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Why Release Headlines Matter.


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The headline can make or break your entire press release. Check out this article for some tips and tricks regarding headlines and your press releases.

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Why Release Headlines Matter.

  1. 1. WINTER 2009 THE OFFICIAL NEWSLETTER OF IABC PHOENIX Creative Corporate Communication? No ... it’s not an oxymoron: in fact, it’s the future By Steve Crescenzo, Seminar Leader, big oversized check to another white guy. And and shaking things up. They’re taking the Blogger and Podcaster nobody reads their formulaic press release “corporate” out of corporate communications with the empty, jargon-filled quote from some and replacing it with “creative.” Organizations tend to stomp the creativity out talking head. of you, don’t they? They are revamping and modernizing their My favorite horror story about this comes from print publications; starting radio and video Communicators typically come into our field a former client of mine. She was so tired of shows; using social media to foster two-way brimming with creative ideas for how to managers rewriting her quotes that she tried communication; using the new multimedia communicate to their various audiences. They an experiment. tools to reach new audiences; integrating their have ideas! New ideas! Different ideas! print and online efforts; improving how their She was working on a press release and a VP And then they run into the approval process. executives communicate . . . in short, they’re in her sales department, when asked, gave Then they meet the lawyers. Then they come doing the creative work they wanted to do her a quote that read like this: up against crushing deadlines. Then some before it was beaten out of them by the system. faceless middle manager takes their content “We’re leveraging the synergies of traditional I’ve got the case studies to prove it, and I’m and mangles it beyond all recognition. and new-media marketing to penetrate both coming down to Phoenix to share them with you. the vertical and horizontal markets in our core They learn, the hard way, that the mantra of areas of business growth.” so many organizations is: “That’s the way we have always done it around here, so that’s She decided, just to see what would happen the way we’re going to keep doing it. Even if it (she was ready to leave the company sucks and it doesn’t work.” anyway!) to move his words around randomly, and see if anyone would notice. So she just After a couple of years of fighting the good sort of mixed them up, and wrote: fight, many communicators give up. They start fighting the wrong two battles. They fight ... “We’re penetrating the core areas of our traditional and new-media marketing 1. The battle to create something, anything synergies to leverage the business growth in that will make it safely through the both our vertical and horizontal markets.” approval process; and they fight ... And guess what? Nobody noticed! Not even 2. The battle to make the deadline. Steve Crescenzo and IABC Phoenix are the guy who was quoted! Why? Because hosting Crescenzo’s “Creative Communication: nobody can stand to read that corporate And of course they win those battles ... Taking the Next Step”, a one-day seminar gobblygook anymore! but they lose the war for readership, or on March 20 at the Scottsdale Cottonwoods listenership, or viewership. That’s the bad news. The good news is that Resort. Visit for more communicators are starting to make a stand. Nobody pays attention to their story with the details and to register. Crescenzo is also our They’re bucking the rules. They’re doing gripping headline: “Synergy!” Nobody looks at guest speaker at our March 19 professional things differently. They’re taking chances, yet another photo of one white guy handing a development luncheon. Five-time winner of the International Chapter of the Year Award
  2. 2. President’s Column Make the most of your IABC membership As we enter 2009, I’m beaming with professionals from around the Valley as excitement at the events on our calendar. we work with other local organizations to put together our 2nd Annual Valley Your board of directors has worked hard Communicators Night. to ensure our chapter’s financial strength and to invest back into our members. So, • You’ll also be proud to know that IABC what will you see? Phoenix supports the local non-profit • You’ll have the opportunity to attend community and will be hosting our first Non-Profit Communications Forum a full-day seminar with renowned communications expert Steve this spring. Crescenzo, as well as hear from him • Plus, don’t forget about the myriad of at our March luncheon and attend a opportunities to attend our monthly networking event to talk with Crescenzo luncheons and communication one-on-one. dialogues, and to receive accreditation • You’ll have the opportunity to submit your assistance offered by the chapter. work for a local Copper Quill Award If we haven’t met before, I hope to see and earn recognition for your outstanding you at one of these events soon. You communication results, as well as attend won’t regret it. Rachel Pearson the Copper Quills banquet where you’ll hear from Peter Shankman, owner IABC Phoenix President