Professional writer and press manager

Communication is at the heart of writing

It’s not easy blowing your own trumpet is it? I find it hard! I mean, that’s kind of ironic since my job is to blow other people’s: you’d think it would be easy for me. But alas. I write blog pieces that contain ideas and strategy and tips for small businesses, to help them. Rarely do I say we got a client published in the Guardian the other day. Or we liaised with the front page of MSN Lifestyle to get our clients’ amazing work noticed.

But we do it. Silently, whilst also thinking of valuable blog posts to give hints and tips to other small businesses in the area. For example, through our monthly package with The Cornish Seaweed Company, we’ve seen them feature everywhere from BBC’s Saturday Kitchen to The Guardian Sustainable Business section. Chocolarder have been in the Spring edition of Home and Garden, as well as Delicious having profiled recently, and many other exciting things happening.

Seaweedguardian

As a business, content is not good enough.

Seems an outlandish statement for a freelancer in Cornwall and Devon, right? I mean a good half of my week is dedicated to writing content for companies. But what I mean is that being content with erm content isn’t good enough. It needs to be exciting, engaging and shareable in order for it to provide a high ROI.

Every single expenditure you make on behalf of your business needs to be quantified; hence some companies are hesitant to outlay money for content marketing, PR and communications.

Yet, this element is essential to getting your message heard. You need to have faith that you’re choosing a content writer who prioritises ROI. Much of my week is dedicated to helping promote other businesses, via social media channels and article creation, and by weaving a network of contacts to hold clients together and increase outreach.

Freelance writer with ROI in mind

Content writing needs to evidence ROI to be justified

Initially, upon launching my career as a freelancer, I had a steady flow of clients, and spent days writing articles and white papers; living out my dreams of just playing with words all day. But, like you, a time came when I had to find a way to expand my client base. Here, I learnt the key role communication has in business.

 

 

 

Communications is as the heart of good writing

Some client news stories my packages have helped

You can be making the best product or service, but the world needs to know about it. This is best managed through a series of communications. I mostly use twitter, blogging and press release for myself, and offer packages involving these from just £150 per month. The ROI of this helped one client’s sales quadruple as a result of the work. So the ROI on £150 a month was in excess of 10 times the expenditure.

I have produced content that has wowed big companies in London: from Innocent drinks to Thompson Holidays, and Tasting Britain. However, I am a Cornish girl who is passionate about our beautiful county and enjoys finding communication solutions for local businesses.

 

The power of words is not enough: they need to be communicated to the right audience as well. And this is my job. To discuss how content, copy, white papers or PR & s

ocial media can help raise your profile, give me a call today on 07729263818. Or use my contact form to drop me a line.

Professional writer and press manager

Pitching a press release (by a freelance writer)

As a freelance writer, there are many projects I write for. From Robotics to Speech and Language Therapy, and from food and health to climate change and coppicing. However, having worked my way up from pot washer to head chef, head waitress and many other food related positions, I am happy to say I am also a freelancer who specialises in food and drink in Cornwall.

Last week was a great week for being a food writing freelancer because I visited loads of places, including Quicke’s farm in Devon. Mary Quicke is one of the most inspirational people I have met. Her face lit up when I asked whether looking after her staff was important to her and she replied that she wanted to give people wings. This is one of the reasons I started working with small businesses. I know the passion that people put in and you’re putting all the effort into creating amazing products, I want other people to know about how great they are.

freelance writer for food and drink in Cornwall

Freelance press release writing gets results

 

One of the best ways to do this is by writing press releases and conducting press campaigns and establishing good press relationships. At the start I didn’t understand the importance of this, and cringe-ably used a kind of say and spray technique.

Often blasting news at over 1000 poor journalists and bloggers, I can assure you, does not make you popular.

So before you even send the thing, spend time creating a bespoke list of press contacts. People who are genuinely interested in what you might have to stay. It takes time, but this is the beauty of enlisting an expert press release writer. They’ll know who might publish, and how to get the results you want. Otherwise a good place to start is by finding reporters who have previously written about your subject, and approaching them.

But here’s the secret to that…

Ascertain a budget prior to contacting. Know what your budget is and how much, if any, you’re going to spend on advertising. Many publications will offer you space for advertising. If you aren’t going to consider this, you’d be well advised to make it clear in your pitch.

Copywriter in Cornwall specialises in press release

Putting a bit of personality in a pitch helps

 

And the pitch.

That terrifying moment that could make all the difference between your release being read or deleted.

For what it’s worth, there are ways to make the pitch work for you. It’s predominantly dependent on understanding how your news is going to benefit that publication, or even particular journalist. Wherever you can, refer to a related story or angle previously covered, to put your idea into context.

Don’t be afraid to be friendly!

You’re pitching to another human, so write as such. I often report what I can see from my window. I’m sure this isn’t thrilling, but rather it makes the connection of being a real person, experiencing real life. Which is priceless through so much digital, clinical, impersonal fluff.

