News Release Writing

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News release writing basics

News release writing basics

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  • 1. News Release Writing NEWS RELEASE WRITING
  • 2. Agenda
    • Introduction
        • The news release and its purpose
        • Information overload
    • Tips and Techniques
        • Print releases
        • Social media releases
    • Question & Answer Session
  • 3. Introduction INTRODUCTION
  • 4. News releases: give them your best
    • Convey news (services, needs, events, awards/accomplishments,
    • personnel)
    • Communicate your organization’s personality
    • Establish credibility
    • Serve as a launch pad for features
    • Win readership
      • Bad news: 5,000 – 6,000 messages per day
      • Good news: readers engage with newspapers 5 days/week—27 minutes on weekdays, 57 minutes on Sundays
      • ( www.readershipinstitute.org )
    • Provide contact information
  • 5. Tips and Techniques Tips & Techniques
  • 6. Demise of the inverted pyramid
    • Why the inverted pyramid may need to go away
    • Often boring
    • Stops readers
    • Storytelling: the better alternative
    • Stories are more believable than statistics
    • Editors and readers like feature leads
    • Opportunity to use problem, solution, result approach
  • 7. Powerful leads
    • WIFM: What’s In It for Me
    • Provide reward reader
      • Learn something
      • Solve a problem
      • Improve my life
      • Gain personal satisfaction
    • Entertain the reader
    • Change focus from ME to YOU
    • Lead with benefits, substantiate with facts (advantages)
    • Make an impact, which is always more important than technique
  • 8. Appeals that move people to action
    • Make money
    • Save money
    • Save time
    • Avoid effort
    • Increase comfort
    • Improve health
    • Get cleaner
    • Escape pain
    • Gain praise
    • Enhance popularity
    • Become better loved/accepted
    • Hold onto possessions
    • Enjoy things more
    • Satisfy curiosity
    • Protect family
    • Be stylish
    • Have beautiful things
    • Satisfy appetites
    • Avoid trouble
    • Avoid criticism
    • Be individualistic
    • Protect reputation
    • Seize opportunity
    • Be safe
    • Make work easier
    • Be secure
    • Engage in philanthropy (has own rewards)
    • Source: “Appeals that move people to act,” by Charles Marsh
    • IABC Communication World, Sept. 1992
  • 9.
    • Original: Stroke patients who enter the hospital at night and on weekends are more likely to die in the hospital than those treated during regular business hours and on weekdays, according to two studies presented at the American Heart Association’s International Stroke Conference 2008.
    • Better: You are more likely to die if you have a stroke and go to the hospital at night or on the weekend compared to patients treated during regular weekday business hours. This was the conclusion of two studies presented at the ….
    Example
  • 10. Example
    • Original: Cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) can help heart failure patients’ hearts beat more efficiently and effectively, but the therapy isn’t used in U.S. hospitals as much as it should be and often it’s not used as recommended in clinical trials and published guidelines, according to a report in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.
    • Better: If you have heart failure, cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) can help your heart beat more efficiently and effectively. The problem is the therapy is seldom used in U.S. hospitals. When it is employed, CRT therapy is often not administered as recommended in clinical trials and published guidelines, according to a report in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.
  • 11. Example
    • The Taunton River rises from Hackomock Swamp, a 17,000-acre wetland where small streams meander through grassy fens and white cedar and red maple woodlands.
    • Uninterrupted by dames, the Taunton is the main artery of a freshwater system that drains 562 square miles of southeast Massachusetts, providing valuable services like water filtration, flood protection and recreation to 38 towns. Commercially and ecologically important fisheries run from Rhode Island and Narragansett Bay through the River and its tributaries.
    • Yesterday, the U.S. Senate passed legislation that…
  • 12. Example
    • Thursday, September 11 was a very special day for Sarah G. Sarah received a phone call the night before from the microchip company stating that her dog had been admitted to the Capital Area Humane Society.
    • At first, Sarah was very confused…she could see the family puppy playing in the living room where she was on the phone. When the company asked if she had ever owned a dog named “Hope,” Sarah started crying.
  • 13. Reader Attention
    • How to attract reader attention beyond the lead: appeal to flippers and skimmers
    • Headlines—use fresh, interesting words
    • Decks—sell the story (1 sentence summary without repeating words in headline)
    • Subheads—break up copy, keep the eye moving
    • Bullets—break up copy, keep the eye moving
    • Quotes—give authority to your copy, serve as transition
    • Boilerplates—give the reader important insight into your organization
    • Alternative—Tip sheets
  • 14. Tips for good writing and editing
    • Communicate with your audience (speak in reader’s language)
    • Insert anecdotes—engage reader intellectually, emotionally or visually
    • Employ metaphors/analogies—make something hard easy (great to explain numbers/percentages)
    • Use interesting words
    • Avoid clichés
    • Limit acronyms and jargon
    • Write in active voice (watch the use of “be” and “being”)
    • Develop sentences of varying length (avoid choppiness)
    • Delete unnecessary words
    • Concentrate on flow and transitions—the best transition is no transition
    • Read copy out loud
  • 15. Sentences and paragraphs
    • The job of each sentence is to get readers to read the next sentence.
    • The job of each paragraph is to get readers to read the next paragraph.
    • Sentence length: 14 words (average)
    • Paragraph length: 2 to 3 sentences (average)
    • Lead paragraph should be shorter than other paragraphs (Circulation Managers’ Association)
  • 16. QUESTIONS? Marsha Hall Senior Counselor [email_address] 614/383-1500 or 606/365-8393