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By: Alex Fernandez
Internet Marketing Strategist
I can remember the morning very clearly. It was mid-fall 2011. Samantha walks in with a new flavor of Starbucks coffee, and a new idea for a PTE food drive called “CAN IT! Putting Hunger in its Place this Thanksgiving.” The idea was to partner with CCMI of Fort Myers and put heels-to-the-ground, gathering donations through a grassroots effort. Together, the PTE office generated more than 500 can donations for CCMI in just six short weeks.
Well, CAN IT! is back, baby – and better than ever. As the (ehem, braggadocio) REIGNING CHAMP from last year, with 175 food donations, I wanted share what I took away from CAN IT!
A couple of my friends and neighbors really floored me with their generosity and willingness to pay it forward. One of the first neighbors I talked to was a friend of mine that happened to be sitting down next to me for lunch. I told him about our goal of 500 items. He explained that he was hit hard by the recession and really didn’t have any extra food or money to buy food donations. However, he DID help in a big way, by talking to some of the other residents in my condominium building. Spreading the word was just as helpful to the cause as donating.
If you cannot donate, then please be sure to share this blog entry with some of your email or social media contacts! Every share counts!
Another memorable conversation was with the owner of a local sandwich shop. I told him about CAN IT! and how we were trying to collect food donations for CCMI on thanksgiving, and hastily committed to getting a donation ready. The morning of the food donation, he had two cases of cans ready to donate. It’s amazing to see local businesses contribute so selflessly.
Probably most memorable, was one of our “office neighbors” who rallied their entire office and brought well over 30 food donations. The morning before Thanksgiving, he told us about how he and other close to him had experienced hunger first-hand in the past, and how much they approved of the CAN IT! food drive.
So for 2012, we have upped our goal. We are hoping to secure at least 1,000 food donations for our local CCMI food kitchen. What’s great about CCMI is that all donations will be dropped off at the local Fort Myers CCMI and taken directly into their facility, where it will be prepared for those in need.
Please visit the CAN IT page on our website, for donation ideas and drop-off points throughout Fort Myers and Estero. As new drop-off locations open up, we will update our website and share on our Facebook page, so be sure to like or subscribe for updates.
With pantries full of food you’ll never eat, BOGO deals at local grocery stores, and a generous and compassionate community to help spread the word, there is no need for hunger this season! If you want to get involved, by either donating OR opening a food donation location, contact us at (239) 221-2858 or email@example.com.
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.
Yes, we’ve got another announcement to make! Rounding out our recent growth spurt, we’re excited to share that we’ve added Matt Mernin to our team!
Hired as an Interactive Web Developer, he will be responsible for all web development, coding, design, and email campaigns. He’ll also collaborate with Alex Fernandez, our Internet Marketing Strategist, for other web-based projects.
A lifelong resident of Lee County, Matt has been doing graphic and web design for nearly 10 years. He will soon graduate from Full Sail University with a Bachelor’s degree in web design and development, with a focus on Web development usability and standards.
His skills are timely addition to the marketing mix we offer at Pushing the Envelope, Inc. and we’re proud to have him on the team! You can contact him at matt(at)getpushing.com.