Tag Archives: public relations

Opinion

News release basics: distributing a press release

So now that you’ve learned how to write a press release, you need to know how to properly distribute it so your release gets noticed by media outlets. This is easier said than done. While a well written press release will undoubtedly garner more attention than a poorly written one, there are also a few things that you can keep in mind to help yourself out.

1) Think about when you send your release. Too early in the morning (5 am) and it’s likely to be so far down in people’s inboxes that they’ll never get to it. Send it too late in the day (noon) and it gets lost in the shuffle. While this isn’t an exact science, I personally get the best response from releases sent out in the 7-9 am time frame.

2) Regardless of when you send your release, follow up. I mentioned this in my last post, but it bears repeating. Give your contact a call around mid-day to make sure they don’t have any lingering questions, or need further information. Don’t be pushy, be helpful.

3) Establish a personal media list, not a generic one. This takes time, but is incredibly beneficial. Instead of just compiling a list of media contacts based on what info is on their website, reach out and network. As you meet journalists and make personal contacts, add them to their list. Send a few emails to a media group and determine who is really interested in helping your group get the word out. Then add them to your list instead of a generic email. While building a contact list is hard work, it’s also one of the most prized possessions of a PR professional, or anyone looking to get media attention.

4) Make sure you allow enough time. Don’t send your press release out weeks before an event, but don’t send it out days before, either. Make sure you give a journalist enough time to pick up the story, and contact you if needed.

Basically, getting your press release out there is a matter of using common sense and thinking realistically. Journalism is fast paced, so make sure your release has an edge, is current, and includes quotes and pictures.

As always, if you have questions, comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear them! Email me at jessicaswider35@gmail.com.

 

Opinion

News release basics: how to get your event noticed

Unless you have a member of your group who’s well versed in public relations practices, most campus organizations are fairly clueless when it comes to publicizing an event. Building a media list, properly distributing a news release and handling press are all skills that have to be learned. However, before any of those things happen, you have to know HOW to write a press release. Perhaps the most basic, yet one of the most important skills, a PR practitioner needs is the ability to write an efficient news release. While everyone has their own method for writing a release, there are a few basics that can be helpful when you’re just starting out.

-Include contact info, the words ‘FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE’ and what organization you’re from. This info should all appear at the top of the release. It’s important to not forget these basics so journalists know what they’re dealing with.

-Headline, subhead, boiler plate, date line. Not sure what these terms mean? Google them. You’ll need to include each in your news release, and put them in the proper place. The headline comes first, then subhead. The dateline comes immediately before the text begins and the boiler plate appears at the bottom of the news release, as they very last section.

-Lead, text, recap. Your lead needs to be catchy and unique. Journalists get hundreds of news releases each day, so make sure yours stands out! The text includes all the details, and further information about your event. The recap comes last, and is fairly self explanatory.

-Timing is, as always, everything. Don’t put out your release late in the day, right before a weekend, or right before you go out of town. Keep in mind when you release is most likely to get seen in a journalist’s inbox.

-Follow up! Just because you sent your press release over email doesn’t mean that’s the only contact medium you can use. Call people! Later in the day, after you’ve sent your release, give your contact a call to see if they have any further questions, or needs interview information. Don’t be pushy, be helpful.

-EDIT, EDIT, EDIT. Make sure you double and triple check your release, and have someone else look it over before you send it out. If you have even one error, it not only reduces your credibility but can leave journalists with potentially incorrect information. Edit until you’re blue in the face!

News releases take practice, but being able to write a good one is an invaluable skill that you’ll need if you want anyone to know about, or attend, your event or speaker.

Opinion

Keeping your group from fading away with the summer sun

We’ve passed the halfway point of summer. Class schedules are arranged, textbooks are ordered, summer internships are wrapping up and students ware savoring the last weeks of vacation. The end is near. While this news may be good or bad, now is a crucial time to establish some building blocks for your campus group to work off of come fall. Below are a few important tips to keep in mind as you start packing your backpack:

1) Gonna be busy this fall? So is everyone else. Now is the perfect time to start pre-planning some events. Maybe you have a routine social event at the start of every school year, or you know you want to bring in a big speaker this semester. No matter your situation, book a room, start brainstorming fundraiser ideas and work on making community contacts NOW. Why wait?

2) What happened to your social media presence? I get it, updating your group’s Facebook page isn’t the first priority on your summer bucket list. It’s time to remind your fans and followers that you exist! Ease into your normal updating schedule by previewing a fun event or asking for community input. Don’t forget to engage your audience. Don’t just inform them, interact with them! Make a social media contest- once you reach a certain number of fans, 1 will be picked at random to win a t-shirt, or have followers guess who your big speaker will be by posting clues on Twitter- winner gets a copy of the speaker’s most popular book! These sorts of fun activities are easy to implement, and create a loyal following.

3) Start building your binders early. One of the best pieces of advice I hear at CFI’s Leadership Conference this summer was to create binders with all the group information, contact info, passwords and documents you could possibly ever need to make passing the torch easy as pie. Start making yours now! You’re starting to plan events, so include who you need to get approval from and what needs to be done in a step by step guide. Got a great fundraiser idea? Write it in the binder! The more information you include in these, the easier it will be for new officers and executive boards to continue your group’s great work for years to come.

These are just some basic things to keep in mind as cool weather approaches. Got problems, or questions, about managing your campus group? I wanna hear about them! Email me at jessicaswider35@gmail.com.

Opinion

Freethought and the media- how to effectively market your campus group

Hi all! My name is Jessica, and I really like public relations and the mass media. So what does that have to do with the free thought movement? Well, I’ve found that many campus group leaders, like yourselves, aren’t quite sure how to effectively manage the media and certain PR strategies to benefit their groups. Or maybe you’re not sure what kind of Facebook page is best, or if your group needs a Twitter.

That’s where I come in. I’m here to answer all your questions, and give you the best advice possible, on how to use all these tools, and more, to your utmost advantage.

By now you’re probably wondering why you should bother listing to me. In my going-on-4 years at Boise State University, I’ve held many positions involving print media and PR. I’m actively involved in BSU’s chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America as their VP, and I manage the website and various social media sites for our independent campus media group. I’m also involved in a business and marketing organization, and of course, my campus secular group.

I’ve had plenty of experience in public relations and media management, which means I can offer you, as a campus group leader, insight on how to work the system to your advantage! In the coming weeks I’ll cover everything from how to distribute a press release so it actually gets noticed to how to track who views your website to when it’s best to post on Facebook! If you have a specific issue or question, you can email me at jessicaswider35@gmail.com and I’ll answer it in my following post. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to help other group leaders get noticed and manage their media relations more effectively!