Basics• Provide additional background• Generate human interest• Create understanding in an imaginative way• Considered “soft” news, not as time sensitive• They provide more information, a behind-the- scenes perspective, and generate publicity• Visuals usually accompany feature releases
Let’s Plan Features• You can pitch features differently. – Distribute a general feature to several media outlets – Write an exclusive feature – Pitch the idea and help a journalist write it – Post the feature on your Web site
Seven Types of Features• Case study – Third-party party endorsement – Think bloggers• Application story – How to use a product or service in a new, innovative way• Research study – Surveys or polls that examine things such as lifestyles• Backgrounder – Where is there a problem, and how can your product or service solve it?
Seven Types of Features• Personality profile• Historical piece• Milestones allow reflection on an organization’s history
Writing a Feature• Headline – Still thinks about keywords• Lead – You don’t need a summary lead, but think about keywords. – Feature leads pique readers’ interest• Body – Features are longer than straight news releases – They’re meant to be read from beginning to end – They include quotes, illustrations, stats, description• Summary – Call back to the beginning.
Let’s write a feature lead and headline• The GlousterLivestock Show and Rodeo, a tradition for 75 years, will begin on March 5 and run through March 12.
Let’s write a feature lead and headline• The Florida Grapefruit Growers Association has announced that this year’s crop is larger than last year’s, and greater availability will mean lower prices for the consumer.
SIX DIFFERENCES WITH AN OP ED• Allow PR to reach opinion leaders• Op-ed authors are perceived asthoughts experts• Op-eds are exclusives OP-eds are controlled media. This is rare in media relations and publicity
SIX DIFFERENCES WITH AN OP ED• These can talk about policy.• These can promote events more blatantly.• You’re worried the reporter will screw the story up. OP-eds are controlled media. This is rare in media relations and publicity
OP ED FORMAT• 750 words max for an op ed.• You need to have one main idea. – Hit it early, and don’t veer off course.• Short powerful sentences.• You need facts to verify your claims.
OP ED FORMAT• Don’t say, “I think.” State it. – I thinks this is a bad idea. – This is a bad idea.• Don’t send out op eds in bulk.• Do call an editor to see if a paper takes them.
LETTER TO THE EDITOR DIFFERENCES• They are shorter (200-500 words)• You react to news and should state what sparked the letter.• State the theme of your letter after saying why you are writing• A letter to the editor is a counter punch. An Op ed can be an attacking punch.
OP ED A GOOD WAY TO FORMATWhat is the problem?What is your opinion on the problem?What is your supporting information?What is the solution?Why should the reader care?
OD ED ROOM TO BE BETTER• Hit harder.• Short, choppy sentences. – This is wrong. – We can do better.• A letter to the editor should be a slap in the face and call to action.
OP ED ROOM TO BE BETTER• In terms of subject matter, think beyond your organization. – We are worried about rising energy and food prices. – Buying local saves money. – It protects jobs. – Our client helps in both areas.• You can’t do this if you don’t follow current events.
Let’s Talk Media Advisories.• They tell assignment editors about upcoming news events,opportunities or local angles• When you can’t send a personalized pitch letter, you send these instead.• When you host a press conference or event, you send these.• When or have special availability, you send these.
Formatting• These are one page – These are almost always for immediate release. – Contact Information – Headline – Brief paragraph with who, what, where, when – Logistics • Where can I park? • Where do I go when I get there?
In Class Assignment• Identify two examples of an op ed you like.• Identify two examples of feature writing you like.• Email me a short memo explaining why you picked the articles you picked.