Rachel Pearson is director of corporate of Help A Reporter Out (HARO) and communications at the Scottsdale Return on investment. Bang for your recognized nationally for radically new Convention & Visitors Bureau. She can be buck. Added value. No matter how ways of thinking about social media, PR reached at 480-429-2259 or rpearson@ you put it, it’s about engagement and and marketing. making the most of your membership in • You’ll have the opportunity to IABC. As I see it, you have two options. network with other communications Option 1, you or your company pays a few hundred dollars a year so you can say you are a member in some international organization. Or option 2, you and your company reap the Programs for You! rewards by learning from thousands of communications experts from around As a member of IABC Phoenix, you have access to other local communications the world. The choice is yours. professionals who can share their experience to help you enhance your own, plus access local and international resources for your professional development. Check The possibilities with IABC Phoenix out all the opportunities at are abundant and will help you in your • Develop your communications and leadership skills by volunteering. career now and in the future. How can I be so sure? Because I’m just • Show value to your organization by learning the latest trends and tools in the one of thousands of communications communications field at monthly luncheons and other seminars. professionals who have experienced first 2 • Tap into our special interest groups, such as Knowledge Network for hand the rewards of full participation. communicators with 10+ years of experience, or the student blog “Take Three.” • Find a new job with our free online job bank and by networking at events. • Read IABC’s Communication World magazine and access the international resources at your fingertips to see how communications is changing. WINTER 09
  3. 3. Intro on Networking Notes The seven key points for networking 3. Leverage every opportunity. Bring your By Susan de Queljoe Director of Community Relations, business cards. Work the room. Don’t Society of St. Vincent de Paul just sit with people you already know. 4. Show appreciation. Affirm the other If you’re ever asked to plan a conference, consider starting it off with a session on person. We practiced saying, “I’m very, networking. That’s how the September very glad to meet you,” as we shook IABC Regional Conference in Denver hands with those around us. It felt silly to began. It really helped to pull the group say, but put a smile on everyone’s face. together for the next two days of meetings. 5. Find and confirm your commonality. “Networking,” you say, “I already know Open ended questions like, “How did all that stuff.” you end up in Phoenix?” and “Where did you grow up?” are good conversation Yes, you probably do. However, do you catalysts. Susan de Queljoe attended the IABC really practice what you know? Regional Conference last fall on a grant 6. Elevate. Uplift. Help those around you from IABC Phoenix. She is the director of Karen Susman, of Remarkable feel good and they’ll feel good about you. community relations for the Society of St. Associations, advised, “Network all the 7. Follow-up. Write a note. Call. E-mail. Vincent de Paul in Phoenix. de Queljoe time, everywhere.” Then she reminded us has worked in marketing communications of seven key points for networking: Send an article. Give referrals. in Chicago, New York and Jakarta, 1. Play the host. Make others feel The monthly IABC luncheons are a great Indonesia. She can be reached at comfortable in whatever setting you place to work on your networking skills. or 602-261-6805. find yourself in, and you will feel more Just arrive a few minutes earlier than you at ease. normally do and find some new faces to meet. Like most things in life, the more you 2. Be visible. Speak. Write. Introduce practice, the easier it becomes to start new others. Volunteer. conversations and find new friends. And really, that’s what networking is all about. Volunteer of the Quarter Help Us Recognize Our Volunteers With dedicated members, we are able to offer all of our members more services, opportunities and resources to grow socially and IABC Phoenix would not be the great chapter it is without the professionally. It was only through our members’ help that the IABC help of all our wonderful volunteers including board members, Phoenix chapter attained the title of World’s Best Chapter in 1990, directors and committee members. We want all IABC 1994, 1999, 2002 and 2004. members to have the opportunity to thank one of their fellow 3rd Quarter 2008 Winner: Carrie Severson members for the work they have done to make our chapter so strong. To nominate someone you feel deserves this honor, 3 Congratulations to Carrie Severson! She has been named Volunteer contact a member of the IABC Phoenix Board of Directors via of the Quarter for her sustained effort to ensure the success of the their contact information listed on 2008 Copper Quill Awards banquet. Severson attended planning committee meetings and assisted with decision-making and event coordination. In addition to securing a giveaway item for all attendees (IMAX tickets), Severson welcomed attendees and helped direct them to registration and the pre-awards reception.
