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Sometimes we write like we talk. This is becoming a problem with press releases, articles and how we write emails. Even savvy publicity writers who write for pr clients, or publicity professionals will usually fail once in awhile with grammar in their releases.writing press releases

You may not think it is important, but editors, reporters write and read for a living and they do not tolerate poor grammar, or the use of conjunctions to make long sentences. I read an article in Press-Release-Writing titled “Get a Grip on Grammar“. It has a lot of the tips I give my pr clients. Let me share with you a few of these from the article.

Q: I’ve heard the terms biweekly and semiweekly used interchangeably. Are they really synonyms?
A: A bimonthly appointment occurs once every two months. A semimonthly appointment occurs twice a month. If you’re a gardener, it will be easier to remember the difference between “bi” and “semi” – just think of the term “biennial” and it’ll be a cinch to remember.

Q: When is a comma used before the conjunction “and”?
A: A comma should be used before coordinating conjunctions (e.g., and, but, or) to join closely related sentences. A comma is optional, but recommended, with and before the last item in a series of three or more items. In most of their other roles as joiners (aside from joining independent clauses), coordinating conjunctions can join two sentence elements without the help of a comma…

Q: When are “state” and “federal” capitalized?
A: State and Federal are capitalized when they exist as part of a proper name such as “Federal Reserve Bank”; however, “state law” is not a proper name, so it is not capitalized.

These are just a few common problems that any pr professional, pr client, or novice writer should keep in mind when writing any releases, or articles. If you need further help with your current publicity campaign, give Carson Marketing, Inc a call at 949-477-9400. Ask for George Carson.

Ok, you want to know how do you get free publicity, right? It isn’t easy. You just completed your pr marketing strategies for next year and included publicity as part of the plan. Now you arefree publicity looking at getting free publicity as part of the marketing strategy. Well, there are no special formulas, trick words, or how you “optimize” your press release that will garner you all that free publicity. When you think about this topic, what is free? Are you willing to not pay someone to write a press release, or pay a pr distribution company, like business wire, to submit your releases? What about the do-it-yourself approach? Sure, if you don’t value your time or pay yourself anything, then I guess you got the release for free. That still leaves the media. If you do not have the contacts, your release, or article may never get published.

When people say they got “FREE publicity”, ask them if they paid for any of the services I just mentioned. In reality, free refers to the media. Unless you pay for an advertorial, or a press release to be published, then it is free. Unlike an ad, which you pay for that space (this even includes traditional publications, online media, social networks, etc) publicity is something that editors will allow to be printed in their media without cost. You need to realize that the editor, or publisher has the right to refuse, or publish any releases or articles. Whether it is about a new product, or service, it is up to that publication if they want to run it.

So how do you really get Free PR? Hire a professional company that knows how to write press releases/articles and has the media contacts, Then you may get the FREE PR everyone is bragging about. If your company wants free publicity and can’t do it in-house, give Carson Marketing, Inc a call.

There can never be enough said about writing a good press release.

Most pr clients, pr agencies, and publicity professionals try to overwrite press releases. By that I mean, they want press release writingto produce dozens of press releases to justify their existence and their fees. Without a series of press releases, most publicity professionals, and pr agencies will not survive. I don’t believe in writing just to write for the sake of a retainer fee. It is best to have a solid pr plan that includes a lot of other publicity activities, but that’s another topic.

Let’s get into writing good press releases that will get published.

1- The trap most press releases fall into is no relevance. Too often they do not have information that relates to any specific industry, or the information is a sales pitch. Keep away for phrases such as “out-of-this-world”, “amazing”, “wild”, etc. When writing, try to see it through a journalistic view. How would a reporter, or editor react to your release?

2- What’s important to the consumer or market? Give factual information that will explain why your product or service will have to help the consumer, or improve a situation in the market. Write for your audience.

3- Provide all the necessary contact information. This should include all the people that an editor, or reporter can contact should they want more information, or to follow up.

4- The HEADLINE. Make sure it is not storytelling. It should create interest without being too creative

5- Main paragraph. This is important. It needs to quickly explain and tell– who–what–where–and why of your press release. Most editors will only read the first or second paragraph, so make sure all the important information is in this part.

6- Main body. Now you can further explain with support data about the product or service.

7- Summary. It is ok to repeat some of the information that you had in the first paragraph. Just don’t repeat every word. Always close with the name, address and phone number of the company the press release is about.