Freelance writer in Cornwall

Then again some of our views are amazing in Cornwall

Don’t use any hyperbole either. Just chat like you would to a friend, outlining why you think the release might be useful to them.

Offer to help if they need anything more, and then sign off.

So ultimately the key is to be personal, be friendly and be helpful. And that’s all. If you’d rather pass it over to someone who’s been there before, give me a call or drop me a line.

Cheers!

 

Lx

Professional writer and press manager

Can your brand afford not to have a professional handling social media?

Clearly intended to invite controversy, the title of Steve Farnsworth’s article Is Social Media Beyond A Public Relations Professional’s Skill Set is pretty effective at producing clickbait.  And that’s its intention. Any article’s intention is to inform people of its angle, but more importantly to incite a reaction: igniting enquiry. I was no rebel for resistance when I saw this little gem early this morning.

Having actually read his article, and the article that incited him to write it, it transpires that I agree entirely with both articles’ premise, and wish now to contribute my own opinion on the relationship between being a PR professional and managing clients’ social media accounts.

Weaving together a raft of skills gained, from marketing to content creation, from social media to journalism and everything in between; it’s the job of a PR professional to create brand messages that are seen by the public. Be that in 140 characters via twitter or an extended blog post about the latest news, and company developments; everything counts as content, and everything creates a dialogue between your brand and the public.

By opting to choose a professional in modern PR, you should find someone who is able to strategise your social media usage, ensuring they:

  • create targeted, insightful content to appeal to a wide audience of prospects
  • educate and inspire both existing customers and prospects to engender trust and build a culture of respect for the brand’s authority
  • generate targeted leads and new sources for lead generation through engaging relevant prospects
Expert content creation is linked with social media

PR Professionals need to wear the hats of experts in marketing and social media today

PR, like SEO, content creation and arguably sales and marketing in general, is a movable feast. Particularly in the digital area. It’s a long lasting relationship that incorporates all kinds of skills and knowledge, which change daily.

Like mighty oaks on a still night, the principles are unbending: you want to increase exposure, focusing on targeted prospects, present a positive public image of the company and build trust relationships. But where PR has changed is that it’s interlinked with content creation. And it’s essential now to offer value to prospects and existing clients. This often happens in the form of linking content marketing to social media. And to being available on social media channels to answer questions and develop dialogue.

For example, embedded into my work with Chocolarder and The Cornish Seaweed Company, is recipe creation to engage prospects. This is giving people who are interested in the product something for free. They don’t have to use Chocolarder chocolate or Cornish Seaweed to create the recipe. It’s personal choice. However, since many people have also read the copy in the About Us section, and interacted via social media, the majority have a vested interest in the ethos of the company and will choose their product.

Giving prospects something valuable to take away

Content creation includes recipes

The result is that by giving people a valuable product, albeit free recipes or advice, you strengthen your position as an authority on the subject, whilst also creating desire through subtle marketing. Gone are the days of the hard sell, with individuals preferring to invest in companies who create a feeling.

It stands to reason then, that the same person who is creating the tone of voice across all channels –  blogs to brochures, and pins to tweets – ought to be responsible for managing PR campaigns. So in retort to Farnsworth’s question: A PR professional is more than qualified to manage social media. So long as they’re forward thinking, modern professionals who understand the evolutionary and fluid nature of all things digital. Preferably with an online portfolio demonstrating a varied toolkit to draw from.

I can offer content management and brand development across all channels, including PR campaigns or management.

Some of my clients choose to outsource my services, and for others I have an in-house role. How much or little involvement you wish me to have depends entirely on your business, your budget and your preference. If you want me to suggest ideas; I’m full of them. However, I’m also pretty well qualified at just converting words into stories.

To have a chat about any of this, please feel free to call 07729263818 or email me laura[at]palavermaven.co.uk.

Professional writer and press manager

How did I get onto the front page of Google for ‘Copywriter in Cornwall’?

Carving ornate oceanic clefts to beguile his mistress, the pufferfish seeks to let the world know humans aren’t the only ones impressed by ‘culture’. Today, we walk the landscape of a world where we’ve never had such an easy way to be powerful communicators ever before. As whistling and clicking languages evolved into complex grammatical systems, we now saturate the fibres of the internet with these snippets of culture.

Investing in crafted content yields a high ROI

Primarily focusing on high quality content, SEO’s landscape is changing

Proving that the landscape of SEO has really changed; in just 2 months I have managed to use expert communications and copywriting alone to secure a spot on the front page of Google. In saying secure, I mean ‘hesitantly hover’ and in saying communication and copywriting, I am not denying that I have acquired some SEO skills. I just mean: if I can do it, then so can you. My seaweed harvesting, cutting and drying clients are enjoying similar exposure. So I’m going to share with you some of the ways I’ve done things, to help your brand too.

Start local

Purely focusing on high value content will help your brand get recognised

If you type copywriter Cornwall into Google, you will see my name!

