Entries in Public Relations (8)
If you’d like to brush up your skills or learn something new about writing a book proposal, business blogging, or crafting press releases, come take a course with me this summer. I’m teaching three non-credit courses on these topics, all offered through the corporate/community education division of North Shore Community College.
The Nitty Gritty of the Successful Book Proposal (CSA792)
If you're trying to interest a traditional book publisher in your non-fiction manuscript, you (or your literary agent) will most likely pitch it using a book proposal. Learn how to develop a book proposal that gets attention. Includes how to refine your book concept, assess the competition and the market for your book, and how to quickly develop chapter summaries and a sample chapter. If you are thinking of self-publishing a non-fiction book, you may also find the book proposal exercise has value, because it forces you to crystallize your book idea.
Meets three Mondays, 6:30 to 8:30 pm, June 7 through June 21
Be a Better Business Blogger (CSA793)
Customers, clients, and the media are looking for you online and increasingly, they expect to find not just your website but also a blog. This workshop is for you if you already have a business blog and want to learn how to use it more effectively, how to generate an endless supply of topics for blog posts, and how to keep the blogging process manageable. Please note, this is not a technical course on how to set up a blog; however, would-be bloggers are welcome.
Meets Saturday, June 12, 9 am to 12 noon; also offered on Thursday, August 19 from 6 to 9 pm
Press Release Clinic (CSA795)
Learn how to write an attention-getting media release. This hands-on workshop will show you how to craft a press release that gives editors and other media gatekeepers the information they want, so your business or organization can get the attention you need. Covered topics include: the anatomy of a press release; what to include and what to leave out; and how to get the release out to your target audience. Bring your draft press releases and learn how to improve them on the spot.
Meets two Wednesdays, May 26 and June 2, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm.
All courses will be offered at NSCC’s Danvers Campus. Find more details online at www.northshore.edu/community/index.html under the Writing & Literature category. In the paper version of the Summer 2010 catalog, the courses are listed in the Business Career Courses section on page 11.
Please register online through North Shore Community College (www.northshore.edu). If you have questions about the courses, or would be interested in having this material available through a webinar, please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org .
In his intro to today’s (02/04/10) Reporter Connection email, Steve Harrison made a point about press releases that I thought was worth sharing with you. (Reporter Connection, by the way, is a free media leads service you should subscribe to if you want to know who’s looking for experts to interview and quote; more info here: www.ReporterConnection.com/JoinNowFree/)
Steve Harrison wrote: “Most press releases commit the same unpardonable sin. Last weekend at my church a woman got up and spoke. She droned on and on for ten minutes. I looked around and people were all but falling asleep because she hadn't done what was necessary to get everyone's attention. That's the mistake so many people make when writing press releases, emails and pitch letters. They should start by answering the most important question that really matters to the media and stick to it. That question is "Who cares?" So XYZ Company hires a new manager. Who cares? An author releases a new book. Who cares? Answer that before you write anything more. Got it? Then get to it.”
Amen to that! If you want your press releases to trigger any action on an editor’s part (besides hitting the “Delete” key), you’ve got to overcome the “so what?” factor. In your headline and first paragraph, you must make it absolutely clear why the editor (and by extension, the editor’s audience) should care about your news. A word to the wise: if you are sending a version of your release directly to your market or audience, the same rule still applies.
If you need help turning your press release from a sinner into a winner, contact me at email@example.com .
Even in the middle of the pre-holiday whirl of project wrap-up and gift wrapping, I’m looking ahead to the new year. Here’s a quick heads-up on two speaking engagements coming up in the first half of January 2010:
1. A workshop I’m co-presenting at the Enterprise Center (www.enterprisectr.org) in Salem.
Getting Publicity for Your Business in Print and Digital Media
When: Thursday, January 14 – 8:30 am to 10:30 am, Enterprise Center, Salem, MA
What: With so many messages vying for attention in our wired world, how do you get your company noticed, whether in digital or print media? You must craft your message so that it catches the attention of the media gatekeepers like editors, reporters, and bloggers, and make it appealing to your target audience. Panelists David Thomson of Thomson Communications and Kate Victory Hannisian of Blue Pencil Consulting will offer specific tips and strategies for getting your business noticed. The event is co-sponsored by the Small Business Development Center.
