Looking to attract more readers to your press releases? Include a photo, video or both.
A study released by PR Newswire in 2012 showed that multimedia press releases have nearly 10 times more views than standard press releases.
This new style of the press release has grown in popularity the past few years, as our attention spans shorten and our desire for visual story telling has gone up.
Multimedia press releases can look like a traditional press release with photos, videos and hyperlinks embedded in the text. These press releases could also be deconstructed to pull out core facts, descriptions, quotes, financial information, contact information or boilerplate statements into individual sections. Typically, they include photos and videos of the event referenced in the release as well as links to RSS feeds, social media pages, downloadable files and sharing options.
An interactive release creates an inclusive experience. Multimedia elements cover everything, making the experience feel fuller. Images can cut through large blocks of text, breaking the information up into easy to digest chunks. Social media connects people. Tying a press release to a social media network can ensure that messages reach your target audience.
Despite increased viewership, the majority of public relations professionals don’t use multimedia press releases. The most common responses for not using this type of press release are deficiencies in skill, time or budget.
Nevertheless, public relations professionals cannot afford to not use multimedia press releases. Multimedia releases are viewed an average of 77 percent more than standard press releases because of their interactive and visual features. The lifespan of a multimedia release is at least twice as long as a standard release: average shelf life is 20 days for a multimedia release and nine days for a standard release.
Ultimately, multimedia press releases are a growing trend; advancements in technology are making it cheaper and easier to create the multimedia content that people want to see.
As this world becomes more technologically advanced, it is only right that we follow suit and learn the skill to turn the old press releases into more innovative multimedia press releases.
Have you ever walked into an elevator only to discover that your ideal employer is standing next to you and that this may be your only chance to market yourself?
What would you say? How would you say it? Does your breathe stink?
This 30-60 second pitch coined the nickname the “elevator speech” because of the time it takes to complete a normal elevator ride from the top to the bottom.
Penny Loretto from About.com summarizes an elevator pitch as an “overview of an individual's knowledge, skills, and accomplishments,” which is then delivered in a qualified manner to a potential employer.
We spend so much time building our résumé, portfolio and website that we never think about having a well prepared speech that promotes ourselves on the spot. It is far too important to take lightly and is one of the most important materials for anybody seeking a job to have.
You know yourself better than anyone, which may lead you to assume that practicing a 60 second pitch would not be important. This is not the case. As you grow professionally, so must your pitch. If you come head to head with a dream employer and your pitch is out of date, you will essentially miss out on the opportunity to brand yourself.
Always make sure to include your name, who you are, what you’ve accomplished and where you hope to go in the future. This could be your first and LAST opportunity to get any point across to your ideal employers in a timely manner.
According to Bloomberg Business Week , an important question that one should be prepared to answer is, “What continues to set you apart from your competitions future plans?” Having a well-balanced and educated answer for this question can potentially move you from a career prospect to a job.
It is very helpful to write down all of your skills, such as the ones you may have on a résumé, and then cross off all of the cliché skills that can be found on every résumé. BE ORIGINAL! No one wants to hear the same boring speech over and over again.
Another helpful hint to prepare for a perfect elevator pitch is to read it over and over again into a mirror! My mother always said, “If you cannot look yourself in the eye, who will?”
Forbes gives a helpful hint that encourages people to check for “stop” words. These are words that will make your dream employer pause to think. YOU DO NOT WANT THIS! You want all the information you are telling your ideal employer to be straight to the point and understandable.
For example, the statement, “My Company provides integrated solutions to client’s world-wide,” is internal language, which means nothing to someone outside of the company. The best way to ensure that this does not happen is to read your pitch to someone random. If they get your pitch, you’ve successfully delivered your speech with no “stop” words.
Even Guy R. Powell, president of DemandROMI agrees. He said, “The hard part is getting your elevator pitch to contain 35 words or less. Keep editing it, rehearsing it and practicing it by saying it to your spouse, your friend and people inside and outside your industry.”
Repeat and improve your pitch where it becomes routine and easy for your ideal employer to understand. Powell said it best, “Your pitch is like a fine wine, and it can only improve with age.”
As mentioned in a previous post, press releases are fickle, but what comes at the end of a release is quite simple. These are known as boilerplate statements, which are much more straight-forward and just as important as a well-written press release.
