PR 101: Writing a Press Release

Thousands of press releases are distributed over the wire each day, how is your release going to stand out in comparison? Editors are receiving hundreds of press releases and pitches, many of which they will never read.  Aside from avoiding buzzwords, here are a few questions you should ask yourself when writing a press release:

Is this News?  The first question you need to ask yourself, is this newsworthy? Editors are quick to disregard any release that is more an advertisement than news.   Make your brand news stand out in an attention grabbing, visual introduction along with the who, what, when, where, why and how of the story in the first paragraph of your release.

Would I read it?  Many of my colleagues majored in journalism and I know a few journalists who are making the switch to public relations. These two professions are extremely similar. You know what is newsworthy and, lets face it, could practically write for the publications your monitor and pitch. So ask yourself, would I find this release relevant? Is this new product or campaign something I would feature? Your answer had better be a resounding yes!

Remember to Edit! And then re-edit and edit again! You can never be too cautious when editing a release. Have someone outside of your direct team read over the release. All too often your brand’s language and key messages become as familiar to you as the national anthem. It helps to get an outside set of eyes, someone who is not as familiar with your language or the program details. Another great editing tip – read your release backwards. This way if something sounds off, you will be more inclined to catch it.  If there is an error that you miss, don’t stress. Once the error is caught advise the distributor and they can edit or re-release the news if needed. At a price.
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Making Moves in the PR Firm Path

As some of you may know, several months back I started at a new public relations firm.  It wasn’t the first time.  I was at my first job just four months before I decided it was time for a change.  In public relations, there is a large portion of the professional population that find it easy to hop from place to place, either to climb the promotion ladder or work with a variety of interesting clients.  I was never raised with that mentality.  My father has been with his same company since before I was born, and I was raised to believe I would find the same kind of loyalty in my professional life.  I never took my job changes lightly.  But there are certain feelings you cannot ignore when you realize it’s time for a new track on your career path.

Like our girl B. Spears, you’re at a crossroads

You’ve “hit the ceiling” Maybe you’re stuck on an account because your firm is short staffed, and you’ve come to be the resident “expert” on the brand.  But what if that account has absolutely nothing to do with where you want to go in your PR career?  Or, you know you’ve been working at a level above your own, but because of company budget restraints you’re not eligible for a promotion for at least another 6-12 months.  Should you simply just suck it up?  You should never compare your work to your peers, but it is intimidating to know you’re working at a title you’ve surpassed or with clients you dislike, and it can easily lead to feelings of resentment with your company.  Do a little digging, and see if there are any companies looking to hire at your true level with interesting clientele.

You’re overtired – We’ll be touching the subject of “how to say no” in another post, but if you are consistently working 15 hour days with no sign of a break, or if you feel your superiors are giving you too much work and taking your dedication for granted, it may be time for a move.  Your PR company should know and understand your value and worth, in your professional AND personal life.  There is no reason you should be in the office at one in the morning on a Wednesday, unless Brad Pitt just called and he’d like to represent your brand starting tomorrow.

The atmosphere just isn’t right – Maybe a large, global corporation isn’t for you after all. You think you’d prefer a mid-size or small firm to have more interaction with the company’s team.  Or maybe you’re on the other end, and your boutique firm’s politics are driving you nuts.  As we always say, it’s just as important for a PR firm to fit you as you fit the PR firm.  It may have been your dream job when you graduated, but you’ve had some experience and feel that you know better now to move on.  Do some research or ask fellow PR girls their experience at larger/smaller firms.

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Brasserie Beaumarchais Boozy Brunch

October is one of my favorite months for a reason. Besides the crisp weather and thought of pumpkin spiced everything, it’s my birthday month! For my birthday weekend, I was tasked to find a brunch spot to celebrate. I wanted to find a place that turned into a crazy party with good music. Then I came across Brasserie Beaumarchais in Meatpacking. Turns out it’s the perfect brunch place for a birthday party.

The food was excellent. To put it into perspective, the pancakes came with peanut butter and nutella – enough said. Meanwhile, the drinks felt never-ending and the atmosphere was buzzing. At 3pm the curtains close and the dance party begins.  The trick is to make a reservation prior to 1pm and to stick around the bar till 3pm when the party starts. You pretty much forget that it’s daytime and it feels like Saturday night all over again.

I think we’ve officially found our new brunch spot – at least until Bagatelle reopens. Where’s your favorite place to brunch in the city?

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Perez Hilton’s One Night in NYC

Last night, Perez Hilton hosted his One Night in…New York City! party at the Hammerstein Ballroom. As a huge fan of his site, I went along with a girlfriend from college to see what it was all about. Aligned with Spirit Day, 100% of the ticket sale proceeds went to the GLSEN (the  Gay Lesbian & Straight Education Network), an organization for students, parents and teachers focused on ensuring a safe environment in schools.

The event included performances by Mia Moretti, DJ Pauly D, Mary J. Blige and Boyz II Men and much more. Interesting fact: Perez Hilton threw the same party in 2008 at the Highline Ballroom with a performance from the then unknown Lady GaGa! It’s great to see how many people come together to support such an important cause – all from one blog.

Perez hosts these events in cities across the nation. Have you attended any of his “One Night In…” parties?

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