If you’d like to pre-register for this free (but limited-seating) event, here’s the link: http://enterprise20100114.eventbrite.com/.
2. A presentation to the North Shore Business Forum (www.nsbforum.org)
Creating a Good First Impression - Who Are You?
When: Friday, January 15, at 7:30 am at the Danversport Yacht Club
What: How to create your 30-second “elevator pitch” and write an effective bio about yourself. You only get one chance to make a great first impression. Learn how to create your 30-second “elevator pitch” and write a bio that will intrigue your audience and effectively get across who you are and what you can do for them.
Admission is $9, which includes continental breakfast and the meeting. No pre-registration is required. More info at www.nsbforum.org.
Hope to see you at one or both of these events in January.
Last month’s speaking event at the Beverly Chamber of Commerce, on Marketing and Publicity on a Tight Budget, went well. Here’s a link to a photo of me and co-presenter Charlene St. Jean of Purple Diamond LLC, which ran in the Beverly Citizen on 12/4, and the Salem News on 12/15. www.wickedlocal.com/beverly/news/business/x1945280864/Learning-to-work-with-a-tight-budget
If you need to rev up your company’s marketing and publicity efforts but face the constraints of a tight budget, come to a breakfast seminar I’m speaking at next Tuesday, November 17th, to pick up some practical, budget-wise tips for marketing smarter and getting mentioned in the media. My co-presenter is the terrific and knowledgeable Charlene St. Jean, owner of Purple Diamond LLC (www.Purple-Diamond.net), a marketing coaching company and advertising agency based in Beverly, MA. Together, we will show you how to get the most mileage from your marketing dollars, explain what makes an effective press release, and how to work successfully with the media.
The seminar, “Marketing and Publicity on a Tight Budget,” is presented by the Beverly Chamber of Commerce (www.beverlychamber.com) and takes place at Blueberry Hill Healthcare, 75 Brimbal Avenue, in Beverly, MA, from 7:30 to 9 AM on November 17, 2009. Cost is $8 for Beverly Chamber members, $13 for non-members, and includes continental breakfast. Registration is required; contact the Beverly Chamber of Commerce by email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 978 232 9559. Hope to see you there!
For many people, the word “publicity” conjures up thoughts of a press release that’s sent out to print and digital media, but there’s a host of other techniques to use to get publicity for your company, organization, or event. For instance, you could grow a mustache. Seriously. I just learned this morning that men all over the world are growing mustaches during the month of “Movember” to raise awareness and funds for men’s health issues (www.movember.com). A shout-out to Tyson Goodridge, principal of South Hamilton, MA-based social media education and consulting firm Dialogue (www.enterdialogue.com), who is bravely growing a “Movember” mustache – you grow, bro!
With so many messages vying for attention, how do you get your company noticed in the press, whether it’s digital or print media? One key is crafting your message so that it catches the attention of the media gatekeepers like editors, reporters, and bloggers, and appeals to your target audience.
Tomorrow, September 23, I’ll be conducting an “Ask the Expert” session at the Enterprise Center at Salem State (www.enterprisectr.org) on “How to Get My Business the Press Coverage It Deserves.” Having sat on the editor’s side of the desk for 17 years as a B2B journalist, I know what members of the media want to see in a press release or query, and I’ll be talking with session participants about how to get their businesses noticed. (Tomorrow’s session is full, but please contact me if you’d like to learn more about this topic.)
Many factors play into a company’s “media appeal,” but today I’ll focus on one that may seem painfully obvious, but is all too often overlooked when companies send out press releases:
Are you sending a clear message in the headline and very first paragraph about:
- Who you are?
- What your company does?
- What your newsworthy event or quotable expertise is all about?
- Why it matters to a particular audience?
Trust me – the last reaction you want a media gatekeeper to have to your press release is “Gah! What are they talking about?” It’s just too easy to hit the “delete” key – and that’s what is likely to happen if you leave out or are unclear about any of the above.
Remember, the media folks out there do want your news if it is relevant to their target audiences, and they do want to tap you as an expert source if you have credibility and a unique perspective. But it’s up to you to make it easy for them to quickly recognize your company’s newsworthiness, credibility, and relevance – and that all comes back to crafting a clear, concise, and compelling message for your press release.