Press Releases Generic Information For Great Ideas

Dear Everyone;

The attached word.doc has some general information on doing press releases and it may provide an idea or two of what to do when we are ready to release the announcement letter on the police petition.

Please read it over and see what kind of ideas you may have which we can do for the press release which are generated by articles.

Also if any of you have any up to date contact lists of journalists which we could do a broadcast e-mail to please let us know.

For those of you who read directly from yahoo groups which doesn't do attachments see the copy below for the article.

Ron Getty
SF Libertarian


Stop Holding News Conferences —They’re Boring!

A reader wrote this week and asked:

"We are looking for some advice on when to send a media notice to our contacts announcing a press conference. A week prior to the press conference? Two days? Or is it best to hit them a couple of times?"

The Publicity Hound says:

Why do you think it's so difficult to lure the media to news conferences? Here are five reasons:

• They're almost always boring. Sometimes, they don't even result in news.

• If there's a nugget of news to be found, all media walk away with the same story. They hate that. Each media outlet wants its own story, or a different angle on the same story.

• Reporters and photographers often have to battle rush-hour traffic getting there.

• Photographers would much rather photograph events with people, color and motion instead of a bunch of talking heads behind microphones.

• Much of the same information the media can get at a news conference can be emailed to them just as easily.

The short answer: Skip the news conference and instead think of several different angles to pitch to different media outlets.

Or, instead of a news conference, sponsor a clever event. Or think of a way to get the media involved in your event. Several weeks ago, I was part of a teleseminar panel sponsored by Bulldog Reporter. One participant wanted ideas on how to pitch a news conference announcing workshops in which students would learn about nature and the environment. I suggested that instead, they invite reporters to join in one of the activities--building bat houses.

"Creative Alternatives to Boring News Conferences" gives you dozens of ideas on how to steer clear of these cliche events and, instead, create an exciting event that will pull the media like a magnet. You'll also learn the one time you SHOULD call a news will save your butt and it might even save your job.

Please Stop Announcing Things

As the debate rages on about whether news releases are less relevant than ever, the fact remains that most Publicity Hounds still write them.
That's why you must do everything possible to make your releases so compelling that they capture a reporter's interest within five seconds.

Here's something you can do to make that happen. Try to banish the following words from your news releases:


Why? Because announcements are not news. The gist of the announcement is news. Besides, an "announcement" sounds so contrived and overused.

Let's say you want to publicize a fund-raiser that your group will sponsor two months from now. Many people would write the release saying "The 5-mile run for multiple sclerosis was announced yesterday..."

That sentence immediately dates your release. It makes it sound as though the news occurred yesterday when, in fact, it won't happen for another two months. The best news releases are those with present tense or future tense leads. Like this:

"The Bay View Kiwanis Club will try to raise $20,000 for multiple sclerosis with a 5-mile run on October 17."

You can't always eliminate those four words from your releases. But I want you to pause every time you are tempted to write them. Then ask yourself, "Is there another word I can substitute?" or "If the announcement isn't the news, what is?"

Don’t Write One-Size-Fits-All Press Releases

When you write a news release, do you write different versions of the same release--emphasizing different things in the first paragraph--depending on what media outlet you're sending it to?

Smart Publicity Hounds do. They want every magazine editor to read their releases and say, "Aha! This is perfect for our audience!" Yet too few people bother with different versions. They send the same old one-size-fits-all vanilla release to everyone on their media list, even though those media may be very different.

What a mistake.

I was reminded of this last week when my friend Don Crowther, who sells corporate gift baskets online, told me he was subscribing to The Gift List, a service that provides names and contact information for more than 250 publications and broadcast outlets that are planning special holiday gift sections or features. Don thinks his gift baskets would be a perfect fit in these sections. I agree.

But he was in quandary about how to write the news release. His baskets include top-quality gourmet chocolate, candy and coffees packed in a variety of containers.

Shoppers who visit his website at will find a Whitewashed Birdhouse for gardeners. Or the red Radio Flyer Wagon for a favorite kid, or a kid at heart. The antique lover on your gift list might love the antique-looking sea trunk made of solid wood with leather trimmed straps that snap closed. There's even The Hidden Clock, an accent piece that serves a practical purpose: as a clock and as an attractive storage container. The embossed metal container sits on curved legs. When you lift the lid, the clock appears to hold the lid open.

I told Don he can take the easy way out with one news release for everyone. "But don't expect much response from the media," I said. "Editors don't want to wade through a long list of gifts to see if there's one that will fit the needs of their audience, then rewrite the release."

If he really wants to impress editors, he should send a release about the Whitewashed Birdhouse gift basket, along with a photo, to gardening and bird magazines. Send a news release highlighting the Radio Flyer wagon, and a photo, to kids' publications and parenting magazines. A release describing the antique looking sea trunk can be sent to magazines devoted to boats, travel, the outdoors, and so on.

