PUR3000 ch. 14

Flashcard maker : Lily Taylor
press release
-today’s basic version of a news release
-most commonly used PR tactic
-started in 1906 with Ivy Lee ; Penn. railroad
traditional media rely on basic news releases for two reasons
1. the reality of mass comm today is that reporters and editors spend most of their time processing info, not gathering it
2. no media enterprise has enough staff to cover every single event in a community
PR people are…?
the newspaper’s “unpaid reporters”
Primary purpose of news release…
The dissemination of information -“news”– to mass media such as newspapers, broadcast stations and magazines (which also have online components)
PRPs want one of two possible outcomes when they send a release to the media
1. The release will generate enough interest in the reader (editor, producer, etc.) that he/she will follow up by writing a more in-depth story about the subject, covering the event, etc.
2. The release will be used as is
planning a news release
-What is the key message?
-Who is the primary audience for the release?
-What does the target audience gain from the product or service?
-What objective does the release serve?
-Is a news release the best format for the information?
Journalists’ criteria for news
-Value, benefit to their audience
-Human interest
-Visual appeal (photos ; video)
*PRPs have to think like journalists, make their information relevant, and be great story tellers.
News release format
-written like a news story in “inverted pyramid” style, following basic journalistic tenets.
-Summary lede
-Quotes, using readable attribution: “he said/she said”
-Background grafs / boiler plates / nut grafs
-Feature-style writing can be employed for releases with nominal hard news value (human interest).
Basic Online News Release
? Use single spacing.
? Keep the news release to 200 words or less.
? Use the inverted pyramid approach, in which the most important information is first, followed by less important details.
? The top line should give the name of the organization and perhaps its logo.
? The second line should give the date
? The third line should be the headline in boldface with a slightly larger font than the text. This often serves as the subject line in an e-mail, so it should give the key message in 20 words or less. It’s also important to include a key word or phrase for search engine optimization (SEO).
? Provide the city of origination at the start of the lead paragraph (e.g., Chicago).
? Write a succinct lead of only two or three sentences that gives the essence of the news release.
? Use a pull quote as part of the news release. This is a quote highlighted in a box that gives a major point about the release.
? Provide links in the news release so that readers can easily click on sites that provide related information.
? The last paragraph should provide basic information about the organization.
?Should end with the name, phone number, and e-mail address of PR contact person so a reporter/blogger can easily contact for more info
-multimedia release/ “smart media release”/ social media news release
-pioneered by major electronic distribution services (Business Wire, PR Newswire, etc.)
-possible to embed a news release w/ high-resolution photos/graphics, video and audio
-Search engine optimization
-process of carefully selecting key words for the news release that make the content easily retrievable
-popularity of social media also incorporated
-PRPs often write multiple versions of news releases, one for media & one optimized for web
PRWeek reporter McGuire gives some tips for using smart news releases
-include links to pages where multiple instances of your key words/phrases reinforce message
-place terms in key positions like headlines & first paragraphs
-distribute release through service that carries hyperlinks to downstream sites like AOL news
-go link crazy; they will confuse journalists and draw focus away from key message
-use low-resolution images
-use all tools, all the time. Focus first on message
Publicity photos
-Print and electronic news releases are often accompanied by a photo
Eight elements of publicity photos to consider
-Subject matter: “grip-n-grin” photo (person receiving award and shaking hands); large group photo
-Composition: recommend (1) tight shots w/ minimum background (2) emphasis on detail (3) limiting wasted space by reducing gaps b/t people
-Camera Angle
-Lighting: background is important; outside shots require using sun to advantage
media kit (press kit)
-news releases ; publicity photos are often included
-usually prepared for major events and new product launches
-gives editors and reporters a variety of information and resources
contents of a media kit
-9X12 folder w/ inside pockets
(1) basic news release
(2) a news feature about product/service
(3) fact sheet about product, org, or event
(4) photos
(5) bios on spokesperson or chief execs
(6) basic brochure
(7) contact info
-EPKs: electronic media kits
-Distributed via email, website, CD or flash drive
-saves companies TONS of money
E-Kits include
-Short videos
-News releases
-Fact sheets
-Thumbnail sketches
-High res photos
-Industry links
-Trademark information
-Executive officer photos
Mat releases
-called “mat” b/c they were sent in mat form (ready for the printing press)
-Uses feature angle instead of a summary lead (lede)
-Geared toward providing helpful consumer information/tips about a variety of subjects with only brief mention of the nonprofit or corporation (canned features)
-regular column that features expert
-An entire color page layout that a newspaper can publish without cost (Family Features pioneered this concept)
Media alerts
-PR staff will send a memo to reporters and editors about a conference or event they may wish to cover
-Most common format of media alert/media advisory is short, bulleted items
-One-line headline
-Brief paragraph outlining the story idea or event
-Some of Journalism’s five Ws and H or contact for more information
Two kinds of fact sheets
1. Summary sheet of facts and stats about a new product or event that serves as a quick reference for journalists writing a story
-often distributed as part of a media kit or news release to give supplemental info about product
2. corporate profile: one-page, bulleted list summary that gives the basic facts about an organization or company (purpose is same as that of product fact sheet; so reporters can verify basic facts)
corporate profiles may use headings that provide:
-org’s full name
-products or services offered
-org’s annual revenues
-# of employees
-names and one-paragraph biographies of top execs
-markets served
-its position in the industry
-any other pertinent detail
Pitching a Story
-to contact journalists on a one-to-one basis and convince them that you have a newsworthy idea
-A short letter or note to the editor that tries to grab their attention
-Public relations people also use pitches to ask editors to assign a reporter to a particular event
-Pursue a feature angle on an issue or trend
-Book a spokesperson on a forthcoming show
Basic guidelines for pitching by e-mail
-don’t try to be cute; tell them what you have to offer
-keep message brief
-dont include attachments unless reporter is expecting you to do so
-don’t send “blast” e-mails to large # of editors
-send tailored e-mail pitches to specific reporters & editors; pitch should be relevant to their beats and publications
-regularly check names in e-mail databases to remove redundant recipients
-give editors the option of getting off your e-mail list
-establish an e-mail relationship
The 2013 Tek Group online newsroom survey report (assigned extra reading this unit) states …
that 93 percent of journalists list email as their preferred method of receiving pitches (releases, alerts, etc.).
Media materials can be distributed by 5 major methods:
(1) first-class mail
(2) fax
(3) e-mail
(4) electronic wire services
(5) online newsrooms
electronic news services
-two major newswires: Business Wire & PR Newswire
-No paper is involved; release is automatically entered into appropriate databases & search engines
Online newsrooms should have at minimum…
(1) current & archived news releases
(2) the names, phone #s and direct e-mails of PR contacts
(3) photographs
(4) product information
(5) an opportunity for journalists to sign up for a daily RSS feed if they regularly cover that particular company/industry
tips for org’s website
-important to keep website up-to-date b/c journalists go first to an org’s website for info
-documents should have printer-friendly versions
-keep the info simple
-make high-res. photos available that can be used for publication
-link pressroom to company home page
PR Copywriting
-Social media content
-Ad copy
-Brochures, fliers, annual reports
-Articles / op eds
-Web site content
Media interviews: uncontrolled contexts