  4. 4. Strengthen Your Development Portfolio IABC’s local, regional and international programs can help your career By Bill Hiniker, President & Founder, MessagePoint Communications Check the Phoenix Chapter Web site at regularly for local programming, including monthly professional Built over time, a well-balanced portfolio can see you through development luncheons, communications dialogues and other tough times. It’s true for your savings and investments (horrific development opportunities. year-end statements notwithstanding). But it’s just as true for the portfolio of knowledge, skills and experiences that you will Both the IABC World Conference and IABC Southern Region bank on as you grow as a communicator and businessperson. Conference are in our neck of the woods this year, reducing transportation costs and increasing convenience for Arizona The beginning of a new year is a perfect time to set your members. The World Conference is set for June 7-10 in short- and long-term career objectives, assess your needs San Francisco; the Southern Region Conference will be in and shortcomings, and put together a realistic plan to help Houston in the fall. you learn, grow and advance in your career. I attended my first international conference almost 30 years IABC offers a first-class range of professional development ago (with a parental chaperone, of course) and have been to opportunities at the chapter, regional and international level – about a half-dozen international and regional conferences in for every need, interest and budget. recent years. Obviously I’m a fan; for the following reasons: • General sessions at which I’ve heard an eclectic IABC Phoenix Upcoming Events group of speakers including Salman Rushdie, Malcolm Gladwell, and James Carville and Mary Matalin. • Tracks and sessions designed to meet my needs — and yours, regardless of your interests, experience level or aspirations. • Opportunities to pick the brains of speakers and participants — it’s hard to imagine a communications issue that someone at the conference hasn’t already There are many upcoming IABC Phoenix events over the next faced and solved. several months. For more details and to register, please check the calendar of events on • Networking — formal and informal. I’ve learned as much in the hallways, lobbies and lounges as in the • February 19 — Monthly luncheon featuring Robert Colbert conference rooms. of ON Semiconductor to speak on change communications • March 19 — Monthly luncheon featuring Steve Crescenzo, • Connections with members, potential clients and partners, popular seminar leader, blogger, and podcaster resources and contacts, from throughout the world. • March 20 — Full-day creative corporate communications Consider using IABC’s local, regional and international seminar featuring Steve Crescenzo – the #1 rated speaker programs to strengthen your development portfolio in 2009. at IABC’s 2008 International Conference (IABC Phoenix members receive a $100 discount) Bill Hiniker is president and founder of MessagePoint • March 20 — Networking event with Steve Crescenzo Communications, a • April 7 — Communication dialogue with IABC Chair communications consulting 4 Barbara Gibson, ABC, speaking on “Where’s the Beef? Is and writing practice based in Research Missing from your Communication Plan?” Phoenix. Hiniker attended the Southern Region Conference • April 23 — Non-Profit Communications Forum last fall on a grant from • May 21 — Copper Quills Award Banquet with guest IABC Phoenix. speaker Peter Shankman of HARO (Help A Reporter Out) WINTER 09
  5. 5. Intro Online Press Releases Make a Good First Impression? Do Your Make your content stand out from the crowd Malcolm Atherton Account Executive, Business Wire Thousands of press releases make the rounds on computer screens every day - milling around in editorial systems, e-mails, RSS feeds, and online news portals like a literary Times Square. Whether you post releases to your Web site or utilize a wire service, the challenge is this: How can you make your content stand out from the crowd? In my opinion, the headline is the most important aspect of a press release and falls under the “you never get a second chance to make a first impression” category. After all, if you can’t persuade someone to open your release they can’t really read it, can they? Google only displays the first 63 Malcolm Atherton represents Business A headline should be compelling, it characters of a headline. Wire’s full-service Phoenix news should succinctly state the theme of your I use Google as an example, as they bureau. As a part of Business Wire’s release, and it should make someone own a majority of search market share. new media specialist team, he is want to know more. That’s it. The sub I’m not saying that you should make available as a resource to Arizona headline and body of text should have all headlines 63 characters - just try to communicators for questions on press the honor of going into detail. front-load your headline with the most release optimization, social media, and valuable part of your headline so the more. Contact him at 480-990-9942, So what can you keep in mind when important stuff is visible in search engine, crafting your releases for a company results pages (SERPs). Yahoo! shows or “Tweet” at @malcolmatherton. newsroom or for online distribution? 120 characters, in case you’re curious. Write a headline that is keyword rich. Headline creation should take you a long You know your audience. What terms or time. Between picking key terms that will phrases will catch their attention and make attract your audience, coming up with them want more info? Think “hot buttons.” a succinct way to describe what your It is your release vs. everyone else’s. readers can expect from your release, For online releases, the headline and considering what your readers will becomes the page title. see should they stumble across your The headline becomes the press release in SERPs, you have a project on release’s page title in the HTML source your hands. In the end, it will be worth it. code. This is one of the pieces of 5 Your headline is the first thing people content that search engines use to will see, and it is the key to having a index your press release. According to release that’s read vs. one that isn’t. It SEOmoz’s most recent Search Engine also is someone’s first impression of Ranking Factors, keyword usage in the your release. page title is the #1 positive factor in search engine rankings. Make it a good one.
