Peace Love & Sillyness

These are my Ch.14 notes from Public Relations Writing & Media Techniques

E-mail

  • reduces the cost of employee communications
  • increases the distribution of messages to more employees
  • flattens the corporate hierarchy
  • speeds decision making
  • it is a good way for PR writers to send media advisories & news releases to the media
  • it is not suitable for all person-to-person communication and should never be a substitute for face-to-face communication
  • you can be somewhat informal in emails, but you still need to pay attention to grammar, spelling, punctuation, & sentence structure

Memorandums (Memos)

  • is a brief written message, usually a page or less in length
  • it can ask for information, supply information, confirm a verbal exchange, ask for a meeting, schedule or cancel a meeting, remind, report, praise, caution, state a policy, or perform any other function that requires a written message
  • hard copies of memos are usually distributed even if it was sent via e-mail
  • should be specific & to the point; the subject line should state exactly what the memo is about
  • every memo should include 5 things:
  1. date
  2. to
  3. from
  4. subject
  5. message

Proposals

  • are a management technique to consider new programs and policies
  • the purpose is to get something accomplished – to persuade management to approve and authorize some important action that will have a long-lasting effect on the organization or its people
  • can be presented in a few or multiple pages
  • proposals will be more compelling if these 4 things are included:
  1. show a need
  2. satisfy the need
  3. show benefits
  4. call for action

These are my notes on Ch.12 from Public Relations Writing & Media Techniques

  • The media traditionally has the following characteristics:
  1. it’s centralized, having a top-down hierarchy
  2. it costs a lot of money to become a publisher
  3. it’s staffed by professional gatekeepers known as editors & publishers
  4. it features mostly one-way communication with limited feedback channels

The World Wide Web

  • allows interactivity
  • a website is literally a distribution system in cyberspace
  • in a lot of cases, an organization’s website is linked to other web pages and information sources
  • there are 2 basic concepts that are important when writing for the web:
  1. there is a huge difference between how people read online & how they read printed documents
  2. the PR writer needs to know the basic difference between linear and nonlinear styles of writing
  • when writing online you should limit line length to fewer than 60 characters
  • you have 10-12 seconds to “hook” a viewer onto your site otherwise they’ll click on to something else
  • if you want to attract visitors to your site you must give a lot of directional signage, which includes hyperlinks & search engines
  • page view/page impression – refer to the number of times a page is pulled up
  • unique visitor – means first-time visitors to a site
  • cookie – a file that is placed on your hard drive by a website you have visited
  • return on investment (ROI) – you compare the cost of the website to how such functions would be done by other means

Social Media

  • according to wikipedia “social media describes the online technologies and practices that people use to share opinions, insights, experiences, and perspectives with each other.”
  • blogs are the most dominant, but social media also includes MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Flickr, etc.
  • conversation is not organized, controlled, or on message, BUT is vibrant, emergent, fun, compelling, & full of insights
  • in 2007 there were 112 million blogs, with 120,000 being created every day
  • corporate blogs are usually written by an executive & represents the official voice of the organization
  • 70% of Americans 15-34 were currently actively engaged in some form of social network in 2008

Podcasts

  • is a digital media file or series of such files that is distributed over the internet using syndication feeds for playback on portable media players & personal computers
  • 3 major advantages:
  1. cost-effectiveness
  2. the ability of users to access material on a 24/7 basis
  3. portability
  • organizations use podcasts to provide news about their company, in-depth interviews with executives & other experts, features giving consumer tips about use of products & services, and training materials for employees
  • the ideal length is 10-20 minutes

These are my Ch.11 notes from Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques

  • media relations is the core activity in many PR jobs
  • 2/3 of journalists say they don’t just PR people, but 81% say they need them anyway
  • PR materials save the media time, money, and effort of gathering their own news; no medium has enough reporters to cover all the available news
  • the relationship between public relations and the media is based on mutual cooperation, trust, & respect
  • the excesses of hype and promotion have caused many journalists to openly disdain PR as nothing but covert advertising, deception, & manipulation
  • a survey found that 82% of executives feel that news coverage today reflects the reporter’s personal opinions & biases
  • most media are dependent on advertising revenues for survival
  • if the public increasingly takes a skeptical view of what they read/hear, the value of media as an objective & independent source of information is compromised
  • Media interviews: (some common questions)
  1. who are you?
  2. what is the story about?
  3. why did you call me?
  4. what are you looking for from me?
  5. who else are you speaking with?
  6. are you going to use my comments in your story?
  7. when is the story going to run?
  • news conference – where many reporters ask questions; it is called by an organization when there is important & significant news to announce; should be well organized, short, & punctual
  • junkets – a variation on the press preview is the press tour
  • fam trips – (familiarization tour) is similar to a junket but is within the travel and tourism industry