Finally, keep the press release short. Some publicity professionals feel they get paid for each word. So they tend to write 2 or 3 or more pages. If the information is that technical, or requires a lot of explaining, then create a short version to get the attention of an editor to contact you for further information. Remember, editors get thousands of releases and if you make it difficult to read, or too long to say what is important, your release becomes recycle paper. I suggest you keep a press release down to 400 and no more than 500 words. Fewer than 400 is best. If you need more help go to this site, which provides information on press release formatting:  http://www.press-release-writing.com/press-release-template.htm.

It is now a new year, yet I see pr clients, manufacturers, and companies still submitting press releases that are written for them, not for the media.

It is not rocket science, but it does take a flare and talent to write a press release that the media will publish. A few common mistakes when writing a press release: Headlines are too long and do not say what the news is about, it doesn’t announce the main objective of the release; another point, the body of the releases usually are written as if it is a newsletter, or boasting how great the company is and forgets to address the issue at hand. Then the poorly written release doesn’t tell you whom to contact, instead directs you to their site, or gives a general phone number to call.writing press releases

A good release should have a strong headline, announce in the first sentence what you want the reader to know. Remember, each publication has readers; it is up to the editors, reporters to have interesting articles and information that keeps readers subscribing. This is true of any newspaper or magazine, or online media news. Knowing this, you should identify the audience of the publication you are submitting the release, and then fine-tune the information to fit that readers profile. Speak to them, not at them.

If you are a PR Client that tells their PR Agency, or your internal publicity writer how to create the press release, then you are doing more harm than good for your company. PR Clients need to let the professionals do their job. The president or CEO of a company should check the releases for accuracy, but not dictate how to write the release.

Many web sites are available to teach the basics of writing releases. If you Google the words “write press releases” a list of sites will appear. This is a good place to start. Some other free sites that offer information are New Venture Publishing, PR Web, and a Publicity Insider and many others.

Now it’s time to start the year in the right direction of writing and submitting good press releases. If you are in need of some help with your publicity campaign, or need writing help, give us a call. We will make you look and sound great!

If you are a pr client, then take notes, this can help you get press releases published. If you are a small pr agency, make sure you know these tips.

It seems when pr clients have press releases they feel the “world” wants to know all aboutpress release distribution it and cannot understand why it hasn’t been published. To get press releases published, you should first start in your own local backyard. This means contact your local media. Local newspapers, radio shows, TV reporters, and even online eMagazines. When you do this, it will help build your company name among the media. Even local papers, and other local media get the attention of national press. So start in this manner and then follow these steps.

To find the types of local media in your area, there are many sources you can use. Since we are in the age of Internet, this should be your first place to research. It is best to Google, or Yahoo the industry you or your pr client is in. I’ll give you a few places to look, such as:

Media Post. This lists all the media in the US

NewsLin.org provides a list of countries for media sources

ABYZ News Links, this also is a directory of countries

I need to mention that you or your pr client must have a web site. Why? In today’s fast moving world, a company’s web sites are a source for media, reporters to verify information, or to collect additional information about a company. After the press release is professionally written, now where do you submit it? Begin with the local media– newspapers, magazines in your area.

Then use the online sources. Some of these are: PRWeb.com. This site allows free distribution of releases. Another Free online site is Free-Press-Release.com. Many other excellent online sources exist. But start small and build your own media list that is specific to your industry.

Remember to post these press releases on your pr client’s web site. Having a “newsroom” is what reporters; editors look for when visiting a company site. If you need more help or tips for press release distribution, call us at CarsonPR. We can get you noticed!

As a PR Client you need to follow the rules

Publicity agencies and pr clients sometimes loose sight of how to write a press release for the media.

Get your pr release noticed by editorsWhen you submit a release to a publisher, editor, or a freelance writer, it is important to follow the basic rules when writing "newsworthy" releases.

All releases should follow these simple rules:
• WHO
• WHY
• WHERE
• CONTACT

Keep in mind WHO the publication’s audience is when writing. Sometimes it is necessary to modify a release if the audience varies even slightly.

Know WHY it is an important release. The product or service may be important to you, but what about the readers and your industry. Make it important to them and the editors will then not toss your release into the trash.

If the press release has a location, such as an event, seminar, or announcement of the unveiling, be sure to mention this. Otherwise, pr clients need to list the location as their main office, or headquarters. Publicity agencies need to also list the pr clients location, not theirs.

Finally, put the contact info for the pr client. The publicity agency should also include their contact info as the focal point. Be sure the person listed is available to respond in a timely manner.

