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It is with great excitement and appreciation that we share the results of our 2nd Annual CAN IT! Campaign. Through the support of our multiple drop off locations and the many donors who contributed we collected
1,178 items for CCMI!
Today we dropped it off! It took three vehicles and a lot of volunteers, but we did it! (pictures here )Thank you all for your support! We look forward to collecting even more next year.
From all of us to you and yours, Happy Thanksgiving!
By: Annette Venditti
Are you responsible for drafting news releases?
Do you find yourself wondering if you are including all the correct elements, formatting it properly and making it truly newsworthy?
Is the headline grabbing the reader’s attention?
My focus this week is on tips for drafting news releases. Yes, even those of us who have been writing releases for years, might be surprised and find some things you did not know or were not including in the past.
Have you read a great news release recently? If not, take the time and do the research; read some news articles and news releases and find those that stand out based on their headlines, writing styles, etc. Keep them for future reference in your work file. Especially look at ones that are in the same industry as your company and benchmark them.
- Organize Your Story: Draft all the details in an outline form and review them to be sure they are in the correct order for the reader. This is key when talking about an event, as you need to describe all the event activities in chronological order, how to get tickets who to contact for information, and who the event benefits, etc.
- Headline Matters: The headline must communicate your subject matter instantly (should be one sentence and brief as possible) and convey why the content is news and interesting. Write several headline options and mix and match them until you are satisfied with the result. Finding the “call-to-action” in your story is key to a killer headline, so take the time needed to write the best headline for your news release.
- Speak Their Language: Avoid marketing jargon and overused words; just write naturally so your audience can really understand what you are telling them. Search engines DO understand synonyms so to avoid repetitive words, use them with confidence. Using a variety of words will give your content a more natural feel, and have it more relate to your readers.
NOTE: Use the AP Stylebook as your guide for proper formatting and grammar in a news release format.
- Facts & Contact Info: Remember to include all the story and/or event facts simply stated for the reader and don’t forget to include detailed contact name, phone, email, and a website link.
NOTE: Be sure to include working links to websites and emails where the reader can click and connect to get more information easily.
Use this set of tips to get you started towards being the one in your office that writes better news releases. For more resources and tips visit the following links:
- To read and reference news releases posted online visit: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/
- For information on formatting a news release visit: http://service.prweb.com/learning/article/format-press-release/
Still have questions or need help? Contact us!
Do you have an event or story that you would LOVE the media to pick up, but you’re not sure how to get their attention? With so much going on in the news on a day to day basis, it is important that your event or story stands out from the crowd. Here are some key points to getting your newsworthy event written and noticed!
Writing a Pitch:
There are two types of pitches:
- A pitch based solely on a client’s request, product, service, company, etc.
- A pitch in response to a journalist’s beat or current event. Writing a pitch based on a client or client’s product/service is fairly basic. It’s like writing a news release. You need to include the 5 Ws (who, what, where, when, why & how) and clearly explain why it’s of interest to the media’s audience (readers, viewers, visitors).
Pitching the Story
There are three types of pitching categories: Cold, Warm and Hot.
- Cold – This is where you’ve never spoken to the journalist before and/or you’re not sure they’re the right person to speak with.
- Warm – This is where you know it’s the right journalist for the topic, but you haven’t spoken to them and the story isn’t related to a current event.
- Hot – Lastly, this is where you know the journalist and you have a positive relationship with them or the pitch is based on a topic the journalist recently wrote about, a current event or both.
When pitching a story, keep the recipient’s perspective in mind at ALL times. Is it convenient for them? How are you helping them? Are you giving them everything they need (a quote, access to more information, images, video, etc.)?
Email Pitching a Reporter:
The first paragraph you write is to help build a relationship with the journalist. Show you know the media outlet and the reporter/their beat. This is where tying into a recent article of theirs is appropriate. The second paragraph elaborates on what the story idea is all about. Give just enough info to get them to ask for more. The third paragraph explains and justifies the reason why the story is important and why their readers/viewers will care. The fourth paragraph is your last and should act as a closing with a call to action. This is where you offer value-add like interviews, additional info, etc.
TIP: Always remember to provide your full contact info (name, email, phone, cell phone, etc.)
Pitching is about positively placing a client in the media, but it is also about helping a journalist. Today, with trimmed staff and resources, publications and TV stations are nearly always looking for resources. If you can frame it appropriately and it’s timely, pitching can pinch hit for them, establish a relationship with the journalist/outlet and make a client happy.
NOTE: Remember to proof (ask someone else to proof it too) MANY times before sending it and consider your timing. Don’t send it first thing, last thing or at lunchtime! Keep it short and simple!
These points are a guide for you to use and reference as you develop your own writing and pitching style. Follow these guidelines as you move forward and get YOUR next story noticed by the media in the most professional, clear manner. Happy pitching!
If you have questions or need a little help getting your next pitch out, you can always contact us for help.
With four people, our old space was just too small. Now we’re in nearly 1,400 square feet with lots of room for our existing staff and those we plan to bring into the fold in the future.
Please join us on Thursday, February 2nd from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. for our open house! You can check out the new digs, write on the white erase wall and enjoy some vino / beer on us! More info on our Facebook page…
Can’t make it? Give us a call at (239) 221-2858 and set up a time to stop by! We love guests.