Here are my Ch.10 notes from PR Writing and Media Techniques

Reaching the Media

  • the basis of all distribution channels is an up-to-date media database
  • media databases may vary, but all usually provide the following:
  1. names of publications and broadcast stations
  2. mailing addresses
  3. telephone & fax numbers
  4. e-mail addresses
  5. names of key editors and reporters
  • one major directory is Burrelles/Luce, which claims to have listings for 76,000 media outlets in North America
  • print & CD directories are still used, but online databases have an advantage because they are always up-t0-date
  • online databases allow you to get a detailed media list together quickly or print mailing labels, email/fax your news release directly to a reporter
  • editorial calendars = certain issues have a specific editorial focus; trade publication and business periodicals tend to operate on these.
  • tip sheets = weekly newsletters that report on recent changes in news personnel & their new assignments, how to contact them, & what kinds of material they’re looking for

Distribution of Materials (tips for selecting a distribution channel)

  • E-mail – good for suggesting story ideas to journalists/editors, answering media questions, & sending news releases
  • Online newsrooms – good for distributing news releases, media kits, features, corporate background info, & high-resolution photos/graphics. distribution is enhanced by sending e-alerts & having journalists sign up for RSS feeds from the online newsroom
  • Electronic wire services – best for financial news to large newspapers & major broadcast outlets; ideal for multimedia news releases. Includes internet search engines, bloggers, & other social networking media
  • Feature placement firms – good for reaching suburban newspapers & small weeklies. distribution can be done in many formats
  • Photo placement firms – best for high-resolution publicity photos on an international basis
  • Mail – common method for distributing routine materials to local & regional media
  • Fax – good for sending media advisories & alerts and late-breaking important news
  • CD-ROMs – best used for background material (corporate profiles, executive bios, & product info sheets)

Every year stores get decked out with new winter merchandise, holiday decorations, and new & cheerful employees. These are just a few of the things that occur year after year after year, but this year things seemed to go a lot more overboard than usual. While I was at home for Thanksgiving break I noticed that a lot of stores were advertising that their “Black Friday” sales were actually starting on Thanksgiving. How many people really go shopping on Thanksgiving rather than spend time with their family and/or friends?! Besides the sales beginning on Thanksgiving Day, they extended through not just the entire weekend but also on to Monday. And this year we (the public) referred to it as Cyber Monday, because apparently the sales were more for the online shoppers than those venturing out to the stores. In the past, I am usually reaching for my wallet as soon as I hear about the great deals being offered at various stores; however, this year I left it sitting in my purse. It’s not that the deals aren’t great or that I may not have too much spending money currently or that I haven’t decided on Christmas presents yet for the family, but it’s the crowds and also the fact that everyone seemed to forget Thanksgiving and skip to Christmas. From what I’ve heard from friends who were all over the country, Black Friday (and the entire weekend) had ridiculous lines. Why someone would want to wait 5 hours outside of Toys-R-Us just to get in completely baffles me or even waiting an hour in line inside of the store just to purchase the normally expensive jeans for a cheap price. People have lost their minds!! Maybe I’m just impatient, a grinch, or just possibly sane, but waiting out in the cold for hours just to get in to one store, then fighting over various items with other customers, & then waiting who knows how long to pay is not my idea of fun. I have a news flash for these ridiculous shoppers, the sales will be going on pretty much up until Christmas Eve. Sure, they may not be as great as the sales on actual Black Friday, but they’re still better than paying full price for some items. This goes for online shopping, as well. I noticed on Cyber Monday that some of the stores participating really just offered free shipping, which, I’m sorry, is no big whoop. I can buy something online with free shipping until December 17 most years. So if someone could eventually explain to me what the big hype for Thanksgiving, Black Friday, & Cyber Monday are sometime that would be wonderful, because clearly as I see it, it’s a waste of your time. And please, there is no way that I will believe that people go out just for the experience, because last time I checked getting hit by a cart or another person is not a great time. But congratulations to those of you who did shop on these days and got what items you wanted/saved on.