A boilerplate statement is a one-paragraph summary of a company included at the end of a press release.
The name boilerplate comes from the late 1800s to early 1900s. Makers of steam boilers would attach a plate to the boiler so people would know who the manufacturer was. This practice transitioned to journalism in the early days of the printing press. An organization would put standardized text on metal plates that could be used and reused whenever a story mentioned that particular organization, saving time in the printing process.
Much like the metal plates that contained the same information every time, the boilerplate for a company doesn’t change often and is pasted at the end of every press release. The boilerplate describes the mission statement of the company and other background information.
So, how do you write a good one?
“About Us” information can often come across as dry and boring, and many people will skip right over the boilerplate statements because they come at the end. However, having a good boilerplate is extremely important because it may end up across all kinds of communications, from social media to print journalism.
A good boilerplate is one part facts and one part positioning. Boilerplates should contain the pertinent information about a company, usually encompassing the 5 W’s of journalism: who, what, where, when, why. Always include where the company is based, what the company does and the contact information. This will provide readers with basic information about the company and a way to contact the company if necessary.
What sets the boilerplate apart is its ability to pass a “so what?” test. Use the boilerplate statement to communicate something exceptional about the company. Was the company the first to do something? Is it the leader in its field? Is the product used by powerful organizations? Make sure to mention who you serve. Answers to the “so what?” tests should flow nicely with your informational statements, and should introduce the client and make the information relevant.
Boilerplates aren’t anything to stress out about; they simply provide an answer to the “who is this and why should I care?” questions journalists ask.
Press releases are fickle beasts. They can’t be too long or too short, and must contain enough information to hook a journalist, but not too much to bore him or her to tears. Press releases generate interest in a story, give relevant and interesting information related to the story and determine the newsworthiness of whatever the subject of the press release is.
In layman’s terms, press releases are complicated.
However, press releases don’t have to be as complicated as you’d think.
Press releases used to be the document news desks received to inform the media of what is happening in the world. Traditional definitions and practice dictated that press releases were formal documents meant to communicate to the public through the media, and that the public rarely saw the official press release document. Journalists were expected to further research press releases, then release the information to the public in the form of news coverage.
Now we have Google and all our friends online to post about asinine, mundane activities. Google curates everything posted online, from our Instagrams of our breakfasts to world-shattering developments in medical science. Google doesn’t discriminate.
With press releases being published as-is on blogs and websites, and with the extension of social media to include daily life and news together, the cornucopia of news stories is now larger than ever.
So now, journalists have pick of the litter when it comes to news stories, and these stories don’t have to come from someone’s PR department. But how do you get your press release noticed?
First, you have to write one. Each PR professional has her or his own preferred format for press releases, but a general rule of thumb is this: near the top of the page, put contact information, a headline and, if needed, subhead, and the release date.
The headline needs to be a compacted phrase outlining the release’s key points, and many writers write the headline last. It’s your call. But, whenever you write the headline, make sure important keywords are present.
The first sentence of the release needs to be the lead: make sure to include the what, who, where, when and why in the lead. Make sure it expands the headline to include relevant information that fills in gaps the headline might create. The rest of the first paragraph, if it is longer than the lead, needs to fill in the gaps with vital information.
The rest of the press release offers supplementary information. These should be organized and written in the “inverted pyramid” style: most important to least important information. Include applicable quotes from interviews to give the release a human feel; no one wants to write about something that feels automated!
Pick an angle that is intriguing – a press release allows you to frame the story. Tying your story to current events, recent studies, trends or social issues places your story in a larger context and makes it relevant. Your press release should pass the “so what” test: the release should be relevant, timely, and tied to a bigger issue. And, always tell the truth. Avoid hype, exaggeration and fluff.
Keep your writing clean and concise; this is not the medium for long, winding sentences or jargon. Reporters get tons of press releases sent to them; make yours stand out. However, (told you press releases got complicated!) make sure to write professionally. This isn’t a letter to your best friend. And, always proofread. Proofread until you can’t proofread anymore, then have someone else proofread. There is no reason whatsoever that your press release should stand out because of grammatical or spelling errors.
Overall, just breathe and tell the story. A well-done press release will get you far.