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Publicity 101

How many times have you or a pr client tried to contact a customer about an important issuekeeping the press informed only to realize they are out of town? Wasted time? Maybe. More than that is the frustration of not reaching that person.

Now imagine a reporter, editor, or publisher trying to contact you, but you were unavailable. Maybe you were at a trade show, or at a new business meeting, or in a seminar, or just traveling.

At first you would think, hey, they’ll leave a message. Not really. These are reporters who have deadlines to meet. They will pass you up and go to the next person on their list.

How do you avoid loosing the call? Simple, leave a voice message on your phone that says, "if you are a reporter or from the press, please call me at (leave a cell phone number), or leave your number and I’ll call back within a couple of hours.

Make sure that you check your office voice mail messages frequently. And if it is your cell phone that you give to the press, be sure to check that message box often as well.

Being available to the press for a story that you are pitching is extremely important. The media works on their time, not yours. Keeping this in mind should make your pr clients realize that positive publicity can only be accomplished when you make yourself available to the press.

What you should not do is send emails of your schedule to the media. That is a waste of time and the reporters are not your secretaries, so respect them and not bother these media people with nonsense emails.

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Photos are important for publicity

Before you send out that press release or article to the editors or publishers of a magazine, make sure you analyze the photos. This means to make sure the photos are:

  • Not boring
  • Has a visual that is of interest
  • Captures the mood you want
  • Is creative

These are a few tips to consider when submitting photos in any publicity campaign for pr clients.

Another tip is to make sure when you include people that the photos are not showing a smiling person if the release, or article is of a serious nature. A book titled "How to use Photos and Graphics in your Publicity Campaign" sums up a lot of the mistakes publicity people make too often. Whether are in the publicity industry, working for a pr firm, or happen to be a pr client doing your own stuff, this book could help. It is not telling you things you probably don’t already know, but it will keep you in line with the things to look for when including photos with your pr campaign.

In addition, you need to consider different angles of the subject. Of course, if the release is about a product, there are only so many ways to shoot it, right? Wrong. Be creative, but not too creative. The purpose of the photos is to help visually get the message across and offers the publisher, or other media, an option to use when publishing the release or article.

Just like a good ad has more potential of being noticed and read, a well written release with good photos has a greater chance of being published.

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Good pr copy

We live in a fast paced world, not having enough time to read a good book or a complete article. Maybe that’s why blogs are popular, what do you think?

Ok, let’s look at how to get people, like editors, publishers, reporters and your audience to read your copy. It doesn’t matter if you are writing a press release, an article for a magazine, copy for your web site or sales materials. These all need to follow the basic steps of writing clear and concise copy with enough flare to keep the interest of the reader. Your pr clients will at first want more fluff. Following the basic rules will get you more results.

I came across an article titled "Seven Steps to Writing Copy Your Market Will Actually Read". The title alone gives you the feeling that there is some value to reading it, right? Well, that’s the point the author was making.

Daphne Gray-Grant outlines her seven rules in easy to follow language. Most of which is common sense, but in today’s competitive industries, we cannot take things for granted.

A couple of tips are to use short, two-syllable words over three and four-syllables. This she adds is true with sentences. Keep them short. I like the fact she addresses what "short" means. It is about 14 words.

For publicity writing, make sure to eliminate cliches from your press releases, story’s and any letters to editors, or reporters.

Use these tips and maybe you will begin to see positive results.

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Look inside the company for possible new articles

It is the job of the publicity professional to find that special slant, or angle to get an article visibility in the media. Without going into controversial issues, you can find lots of potential publicity articles by looking at your own company closer than normal.

Most of the media will accept these as possible articles, but it only takes one publisher to run the article to make this a successful campaign. It will also keep the company name visible to editors, writers and other media, so when you send other releases, you will be a familiar name to them.

There’s and article titled "What’s Your Backstory?" that hits my point home. For years I have tried to get clients to think outside of the publicity box. This isn’t always easy, because new ideas tend to scare pr clients into thinking, "who wants to read that?". But that isn’t always true. A publicity expert can transform a good story into an interesting article, without adding false or misleading information.

An example the article gave was for a doctor. Here is a short list of topics for a doctor:

  • What experience led the doctor to enter the medicine field?
  • What was or is the most difficult case ever faced
  • Humorous situations the doctor encountered
  • Try an angle on interns, the doctor mentored

I am sure you see how digging deeper into a company can uncover other publicity angles. When your publicity agency begins to develop the pr campaign, the best public relations service you can do is to provide something in the "backstory" or a human interest on a specific executive. Try it, you can only gain more exposure with the press by doing this.

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