Archive for the ‘PR Connections’ Category

Hated PR Phrases

Erica Swallow has worked for a year at Mashable, (a tech and digital news site) and in that time has come across several pitch phrases that she despises. They are listed here.

  1. 1.Circle Back
  2. 2.Follow Up

Both of these phrases are used when the email sent by the reporter does not get a timely response. They assume that the email “may not be working or was caught by spam.” In most cases, this is not the reason. Most likely the pitch was dry, confusing or lengthy and the writer didn’t have time to figure out what the message was really about.

3. “Put Out Some Feelers” This brings a picture of insects to mind, and Swallow says to get back to her when you become a human again.

4. “Gauge/Re-Gauge Your Interest”  Swallow says  that if she wasn’t interested the first time, she probably isn’t in need to have her interest “regauged.”

5. “IndustryLeading” 6.”Revolutionary”                                                                                 7.”Groundbreaking”

All three of these phrases will get reporters to promptly delete your email or respond with a short “not interested.”

8.  “Did you get my email?”/ “I noticed you didn’t respond.”

The message is: email works.  To speak plainly:  Not interested!

If you work in public relations, Swallow suggests that you try to avoid completely annoying the reporters you work with. And: “Limit the PR jargon and just be a human.”


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Last fall, Facebook launched a new page for media. This Wednesday, it was  announced that they’ve done it again. This time it is Facebook for Journalists. This page is more about the individual and is geared to help journalists latch onto the power of Facebook with the help of other journalists. It provides a place encouraging peer collaboration and best practices and tips for more effective writing.

Facebook as provided a “Getting Started” page that walks you through the process of getting your own page within the Facebook for Journalists area. It also shares links to articles that give advice and tips to Journalists, beginners and pros alike.

Facebook also lists other uses for Facebook for Journalists. Some of these uses include posting requests for sources, polling for audience feedback, and articles concerning journalism and Facebook.

With video interviews of top journalists, a registration tab for notification of journalists meetings in the local areas, and polling and discussion options; it is evident that great care was taken to be thorough when setting up the Facebook for Journalists page.

Already supported by many well known journalists, it will be interesting to see how well this page does.  Looks like it’s off to a good start.  Read the whole article by Jeremy Porter.

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At a recent South By Southwest conference held in Austin, Texas, Becky Johns picked up a few vibes on what may become the next trends affecting PR Pro’s. Here are four that seemed to be creating a buzz at the conference.

1. Group texting. Johns says this is the most widespread phenomenon that she and many others were participating in. Small groups were sharing with each other via texting. In this setting where travel wasn’t an issue, it was mostly used to set up places to meet, etc. Prominent apps for group messaging included GroupMe and Beluga. Johns foresees these apps as possibly replacing email and Facebook in the future.

2.  Hashable. Many people use this app to network.  It bills itself as “a way to exchange business cards, make easy intro’s and ‘check in’ with people to track meetings and calls.”

3. Name your price deals. There was a lot of talk about Zaarly. The company describes it as “a proximity based, real-time buyer-powered market. Buyers make an offer for an immediate need, and sellers cash in on an infinite marketplace for items and services they never knew were for sale.” Basically, it’s a place where a “buyer” lists what they’re willing to pay for something and the “sellers” seek out the business.

4.  Smaller is better. No one was “into” the big events, preferring the smaller conversations groups and panels that were set up for RSVP’ed people only. The trend towards reaching larger groups seems to be lessening as people are beginning to look for keeping communities “niche-focused and active.”

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twitter: AP Style

On Ragan’s PR Daily, I saw a recent article from Kevin Allen who suggested AP Stylebook on Twitter as a great resource for improving PR writing. It includes daily tips that are helpful to any writer.  Ten tips are included in his post from the Twitter stream.