  6. 6. Obama-Style Marketing A look at the millennium generation By Lisa Urias, President, Urias Communications Whatever your political affiliations, one thing is certain: the Barack Obama campaign was impressive. More dollars raised through small Internet campaign donations than any other candidate in history. Tens of thousands attended rallies, not just nationally but internationally. Young people engaged at unprecedented levels. How did the Obama campaign do it? What underlying strategies did they employ to attract the attention of this new wave of American voters and engage them with the Barack Obama “brand.” Just two weeks before the election, AdAge named Barack Obama four years ago, very few were looking at new markets in a strategic “Marketer of the Year,” and numerous others have written about fashion or as a way of generating new customers. “The Brilliance of Obama Marketing.” Much of the discussion centers around viral marketing, which no doubt was a magnificent However, what we’re learning from the Obama campaign is that to display of the very best practices today. grow market share for your campaign, business or organization, you must find ways to reach the burgeoning new multicultural markets However, in addition to viral strategies, the Obama campaign also did – the millennium markets – to ensure more than brand recognition, what others did not. They focused on developing a strategy, not just for but true embracement of the brand. their “high efficacy voters,” or “existing target markets,” they focused on the new wave of the next generation: the millennium market. The Obama campaign tapped into a huge wave of new voters that others didn’t know existed, or didn’t target. And they did so in a way Targeting mainstream mass customers with traditional marketing that inspired those voters to embrace the Barack Obama brand. strategies remains the foundational strategy for most campaigns and companies. I know. When I started our multicultural agency Visit and click on “People.” There you will find 23 different identity groups of people listed, from Asian-American to Latino, from Students to Environmentalists. Click on any of those categories and you find specific messages from the candidate to that group with video clips and blogs from individuals within that group stating why they are supporting Barack Obama. From there, you can go to a specific MySpace or Facebook page with people like you – like the “Obama-Pride” group for LGBT members that speaks specifically to the issues that inspire those communities. Suddenly, you are personally connected to this brand. In a study comparing the Hillary Clinton and Obama campaigns, David Leonard, Fortune writer, reports that, “the digital world is all about grassroots. Traditional media is about authority. Digital is about authenticity. You can see it in the language they use. Obama uses the language of ‘we and you,’ which is inclusive and nods to Lisa Urias is the president and owner of Urias Communications, an the wisdom of the crowds. [Hillary] uses ‘I and me.’ His stuff is about advertising and public relations agency located in Scottsdale, Arizona, that specifically targets the burgeoning millennium, multicultural ‘yes you can,’ which is about the buyer. She talks about ‘experience markets of the U.S. from day one,’ which is about the seller. That doesn’t resonate 6 anymore. One key thing you recognize from everything from Urias was the guest speaker at IABC Phoenix’s monthly luncheon MySpace to the blogosphere is that people want to have a voice.” on Jan. 15 and spoke to our members about “Millennium Marketing – The New Markets of the 21st Century.” IABC Phoenix offers The commercials on MTV focused on the next generation with professional development luncheons the third Thursday every month. messages and images of the environment, ending the war and Visit for more details. unity – a completely different approach to those he targeted in his 30-minute televised address. When younger males downloaded This article has been adapted from one that originally appeared in the January/February 2009 issue of Latino Future Magazine. Visit Latino Continued on page 7 Future online at WINTER 09
  7. 7. Intro Communicating in a Virtual World Translating geek-speak for fun and profit By Mark E. Nageotte, Director of Marketing First, stop thinking of IT pros as aliens. vocabulary that IT pros use everyday. This and Communications, QCM Technologies We are all familiar with the stereotype of really is not as difficult as learning a second the classic computer nerd, but in reality, IT language; however, it will require you to ask Things sure have changed. Remember pros are usually very smart and generally some questions and possibly spend some how you felt the first time someone asked very secure individuals. (They don’t even time on the Internet and doing some outside you, “What the heck is a ‘typewriter’?” Just mind being called “geeks” – they think reading. For starters, find a one-paragraph a few years ago, most of us were getting it’s a title of merit.) They like to talk about explanation of each of the following: used to “word processors,” and now we’ve technology and to discuss the impact a. Virtualization surrendered