For my final project in my PR Writing course we were asked to write a detailed blog about social media news releases. So, to begin, according to Realwire a SMNR is a press release format designed for the online media world. The story needs to be told in a format that is relevant to a wide variety of people, including: journalists, bloggers, publishers & the public.  SMNRs also aim to rethink the narrative, text-focused approach to news announcements, according to Social Media Training. There are many advantages I found of a SMNR, that include: optimized for search, optimized for conversation, optimized for sharing, tells the entire story through multimedia, provides context on complicated stories, and makes a better impression (visually) than a wire release.  After reading through many different websites about SMNRs, I believe that it would be good for a PR practitioner to publish one when trying to reach more or new audiences and/or when they are trying to introduce a new company or product to the public. SMNRs go way past what a traditional press release includes; they include hyperlinks to other references, your website, or background information. They may also include multimedia videos, audio & images, and can be published through Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Here is a link to an example of a SMNR from Symantec.

There are many different websites you can go to that will help you create your own SMNR, I have included links to two options:

  1. PRX Builder
  2. PitchEngine

Here are a few tips for writing a SMNR that I found on SmartBlog:

  1. Keep headlines short (should be no longer than 80 characters)
  2. Choose your keywords (what are some common words/phrases someone would search for when looking for this info? use these keywords to optimize your headline)
  3. Tell a story (get rid of the marketing-speak and craft a narrative you’d like to read)
  4. Aim for “diagonal” readers (take in a story in 10 seconds or less)
  5. Create multimedia objects
  6. Provide links to resources (these can be timesavers for journalists/bloggers, making them more likely to make your SMNR into a story)
  7. Make sharing easy (make sure your SMNR is going to work no matter where you post it)
  8. Make feedback easy (include an area for comments)

These notes come from ch.9 in Public Relation Writing and Media Techniques

  • radio reaches about 94% of adults over 18 on a daily basis
  • local television news still attract about 150 million viewers on a daily basis

Radio

  • radio lacks glamour, so it’s not always the first medium PR professionals think of when planning an information campaign
  • on a local level it is a cost-effective way to reach large #s of people in various demographics
  • it is the only mass medium that can reach millions of Americans as they commute to and from work in their cars
  • approximately 13,500 radio stations are on the air in the U.S.
  • about 2,000 stations now have an Internet presence
  • Different stations have different formats, such as: “top 40” (for teenagers), all-news stations (for commuters), classical stations (appealing to older & better-educated groups), etc.
  • for radio news releases, write in all UPPERCASE LETTERS and double-space & give length of release

Audio News Releases

  • aka ANR
  • a simple approach is for someone with a good radio voice to read the announcement
  • preferred length is 60 seconds, including a soundbite of 20 seconds or less
  • should accompany a sound tape with a script of the tape
  • producing ANRs is rather cost-effective, but you should still be selective about distribution

Public Service Announcements (PSAs)

  • defined as: an unpaid announcement that promotes the programs of government or nonprofit agencies or that serves the public interest.
  • can be 60, 30, 20, 15, or 10 seconds long
  • submit multiple PSAs on the same subject in different lengths
  • adding sound effects can make a radio PSA more interesting
  • almost any topic/issue can be the subject of a PSA, but stations seem to like particular topics
  • “speak to the common man….make it as simple as possible.” – christine arbesu

Radio Media Tours (RMT)

  • a spokesperson conducting a series of round-the-country, one-on-one interviews from one central location
  • interviews are conducted over the phone with DJs, news directors, or talk show hosts
  • relatively low cost & convenience are the major selling points

Television

  • is the primary source of news, information, and entertainment for most people
  • almost as many tv stations (1,500) in the US as daily newspapers (1,532)

Video News Releases (VNRs)

  • more than 5,000 are produced annually in the US
  • large organizations seeking enhanced recognition for their names, products, services, & causes are the primary clients
  • a typical VNR costs a minimum of $20,000 to $50,000 for production & distribution
  • a basic VNR includes:
  1. consultation on story concept and news positioning
  2. production
  3. script, 1-day shoot, edit, & voiceover
  4. distribution
  5. distribution to newsrooms, satellite feed, & 2 days of pitching assignment editors to use it
  • standard length is 90 seconds
  • VNR package should include 2 or 3 minutes of B-roll (background pictures & soundbites)

Satellite Media Tours (SMT)

  • the television equivalent to the RMT
  • prebooked, one-on-one interviews from a fixed location via satellite of tv journalists and talk show hosts
  • started in the mid-1980s when companies started putting CEOs in front of tv cameras
  • today, SMTs are a staple of PR & the tv industry
  • a basic SMT costs $10,000 to $25,000

Talk Shows

  • there are now more than 5,000 radio talk shows in the US & more than 20 nationally syndicated talk shows and a countless # of locally produced shows
  • talk shows book guests 3-4 weeks in advance

Product Placement

  • often called plugs, are negotiated by product publicists and talent agencies
  • product placements have become a major part of the tv and film industry
  • should always be alert to opportunities for publicity on tv programs and upcoming movies