Today’s tip: It’s daylight saving time. Not savings, and no hyphen. #APStyle

Singular proper names ending in ‘s’: Use only an apostrophe. Achilles’ heel; Dickens’ theme. #APStyle @Jaybee_eats

@whuddafugger Yes, the verb is to tweet: AP Stylebook tweeted an answer to your question. #APStyleChat

@RaoulFOX5 An event cannot be described as annual until it has been held in at least two successive years. #APStyleChat

An AP Stylebook pronunciation tip: Qatar, which will host the World Cup in 2022, is pronounced GUH’-tur. #apstyle

A reminder: While website is lowercase, the Web is capitalized. #apstyle @markdubya @JamesEBriggs

New to the Stylebook: Names of most websites and apps are capitalized. Use quotes only for game titles. #APStyleChat

New to the Stylebook: It’s handheld as a noun but hand-held as an adjective. #APStyleChatless than a minute ago via CoTweet

The entry on the Great Recession has been updated to say NBER economists declared that it ended in June 2009. #apstyle

@Mandersat It’s OK, OK’d, OK’ing, OKs. Do not use okay. #APStyle

These are his tips. The last one was news to me.  I thought it was better to spell it out…..okay. I guess that’s not OK.

For the entire article, click here.

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Quick Press Release

In our PR Writing class at Southeastern University, we in Barbara Nixon’s class have an assignment due this week to write a PR Press Release. I thought it would be timely to use this topic as a PR Connection. Mickie Kennedy recently addressed this topic and here is a condensed version of her advice.

1. Keep a List of ideas.  I have done this in the past for fiction writing, but I see how it can be useful for any writer in any genre’.

2. Stay on Point.  Be clear with as few words as possible.

3. Outline your press release. Creating a basic outline of the main points that need to be covered will help you to stay focused.

4. Write when you’re inspired. I’ve also found this to be true with any type of writing.

5. Recycle old information when possible. Don’t rehash, but some standard information about your client should go into each press release.

6.  Edit later.  Don’t kill your writing flow! If time permits, it’s good to walk away and then come back and reread it.  It helps you to catch typo’s, which you DO NOT want to make, especially when dealing with other professionals!

For the article in its entirety, click here.

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Podcasts are great tools for PR!

While trolling for interesting topics and helpful hints for the PR student.  I came across an article on Mickie Kennedy’s blog that gave some great tips for finding the best PR tips and practices.

The first tip is to listen to podcasts.  Easy to find and utilize, you can multitask and listen while exercising, driving, or doing chores.

Next, we’re encouraged to take a class or a Webinar.  From personal experience, I can say both of these options are helpful.  In addition to NewsU (which I’ve talked about in previous PR Connections) he gives several other free PR Webinars.

Another great tip is to check out YouTube.  There are great instructional tutorials and lectures to be found there.  Kennedy lists several you might want to try out.

The fourth tip is to find a friend or co-worker.  “Study groups are not just for college kids!” Other suggestions in this same vein are to talk shop with a co-worker, or find someone that can teach you and see if you can barter skills.

The final tip is one that we all know….READ!  Included in Kennedy’s tips are suggestions for books, e-books, trade magazines, and other blogs.  For more information and his complete blog, click here.

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Is It Newsworthy?

One big concern when writing a news article is the question, “Is it newsworthy?”  Whether an old pro or a newbie, this is a question that many have.  If you fall into either of these categories, Susan Young gives six tips to help you make that decision.  Here is my paraphrased version of  them.

#1. Who cares?  Young says if you can answer this question, you should respond by putting it in the headline or subject line. #2. What makes my story stand out among hundreds that a reporter will see today?  (Be creative with your pitch).  #3. What is the relevance of my story to the reporter? #4. When is this story most important?  It should be today or in the near future.  Yesterday’s news is……yesterday’s news. #5. What is the human factor?  How can you connect with readers’ emotions? Question #6 is:  How can this story help others?

Most unsolicited press releases are considered interruptions in an already busy work day for most reporters.  You need to go for impact!  Your article must grab the attention quickly and then deliver!  Creativity is the name of the game at this point!

If you find this information helpful, you may enjoy Susan’s free video series, Speaking of Communication.

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