What you’ll learn in NOT Your Father’s News Release
In our PR-writing workshop, you’ll learn how to:
Think Like a Reporter
Develop stories that media outlets want to run
Some 55% to 97% of all releases sent to media outlets are never used, according to Dennis L. Wilcox and Lawrence W. Nolte’s Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques.
So how can you create PR pieces that are among the 3% to 45% of those that actually get the word out?
In this PR-writing workshop, you’ll learn how to think like a reporter to develop story angles that readers want to read (and that journalists and bloggers want to run). Specifically, you’ll learn how to:
- Move from event to impact: Learn simple steps for transforming your event, speech or meeting coverage into news readers can use to live their lives better.
- Create two types of stories media outlets want more of (and avoid one they wish they’d never see again!)
- Steal secrets from Silver Anvil winners: What do nationally award-winning PR writers do that you don’t do?
Write Hot Releases
Tap current best practices, from lead to boilerplate
Prose is architecture, Ernest Hemingway famously said. It’s not interior design.
Are you building a compelling foundation for your PR pieces? Or are you still using structural techniques you learned when you were 19?
In this PR-writing workshop, you’ll learn how to organize PR pieces to grab reader attention, keep it for the long haul and leave a lasting impression. Specifically, you’ll learn how to:
- Steal a trick from The New York Times: Trade in your bloated fact packs for snappy synthesis leads.
- Build a better benefits lead with our fill-in-the-blanks approach.
- Avoid PR 101 leads: Still stuffing all those W’s and the H into the first paragraph? Still writing “XYZ Company today announces that …”? It’s time to move on to a more effective approach.
Cut Through the Clutter in PR
Measurably boost readability with our targets, tips & tools
Regardless of what you’re writing, Cutting Through the Clutter is the No. 1 way to keep readers reading.
But the stakes are even higher when it comes to PR pieces. That’s because, say, if your lead is too long, Google News might reject it. If it’s too short, Google News will reject it.
Fortunately, academics have tested and quantified what makes copy easy to read. Unfortunately, that research virtually never makes it out of the ivory tower and into the hands of PR writers who could actually apply it.
But you’ll leave this PR-writing workshop with “the numbers” you need to measurably improve your readability. Specifically, you’ll learn how to:
- Pass the Goldilocks test: Write a headline that’s not too long or too short, but just right. (Google News ignores one in five releases because the headline is too long!)
- Write a one-minute release: Journalists rarely spend longer reviewing releases, according to a Greentarget survey.
- Write by number: What’s the right length for your release? Your paragraphs? Your quotes? Your sentences? Your words?
Write Killer Bites
Turn lame-ass quotes into scintillating sound bites
Half of reporters complain that quotes in releases don’t sound natural, according to a 2014 Greentarget survey. Maybe that’s why 78% of them don’t regularly use quotes from releases.
No wonder! As one of my clients says, “Quotes in news releases sound like the teacher in a Charlie Brown cartoon: ‘Wah wah wah wah.’”
So how can you get the wah-wah out to write quotes that reporters will actually use? In this PR-writing workshop, you’ll learn how to transform your quotations from bleh to brilliant. Specifically, you’ll learn how to:
- Put a quota on quotes. Steal a trick from The New York Times to avoid overquoting.
- Avoid the worst PR clichés. PR Newswire sees 1,284 of these in a single month.
- Steal techniques from Silver Anvil winners. Make your sound bites sound better.
Lift Ideas Off the Release
Reach nonreaders with display copy
Sixty percent of your audience members aren’t reading your release, pitch or bylined article, according to estimates by professors at the University of Missouri.
So how can you craft PR pieces that reach nonreaders?
In this PR-writing workshop, you’ll learn how to use your display copy — headlines, decks and links, for instance — to pull readers into your PR pieces, make them more inviting and even communicate to flippers and skimmers. Specifically, you’ll learn how to:
- Reach the 67% of “readers” who skim the news, according to Harris Interactive Poll. (Just 19% read news word-by-word.)
- Make the most of the first 11 characters of your headline. Otherwise, potential readers might skip instead of click.
- Make your release, pitch or other PR piece 47% more usable by adding a few simple elements.
Optimize for Google and Humans
Master SEO for releases
Optimizing your release can increase the audience for your news by 538%, website visits by 1,900% and tweets by 800%, according to five side-by-side case studies by SEO-PR and Rutgers CMD.
The good news is, news release optimization takes only a few simple steps. The bad news is, few PR pros know what those steps are. Even some of the best-intentioned pros use SEO techniques that get penalized — not rewarded — by Google.
In this PR-writing workshop, you’ll learn the latest best practices for optimizing your release. Specifically, you’ll learn how to:
- Avoid Google’s wrath. Avoid best practices from last year that Google now treats as gaming the system. The penalty: lower rankings.
- Link for SEO. Learn where to link, how often to link, how to write a release link (it’s different from every other kind) and what you must add to your links to avoid being penalized by Google.
- Optimize for semantic search. Now that Google’s gotten smarter, as well as tougher, keyword stuffing can’t help, might hurt. So what’s a writer to do?
I’m ready to learn to write a great PR piece! I’d like to:
- Book Ann for an in-house or association workshop.
- Sign up to be notified next time this class is offered as a public workshop.
- Browse all writing workshops.
Questions? Contact Ann.