Thursday, January 28, 2010

In News Releases, Less Is So Much More

There's a reason why telephone numbers are only so long. When it comes to retaining a series of digits, we tend to max out at four.

Likewise, do you think of your social security number as a 9-figure monster, or a three-figure beginning, a two-digit middle, and a four-figure finale?

The same is true in writing.

Think Ernest Hemingway (right), not William Faulkner (below), as you craft stories, including those in news-release form. Hemingway was a master of brevity. Faulkner once whipped up a 1,287-word sentence.

I don't mean you should write Twitter-length releases. Some of mine are more than 600 words long, like the one I recently wrote about an 80-year-old patient of chiropractor/acupuncturist Hiroya Nakamura.

But keep the sentences short enough that they don't require three readings to attain comprehension.

A confused mind says "no" and 40-plus-word sentences tend to be much more confusing than those phrases that don't journey beyond a 25-word landscape.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

PR Alert: Time to Start Thinking about July?

Last week, with A Winning PR Recipe: Timely Stories, I touched on the importance of being timely with story ideas to the media.

And usually, all you need are a few weeks' advance notice to ensure the currency and relevance of a story pitch.

But you also have to keep your eye on longer lead times, such as a recent ditty about McAdam Landscaping offering tips to prep properties for the spring.

I realize it's January, but it may be time to start thinking about July!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Campaigning for `Office of Cook County Comic'

Sometimes, I'm called upon to write satirically. Always, it's a blast.

Check out the current media outreach about Michael Issac's campaign to create the "Office of Cook County Comic."
Michael, who goes by "The Cook County Comic," came up with the fantastic idea last week, as the election season heats up. I helped flesh it out with the news release.

Who knows? Maybe the office will become reality some day; as any observer of Cook County can attest, stranger things have happened.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Winning PR Recipe: Timely Stories

Some stories require nuance and a delicate mix of elements to make for a promising pitch to the media.

But others have a recipe no more complicated than making ice. They simply teem with timing.

A news release on how to safely shovel snow isn't such a hot idea in July, but in the Chicago area--and anywhere Old Man Winter strikes--it makes for relevant, desirable copy that helps the media render service to the public.

On behalf of Nakamura Chiropractic & Acupuncture, a Schaumburg-based practice that has retained Inside Edge PR since last April, I recently sent one such piece, headlined "Snow Way: Local Chiropractor Offers Save Shoveling Tips,", to some media in the Chicago area.

OK, that's an obvious one. In thinking about your company or cause, what's going in the next few days, weeks, or months--in your area, in this country, in your industry or in any way whatsoever--that provides a logical, newsworthy tie-in to what you do?

Brainstorm a list of ideas and begin implementing the best ones sooner rather than later, while time is still on your story-telling side.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

To Optimize Your Interview: Prepare, Pounce

I recently wrote a column for state press associations, headlined "To Get The Most Out of Your Interviews: Prepare….Then Pounce."

It grew out of a recent correspondence I had with a high school student seeking tips on the Art of the Interview. That interaction prompted another blog post, Let's Face It, A Key Part of An Interview's `Art'.

You can also read "Prepare...Then Pounce" in the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association's most recent e-newsletter.