The next time you're tempted to write one news release for everyone, ask yourself if there are certain elements of your product, service, cause, issue or event that should be highlighted for certain publications. The extra time it takes to write one more release, or several more, will be well worth it.
Why Your Photo is So Important to Your Publicity Campaign

Whenever I send a news release about something I've done to my local newspapers or trade journals, I hardly ever hear feedback from my neighbors or peers, even when I know it's been printed.

But when I send my photo with the release and it's printed, I hear a chorus that sounds like this:

"I saw your picture in the paper!"

"Did you know you're in the most recent issue of PR Tactics?"

"Hey, I was Googling last week and your photo showed up on a website for writers. I thought your article was terrific."

That's music to The Publicity Hound's ears. That's because in the majority of cases, a photo attracts readers' attention and draws them to the news item.

Yet journalists remain continually frustrated by the inability of publicists and others who pitch to understand the incredible power of photos. Freelance writer Pat Luebke, who writes for the restaurant and aviation industries, says a lack of photos is one of her top pet peeves.

"People keep trying to get into more and more newspapers and magazines," she says. "If they'd only understand that especially with the digital cameras that are available today, making photos available to editors automatically DOUBLES the space you receive."

Gina Spadofori, who writes a syndicated pet page for Universal Press Syndicate, says she has a continual problem finding good images to fill a small hole on a page.

"The availability of high-quality, high-resolution art can tip a 'maybe' item into the 'yes' category," she says.

In fact, one good-quality photo that accompanies your story pitch can automatically move a story from Page 21 to Pages 1, 2 or 3 in a newspaper or magazine. Craig Saunders, editor of Prism, Canada's magazine for eye care, echoes what many other magazine editors say:

"In the front section of our magazine, nothing gets in without good photos--nothing!"
I have my own pet peeves regarding photos. A man in a photo looks as though he has a plant growing out of the top of his head. One woman gave me a photo of her in a sleeveless blouse, with her bra strap showing. One person gave me a snapshot of him and his dog. The dog had the dreaded "red eye" problem that we see so frequently, leading us to wonder if all dogs and even people have red eyes.

I became so frustrated with these problems that I wrote "How to Use Photos & Graphics in Your Publicity Campaign," a 138-page ebook that walks you step by step through the entire process of how to take your own photos and create your own graphics. The ebook includes everything from a thorough explanation of camera equipment and the elements of great photos to things such as the pros and cons of prints versus digital photos, how to optimize photos for your website so it loads quickly, how to take photos at your own special event if the media refuses to cover it, and how to use creative photos for routine announcements like births, weddings and anniversaries.

Those of you who need to hire a professional photographer will find an entire chapter devoted to saving you time and money finding the best professional for the job. It also lists the important questions to ask photographers so you don't find yourself in a legal battle over the use of photos years later.

You'll find tips for pitching "stand-alone" photos, ideas on how to get an entire page of pre-event coverage, and 18 ways to stay on a photographer's good side. Learn about dozens of bonehead mistakes you shouldn't be making. You can download the ebook and be reading it in just a few minutes.

What to do When Reporters are Jerks

Here's a common problem Publicity Hounds run into when they're so eager for publicity that they'll do almost anything for a journalist.

Last week, a reader asked, "I spent a lot of time talking to a reporter and we really hit it off. But when she wrote the article, I was surprised to see she used my information, but she didn't use my name. What should I do?"
I hear similar complaints from people who actually do research for a journalist, turn over their information, but are never even mentioned in the article.

Here's what I'd do if one of those two things happened to me. If it was a short interview, I'd ignore the urge to complain. If the reporter called again, I'd ask specifically if the reporter planned to mention me by name in the article. If the answer is "no" or "I don't know," I'd give the reporter what she needs but wouldn't spend extra time on it.

But if I had spent an inordinate amount of time gathering information for the initial interview, and she never mentioned my name, I'd call the reporter and say that I was really glad I could help. "But I was disappointed that you never mentioned my name. I'm curious. Why did that happen?"

It could be that a copy editor had to cut the story and deleted the attribution.

Then I'd ask the reporter to please keep me in mind if she's working on another story in which I would be a good fit--but to contact me only if she's willing to attribute the information to me. That drives home the point that I'm still willing to help her, but only if she's willing to make it up to me.

If she gets mad and never calls me again, so what? You can't lose a good media contact that was never a good media contact to begin with.

How would you handle this dilemma and others like it? If you're a publicist, have you devised a way to deal with reporters who are jerks? Has a reporter ever asked for special favors, then not given you or your client credit? If you've followed the advice above, has it worked? If you're a media person, what suggestions can you share about how to increase the chances that a source will be named in an article?

Not naming sources who provide a lot of information is only one of many quirks you'll find among journalists. Former reporter Al Guyant says it's important that you know what else to expect and how to react to it when dealing with reporters.

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