Each Week, TNNWC presents an article written by one of its top guns (actually, top minds) offering you EXPERT INFORMATION AND ADVICE for powering up and growing your business. This is some of the best information available. Read it, think about it, and then PUT IT TO WORK.
This Week’s Article by
Kent Martin, Divisional President & CSE,
News Releases, Publicity and Public Relations
When we last connected, we looked at how a news release should be constructed. Here are a few more notes to consider when putting together a news release to help your business draw attention to its accomplishments. We follow them when we put together announcements for our member customers at TNNWC.
First, think creatively when writing it. Remember that editors see scores of news releases everyday. Yours may be the 20th or 30th one they’ve read that day. You have to grab their attention in the first or second sentence or you’ll lose them. Again, it is really no different from a sales pitch. You have to grab your prospect’s attention in the first 30 seconds or you’ll lose any chance you might have of closing a deal. It’s the same with news releases.
I remember one colleague of mine whose client was introducing a new phone service that offered lower prices if members of the same family signed up. (Yes, I’m going back a few years to the beginning of the cell phone wars but it illustrates an important point I want to make.) An added incentive was the offer to sell additional phones at a discount for this family plan. The net result would be more family members could have their own phones at affordable prices.
The news release my colleague wrote began something like this: “Well I was talking with my dad the other and you know how he’s always complaining and whining and griping about how much time I spend talking with you on the phone and how he can never find time to make his own calls because I’m always using the phone and he always makes such a federal case out of it and it’s so annoying! And I tell him but I have to do my homework and I have to talk with Josie and Angie because you know how you’re my best friends after all and we always figure out how to do the hardest homework assignments together! And like my grades are pretty good and it’s because we’re talking about our assignments and if I have to give up the phone to let my Dad talk well, I just don’t see how I’m going to get good grades, y’know?”
And his release went on from there to talk about the need for more than one or two phones in a family. But not only did my colleague capture the way a teenager talks, he also wrote the entire preceding monologue without spaces. It was one single block of copy, again, much like a teenager talks. Non-stop. Believe me, it would grab any editor’s attention.
Granted, you may not have as exciting an announcement to make as my friend did but you see how a little creativity can go a long way to breaking through the clutter of media that bombard editors every day.
Another way to use a news release is to announce an event, such as a news conference or a ribbon-cutting to open your newest branch office. These news releases need to be short and even broken up into bullet points. All you’re trying to do is capture an assignment editor’s attention and make them save the date. Tell them the who, what, where, when and why behind the event. And be sure the why is compelling. Don’t necessarily give away all of the details behind the event. In other words, don’t give an editor all of the details so all they have to do is rewrite the release without attending your event. Maybe your CEO is going to speak or a local lawmaker or other official will be on hand. Then the day of the event, be ready with a complete news release to be distributed to the media.
News conferences and similar events are very useful is drawing publicity to your company. They’re a topic for a future episode. Next episode, however, I want to talk with you about a phenomenon that is dominating the communications landscape, something you’ve heard about and may already be employing: Social media. If the very phrase bothers you or doesn’t interest you, you still need to know about it. Why? Because I’m willing to bet your competition already knows about it and is using it to beat you. We’ll help you learn how to use it to your advantage here at TNNWC.
Divisional President & CSE, News Releases, Publicity and Public Relations
TNNWC Group, LLC
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