ourselves to the world of that new solutions will have on business. b. Real-time “Information Technology” (IT); and those However, they generally see themselves c. Storage “techies” who run the machines now rule as being “techies” first and business d. Data security the world. people second (or third or fourth ….). e. Redundancy Well, OK, maybe they don’t actually “rule The problem lies in their communication f. Thin clients the world,” but they do have A LOT of skills – they don’t have any! Seriously, g. High availability influence on our ability to get our work the social skills of a lot of IT pros (but Whether you are a budding software done everyday. In most mid-sized and definitely not all of them) bear the scars of developer or a borderline techno-phobe, large businesses, IT is now one of the having spent too much time relating to a as a business communicator your career largest annual capital investments. The digital enterprise that actually has an “off” will likely be dramatically affected by your geeks may not run our businesses (yet) – button. At the same time, most techies are ability to interact with and communicate for the lawyers still do that – but the role they happy to help the rest of us understand IT professionals. To do this successfully, play is becoming more and more critical to what it is that they are doing. you must first take the time to understand the success and survival of organizations their world and their issues. of all shapes and sizes. In short, while techies are excited by their jobs, they also want to be understood and Mark Nageotte is a Fortunately (for business communicators), appreciated. Making that happen is your job! freelance business as IT becomes more critical to every communicator aspect of our economy, the communication Second, seek out a few IT pros who will and the Director needs of our IT departments have take the time to explain basic concepts to of Marketing and increased dramatically. So, if you plan to you. While you’re at it, you might consider Communications for QCM Technologies stay in business, it’s best to learn how to taking a couple of IT classes. (If you’re really in Scottsdale. He communicate with the IT professionals and ambitious, you could even get “A+ Certified.” can be contacted at become familiar with the challenges and If you’re interested, do a Google search.) opportunities they deal with everyday. To or 602-809-0987. Third, over the short term, familiarize get started, try these three steps. yourself with some of the latest concepts and Obama Style Marketing continued... upgrades to video games, they were suddenly racing by billboards into the new markets of America – not just existing markets – and with the Change We Can Believe In slogan. this proved to be successful. These marketing strategies are not more complex or expensive What we learned for marketing campaigns – whether selling 7 than traditional strategies. In fact, many can be much more efficient. candidates or products – is that now is the time to transcend the But they do require an area of expertise that is focused on these boundaries of old marketing strategies that are focused on an markets and a commitment to reaching them. increasingly shrinking market and take the time and energy to invest in the burgeoning new markets of America. Indeed, the Obama campaign demonstrated a wholly new and different approach to marketing. It invoked aspirational feelings, Any product or service can transcend the boundaries of its current, which is what great brands do. But those feelings penetrated deep narrow category. In fact, not to do so may render it obsolete.
  8. 8. PRSRT STD US POSTAGE PAID PHOENIX AZ PERMIT NO 5419 Official Design Sponsor Editing, design and layout are provided by HD Communication Solutions. 5425 E Bell Rd, Ste 142 Scottsdale AZ 85254 p | 866.981.8880 f | 866.859.0222 Official Print Sponsor Printing and mail services are provided by Print Time. 4820 N 8th Place Phoenix AZ 85014 P | 602.252.3900 F | 602.252.1122 For IABC Phoenix membership information visit: THE OFFICIAL NEWSLETTER OF IABC PHOENIX IN THIS ISSUE TH IS ISSUE THI Creative Corporate Communication? 01 2008 CopperCopper Quill Recap 2008 Quill Award Award 01 01 Communications inin fact, it’sMillennium Communications in the Next Millennium’s not an oxymoron: the Next the future Notes on Networking 03 Authentic Conversation Authentic Conversation 03 A new The seven key points for networking A new book by Jamie and Maren Showkeir book by Jamie and Maren Showkeir Strengthen YourArticle phase of Article 1 Development Portfolio 04 Internet et-based webisodes kick off first 1 Article 1 rollouts 04 IABC’sCarolina Guana, Account Executive, Urias Communications By local, regional and international programs can help your career roli by XXXX XXXX Do Your Online Press Article 1 Article 1 Article 1 Article 1 A Releases Make a Good First Impression? 05 Longtime IBAC Phoenix Memeber HArticle 1 onored 06 6 06 Jerry Porter namedby outPOA of the Year wing from the XXXX Make your content stand XXXX XXXX crowd Article 1 Article 1 Obama-Style Marketing 06 A1 07 Article 1 Article 1 Article 1 e 07 by XXXX XXXX XXXX A look at theby XXXX XXXX XXXX millennium generation WINTER ′09