Contexts: 1) interviews for news stories; 2) public service shows; 3) “infotainment” formats

-The PRP’s roles:
-Securing ; arranging the interview
-Preparing the interviewee to relay key messages; be telegenic, pleasant, and brief; and remember the needs/goals of the media outlet (i.e. provide information of value to its audience)
-Actually serving as interviewee (“spokesperson”)
-PRPs starting out should look for training opportunities

-In setting up an interview, the public relations person should obtain from the interviewer an understanding as to its purpose.
-It is also important to be well acquainted with the interviewer’s style and audience.
-Short, direct answers delivered without hesitation help a guest project an image of strength and credibility.
-Short answers also make better quotes or sound bites.
-Asking to approve a story before it prints/airs is viewed as a form or censorship. Don’t even ask.

Pros ; cons of different formats and channels
-In a print interview (and some broadcast news stories), some of the interview is interpreted/paraphrased by the reporter. I.e. Always assume you are on the record even when you’re not being recorded.
-On live or recorded radio and television shows, listeners hear the interviewee’s words directly.
-PRPs must educate management to have realistic expectations about the outcome of media interviews – e.g. much will be edited out, key messages won’t be framed the way you’d prefer them to, etc. . .
News conference
-press conference
-allows for quick, widespread dissemination of a person’s comments and opinions to a number of reporters at the same time
-mortification strategy: to admit the situation is bad and stress that the org is doing everything they can to correct it
planning and constructing a news conference
-PRPs must assess whether the information should be distributed via a news release or media kit first
-The PRP’s roles: logistics, strategy ; preparing the speaker
-essential element of a conference is news
checklist for PR staff organizing a news conference
-select a convenient location
-set date ; time
-distribute a media advisory about upcoming conference
-write statement for spokesperson
-try to anticipate questions
-prepare media kit
-prepare visual materials as necessary
-make advanced arrangements for the room
-arrive 30 to 60 minutes early
Online news conferences
-Can be cost-effective
-have better attendance
-have a greater impact
during press conferences/media interviews…
-Keep your cool
-Don’t say more than you know to be true
-As much as possible, stick to prepared answers
-Don’t appear unresponsive
three types of media tours
(1) trip: “junket”; editors and reporters are invited to inspect a company’s manufacturing facilities in several cities; host will usually pay for it
(2) familiarization trip: “fam trip”; offered to travel writers and editors by tourism industry; completely paid for with hopes that writers will report favorably on their experiences
(3) the org’s executives travel to key cities to talk with selected editors
Press parties
-Can be luncheon, dinner or cocktail party
-Host rises at the end of the socialization period to make the “pitch”
-Parties open channels of communication
-conscientious reporters and editors believe they have already given something to the host by taking time out of their day to attend their party. They are not swayed by food and drink

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