all the theory pertaining to offline PR is relevant to the online equivalent – especially in terms of what content is of interest to publishers and what isn’t.

Online publishing of relevance to organizations usually falls into one of two pretty obvious groups; one, websites, portals etc that are totally independent and uniquely on the web, and two, those which are the online alter egos of offline publications.

In either group if you want the publications to take your releases or submissions seriously, it’s very important that you follow the format and structure of articles that appear on the websites concerned. Whatever you do don’t make the mistake of submitting a general press release to these organizations, even though you do it by e-mail.

Check first how long the teaser paragraph is that appears on the home or section page, and check how they lay out the full articles. Then submit material that fits perfectly, both in style and in word counts. Here’s why:

1.You will be saving them the trouble of reworking your piece which makes it attractive in the first place

2.Because it fits so perfectly you will discourage them from changing anything, which is also a huge advantage for you.

The other point I would make about online press work is don’t assume that just because you submit a release to the offline publication (and even if they run it) it will be forwarded automatically to the publication’s website. It won’t. At least not necessarily. And I’ve found that one out the hard way, believe me.

Treat offline and online versions as entirely separate entities; find out who the movers and shakers are on each, and often you’ll see that the online version is run by an entirely different group of people.

About the author: Canadian-born Suzan St Maur is an international business writer and author based in the United Kingdom. Read more - and check out her free biweekly business writing tips eZine, Tipz from Suze , - at her website, SuzanStMaur.com © Suzan St Maur 2003-2005

Press Release

Author: Ajay Prasad

Global Marketing Resources , LLC launches turnkey package for Transcription Service Providers

- Global Marketing Resources, LLC is offering turnkey business opportunity to transcription service providers who want to significantly scale their business. - Its turnkey transcription-website and marketing program; combined with affordable setup and monthly fee enables any transcriptionist to convert their skill to a successful home-based business.

Irvine, CA, January 27, 2006...Global Marketing Resources, LLC (GMR), a Irvine, CA based website design, web management and website marketing company launched a turnkey website for transcription business. This is GMR's first vertical market product.

As part of the package, customers would get a turnkey transcription website that enables any digital file to be uploaded by transcription-service-provider's clients and downloaded by transcriptionists for transcribing the file. Transcriptionists can upload the transcribed files in client's area remotely. Given that most of transcriptionists operate from home, this transcription website allows a transcription company to manage transcriptionists spread anywhere in the world.

The transcription business package includes the website and proven marketing programs to kick start a new transcription business. This package of transcription website and marketing program is priced such that anyone can start home-based transcription service business with a very modest investment. It takes only few weeks to setup and start the business.

This is the first vertical market project from Global Marketing Resources, LLC.

Speaking about the development, Mr. Ajay Prasad , Founder and President, Global Marketing Resources, LLC said, ""I am pleased to offer an affordable business solution for the transcription service industry. We know that our website features and marketing support can help transcription service companies a mean to grow their business and add transcriptionists from any part of the world in its team. On the other hand, this package enables a transcriptionist to work from home, spend fewer hours, and still make the equivalent amount of money they are currently making.""

""Since we get transcription jobs from all over the world and our panel of transcriptionists are spread across from US, India, UK and Australia; the added features of the transcription website will dramatically help us manage our business. I am not a big fan of his low price turnkey option for transcriptionists because it will increase my competition, but I wish Ajay all the best for this new product,"" said Shreekant, VP Operations of Gmrtranscription.com, an established transcription business that uses GMR designed transcription website & marketing programs.

Global Marketing Resources, LLC would manage websites for a low monthly fee and keep on updating features of the transcription-website as required by the changing transcription business.

About Global Marketing Resources, LLC Global Marketing Resources, LLC is marketing-focused company, actively involved in website designing, web marketing, and website maintenance. Global Marketing Resources has been focused on helping small businesses market their products since its inception in 2001. The company started to focus on the website needs of small businesses in 2003 and designs turnkey websites, manages it, and offers web marketing support at lower rates that allows good returns on website presence investment by small companies.

Headquartered in Irvine, CA, Global Marketing Resources has a development & marketing team of over 40 employees based in Hyderabad, India.

For details or clarifications write to us at info@gmrwebteam.com or visit us at www.gmrwebteam.com

About the author: Ajay is the President of Global Marketing Resources , the marketing consulting and fulfillment firm in US. Prior to GMR, Ajay had over 17 years of marketing & business management experience at senior executive positions in marketing at large, medium size, and start-up companies. Ajay has been quoted in major newspapers (Dallas Morning News, San Jose Mercury News, The Wall Street Journal, etc.) about his views on car navigation.

Advertising Is Dead. Long Live PR.

Author: Harry Hoover

Although I still believe there is a place for advertising as a brand maintenance or brand affirmation tool, I am convinced that to build a brand today, you need PR. At one time advertising did build brands. But this was in a simpler America. That America, sadly, is no more.

I’ve been re-reading The Fall Of Advertising & The Rise Of PR, by Al and Laura Ries, and it is their book that has moved me from suspicion of advertising’s demise as a brand-builder to conviction.

As the Ries’ say, “Publicity is the nail, advertising is the hammer.” What does this mean? It means that your PR effort helps make your message believable so that your advertising will have credibility when it hits.

Typically, companies want to hit the market hard and make a lot of noise. Advertising allows you to launch quickly, control the message, and have your message in as many media as you have the money for. However, that does not mean your message will be believed. The louder advertisers yell, the less likely I am to believe them. How about you?

PR takes time and does not necessarily work on your schedule. Planting new ideas or changing minds is a slow process. When your PR program rolls out over a longer period of time, prospects have time to adjust their attitudes. Brands that take this approach are longer lasting, too.

Chevrolet, for years the number one auto brand, was still number one in ad spending in 2001. It spent $819 million dollars – 39 percent more than Ford spent. That year, Ford outsoldevrolet by 33 percent. Since 1997, Chevrolet has outspent and undersold Ford. Chevrolet spends $314 per vehicle and Ford spends $170 per vehicle. Do you think advertising is working for Chevrolet?

Kmart, embroiled in financial difficulty for years, had revenues of $37 billion and spent $542 million on US advertising in 2001. Wal-Mart spent $498 million and garnered four times the revenue: $159 billion split between its Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club stores. The average Wal-Mart store does $46 million in sales each year while its Sam’s Club average store sells $56 million. Sam’s Club does almost no advertising.

Those are old brands, you’re saying. What about some newer brands, Harry?

OK, let’s look at Pets.com. Remember the dog sock puppet that starred in their commercials? It won awards, but not sales. In six months Pets.com had $22 million in revenues and spent four times that much on advertising. Off-base advertising creativity at work.

The Body Shop was built totally by publicity. No advertising at all. Starbucks, until recently, did virtually no advertising. It has built a brand through good PR efforts. Starbucks’ annual sales are around $1.3 billion, while advertising expenditures over 10 years, have totaled less than $10 million.

Finally, what advertising agency do you know that has built its brand with ads? Things that make you go “hmm.”

About the author: Harry Hoover is managing principal of Hoover ink PR, http://www.hoover-ink.com. He has 26 years of experience in crafting and delivering bottom line messages that ensure success for serious businesses like Brent Dees Financial Planning, Duke Energy, Levolor, New World Mortgage, North Carolina Tourism, VELUX and Verbatim.