Thursday, May 28, 2009

Press Releases

For several days I have been in a "discussion" with some of a client's employees, about press releases. I wrote a press release for the client in February, when it had important, hot news to announce. One of the employees wanted to send it out again now, a little reworded, but about the same "news". And not only to the media, but also to others - community organizations mainly. This prompted me to send the client the following:

"Coming from someone who has dealt with the media for decades, permit me to point out the difference between a press release and a bulletin (or "announcement", or "promo").

A press release is a news announcement; it is about something that is just now happening and it is sent to writers, assignment editors and all sort of good folk who sit around in newsrooms (newspaper, magazine, radio, TV) in an effort to get their attention, so that they will publish it and/or invite you in for an interview (the latter is preferred!).

Press releases should not be sent to bankers, retailers, customers, community organizations, your Board of Advisers, or your mother-in-law (you get the picture!); their sole target is the news media.

Everyone else gets a bulletin (or announcement, etc. - whatever it is called, as long as it's not called a "press release") -- the content can be the same, it should, however, be written specifically for its target(s), and it does not have to be about "new news". In other words, a press release that was written in February can be repackaged as a bulletin in May and sent to non-media targets."

If you ever receive a "press release" and you are not a member of the press, return it to its sender and point out the above difference! You would be doing a favor.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I've Been Blogged!

Toby Bloomberg, she of the Diva Marketing Blog, recently did a survey of Atlanta women who use social media for marketing purposes - their own and their clients'. Delicious results. Go and check them out!

Monday, May 18, 2009

National Small Business Week

Does anyone care? I asked the PR person at the Atlanta office of the U.S. Small Business Administration a month or so ago if they were planning any Atlanta events and he said: "not that I am aware of". There is a conference and awards event in Washington, D.C. this week, and the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce has an event, also with awards, on the 21st, but that seems to be about it. I guess we're all just too busy doing business, to do much celebrating . . .!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Grammar, spelling - esoteric niceties or compelling necessities?

In on-line communications (e-mail, blogs, tweets certainly!), syntax and punctuation have already fallen by the wayside, but how about grammar and spelling? Do they still matter?

Frankly, when I receive an e-mail that starts with "Hey their", my finger is on the "delete" key in a split second. Am I missing an important business opportunity because I cannot get past that "Hey their"? Or how can I keep from feeling less positive than before about the blogger who habitually writes "it's" instead of "its" -- as in 'the house and its rooms', 'the proposal and its goals' - or uses 'criteria' when it should be 'criterion'?

So, this is my question today: do grammar and spelling still matter or have they become esoteric niceties?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

LinkedIn Profile Updated

I updated my LinkedIn profile today, including an edgier explanation of my specialties:

"Clear and concise communications; when a communication is to be written, it deserves to have impeccable grammar, spelling, punctuation and syntax, and verbosity, cliches and hype must be banned. Language, in its pristine form, is a beautiful thing. I write for people who cannot or will not write for themselves."

What's your specialty in the business world?

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Value of LinkedIn

"Many professionals still don't understand how LinkedIn can be valuable on a daily or weekly basis." These are not my words. They are Reid Hoffman's. In an interview with Inc. magazine (May 2009 issue), LinkedIn's founder recounts his entrepreneurial career, ending with a tip on how to stay current as a professional - through the use of LinkedIn, of course.

I was not an early fan of this social network when I was first introduced to it about 5 years ago, but especially in the past 6 months or so, I have clearly seen its value and now I am a huge fan. If you're not already in LinkedIn and using all it has to offer, you are missing opportunities for your career or business.