Archive for Writing Great Press Releases

Press Release: How to Jazz Up Your Announcements

Are you using the power of online press releases to promote your events, products or services? Anyone who uses the Internet to market should be posting as many press releases online as possible. They’re easy to write, and they contribute to getting found on the Web. You also benefit from links back to your site.

I recently posted about all the different kinds of writing tasks required when you promote an event or product. These include sales pages, email promotional messages, survey questions, video clip scripts, curriculum and messages on Facebook and Twitter.

Press releases are essential. The more you announce your event or product in different ways the better.

For example, we posted three different press release in the two weeks prior to an event start date. We didn’t just write an announcement about what we were doing. A press release to say we’re doing a teleseminar is boring. Who cares?

The focus of all three press releases was on the problems our audience faced.

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Wishy-Washy Writing: Just delete these 5 words

This is worth reading and not just because it echoes my thoughts every time I read someone’s blog writing that’s too wishy-washy: 5 Words You Can Cut Out, from the Daily Writing Tip:

  1. just
  2. really
  3. quite
  4. perhaps
  5. that

I have to add two:

  1. maybe
  2. very

Every time you re-read your writing, be on the look-out for these wishy-washy offenders and make your writing stronger, better.

Free Publicity: How to Create a Media Plan

How do you get free publicity for your business? How can you create a well thought-out media plan to catch the attention of frazzled news directors, busy reporters and grumpy editors?

If you don’t have a penny to spend on advertising and you want the world to know about your product, service, or cause, then you need to know how to get the attention of the media, according to Joan Stewart, aka The Publicity Hound.

Because of the importance of media publicity for a growing business, The Blog Squad is interviewing Joan Stewart Wednesday January 16, 2008 at 5 p.m. ET, for their monthly mentor program teleseminar series, Blogging and Beyond.

Attendance is free, but you must be a member of the Blogging and Beyond Mentor Program. You can join the program at A 30 day trial membership is only $9.95.

The seminar will be delivered simultaneously via telephone and live webcast where participants can submit their questions directly to The Blog Squad and The Publicity Hound.

Business Writing: Are You Using Gobbledygook?

David Meerman Scott updated his Goobledygook Manifesto this week. He proves his point: news releases from company and pr writers use the same old worn-out empty phrases … worse than a teenager’s annoying talk, like totally inane.

I’m reprinting David’s graph here just so you can see the catch phrases to avoid in your next piece of writing for the web.Gobbledygook_us_2007_5

The words mentioned most often were similar to last year’s analysis. In North America – next generation (10,427 mentions), robust (8868 mentions), flexible (8515 mentions), and world class (7887 mentions) were the leaders.

Others are easy to use, scalable, cutting edge, well positioned, market leading, mission critical, turnkey, groundbreaking, industry standard, user friendly, enterprise class, best of breed, enterprise wide, interoperable, extensible, and breakthrough.

News Release Heaven: How to get there

Bicep_male_flexed_armThey say the more you do something, the bigger your muscles get and the easier it is. Writing news releases has always been heavy lifting for me.

Somehow, using the mental imagery technique I described in the post "Writing: How the first sentence is like the serve in tennis," I cranked out 3 press releases yesterday without much struggle.

Maybe this stuff really works: deep breathing and telling myself I’m really good at this. Or, just maybe, all of the online studying on how to write a press release has kicked in.

Like most things in life, success is usually preceded by doing something poorly and practicing the hell out of it. It helps to have good teachers and coaches along the way.

My press release writing teacher is Joan Stewart, aka The Publicity Hound.  Joan actually gives away her knowledge about writing good news releases in an email tutorial, "89 Ways to Write Powerful Press Releases." You can learn from her too if you sign up, it’s free. 

On Writing: Stephen King’s Advice Extended for the Web

Here’s a nugget gleaned from 37 Signals’ Signal vs Noise blog about writing advice given by master story teller Stephen King in his book On Writing:

"Formula for success: 2nd Draft = 1st Draft – 10%…"

I’m one of those  picky writers who  trained as an editor in an earlier life, so I even reread my emails before sending. I hate typos and errors and excess words. And I commit these faults frequently.

That is why I recommend rereading everything before sending or publishing. If you’re a writer of anything on the Web, you owe it to yourself to become nit-picky. Or get a professional editor or even a friend to review before you publish.

True, much of what is written in blogs is rife with errors, and some younger writers seem to not care so much about form as content. But the rules of grammar and spelling weren’t invented by anal-retentive professors bent on slapping knuckles. They are there for good reason: to avoid ambiguousness and confusion.

And there is an additional reason this is important when you are writing for the web:

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“Press Release Must Die” Panel at BlogHer Wants New Parameters for Social Media Formatting

Press releases are getting major overhauls these days, turning the traditional PR format into more user-friendly versions that facilitate journalists’ jobs of finding information faster.

Julie Crabill from SHIFT Communications participated on a panel at BlogHer called "The Press Release Must Die,"  along with Bambi Francisco of MarketWatch, moderated by Erin Kotecki Vest of the Huffington Post.

The whole idea is to create press releases that are more useful and convenient for journalists, giving them deeper information and better information through links to blogs, audio and video files, as well as RSS feeds and tags.

Social20media20pr20template I posted about this new social media press release previously and make this new template available to you here through SHIFT Communications:

Download NewPRsmprtemplate.pdf

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Writing Great Press Releases: Tips from The Hound

Blogging and Beyond: Episode 9
New Rules for Press Releases
with guest expert Joan Stewart, the Publicity Hound

MP3 File
During the show we talked a bit about Craigslist and what a great place it is to get free exposure for your company.  But you have to do it right or they will cancel your account.  Check out Joan’s program about Craigslist.

Marketing with Press Releases: 10 Steps to Writing an Internet Press Release

How to Write an Internet Press Release to Attract Media, Customers, and Google Juice
©2007 Patsi Krakoff, Psy. D. & Denise Wakeman, The Blog Squad

Journalist_writers_block To leverage the Internet effectively for your business, you must learn to write press releases. Submitting frequent press releases to the online distribution services will get you exposure to media, customers, and improve your search engine rankings.

Press releases are relatively simple, but not easy to write. They take some time to craft because you must tell your story in a compelling way, and deliver the facts in the fewest words possible. In addition, like a news story, they should follow basic journalism standards. Oh, and did I mention, they need a clever hook to really work? All that in only 350-500 words.

The following is what I do when I write a press release for The Blog Squad. I trained as a journalist years ago. However, standards for writing press releases are evolving for the Internet.

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Press Releases as Marketing Tools

Exxtra_read_all_about_it_2 I just finished posting about Joan Stewart’s "New Rules" for press releases when my feed reader let me know that Lee Odden also posted similar news about the way press releases play into your marketing mix.

His great post goes into more details and gives 10 tips on how to write a release for search optimization, so you won’t want to miss it.