Having grown up in Cornwall, and spent over 25 of my 34 years here, I am aware that the place is small when compared with other counties up and down our island. My work is not limited to Cornwall. I liaise daily with people from Penzance to Aberdeenshire and Narbeth to Norfolk; plus many overseas folk too. However, the population density of Cornwall has made hitting the top spot here easier than when I lived in Bristol.  Once clients start recommending you to others, you’ll soon acquire wider connections.

Care about your content, and make readers care too

Expertly written and high value content is the most valuable thing you can invest in. I don’t mean financially. Although, by all means hire me to write for you, or have someone in-house do it; but, be it in time or money, this expenditure will have the most impressive ROI. Patiently tending to the science and flavour notes of roasting, winnowing and making his own chocolate, Mike from Chocolarder and I have some lengthy conversations to ensure we get his message right across his communications. Mike cares about his content, I care about words and it makes his followers care about his brand. His sales have recently quadrupled, due to implementing an integrative strategy in his marketing.

Harness the behemoth that is the media

Whether it’s announcing a new product or partnership, giving an expert opinion on a news piece, or publicising a forthcoming event: use the media to get your name out there. I met a guy through the amazing internet lift-sharing phenomenon blablacar who gave me this bit of advice: drench the media. He had met a DJ who loved Lana Del Rey, decided he wanted to work with her and managed it; through soaking social media sites with links to his stuff. This collaboration, of course,catapulted his career. When used correctly, the media and the press release act as validations of your authenticity. Particularly when they come from high quality sources, such as authority newspapers.

Understand linking

In saying this, I have not spent any money on backlinks, nor have I really traded them. I have guest posted, and asked others to guest post for me: to give a different perspective, or talk about a different theme. This still prioritises content, as I have only asked people whose writing I know is of a high quality, and interest to give value to my readers. However, something I only learnt this summer is how to use linking effectively.

If you look at the anchor phrases (the words in red) used in any of the links in this article, you’ll see they generally explain what something is, or does, as opposed to just stating its name. What this does is links the keywords to the site: strengthening their potency.

Using pictures breaks up the text

Pictures offer high value content to readers

Picture tags

Another thing I have figured out only recently is that Google likes pictures. That’s probably because my friend, editor, and expert writer Jack ‘Koukouvaya’ Oughton said that exact phrase to me when giving me editorial guidelines for my Tasting Britain submissions. When you add pictures to your posts: not only do they look better, but actually you get to give descriptions, which usually naturally emphasise your key words.

In both my life and my writing, I like everything to be as natural and organic as possible. And somehow following these steps has helped me reap the rewards. I deplore bragging, but am telling the truth when I say if I can do it, so can you.

If you do want some advice or consultancy on getting your brand noticed, call me for a chat or drop me an email. But be warned: I love chatting! It’s what Palaver Maven means!

pa·lav·er: Idle chatter. Talk intended to charm or beguile.
ma·ven : A person who has special knowledge or experience; an expert

07729263818 or laura(at)palavermaven.co.uk.

7 Deadly sins of press release creation

When articulated well and containing useful, relevant information, the humble press release can still achieve excellent results in promoting your event or company news. I’ve been handling press releases for Bristol businesses and many others reaching the length and breadth of the UK and US now. Whilst unable to guarantee publishing, avoiding committing the seven sins of bad PR should put you in good stead for consideration by journalists, bloggers and media types.

#1 Your title is not striking

As the opener, the title is the first thing a journalist will see. If it’s clunky, badly written or too long, it may well be the only thing they’ll see. With this in mind: make it punchy and a good condensed version of the key newsworthy angle of your release. Opting to use puns or wordplay is only really successful if it’s actually funny.

#2 You’ve written it in the first person

Many companies make the mistake of more or less lifting the content of their press release from their ‘About Us’ page. A press release is never written in the first person. It should never say “we’ve achieved” this or “I believe” that. It’s always written as though someone else is presenting your story: hopefully the myriad journalists who see it as newsworthy. Of course, quotes from the CEO or MD are kept in the first person.

#3 You’ve not exploited quotes

Touched upon above, it’s really important to emphasise the importance of quotes. Once you’ve decided on an angle for your story, include quotes from yourself or a company spokesperson. As well as being the only part of a release that is acceptable in the first person, quotes are the only thing journalists can’t change. As such these are an opportunity to really sell your idea, event or news.

#4 Punctuation sucks

Anything from a rogue apostrophe to overuse of CAPS will make the decision to delete you release for good, easy for potential journalists. Editors, reporters and journalists are busy people with tight deadlines to consider. Think of this when creating your press release. It needs to be as ‘ready to use’ as possible to, ultimately, save time. If you’re not sure on the rules of English, ask someone to proof your news who is. Or employ a writer to create your press release for you.

#5 Where’s that?

No stone should be left unturned when it comes to exactly who your company are and where to find them. As a subheading, include a summary before your first paragraph including who and where you are and the angle. Part of my service includes undertaking this research for clients, but many journalists won’t be this patient and if you don’t include all information, they may well reject your press release.

#6 It reads too much like an advert

This is a tricky balance to create. Essentially, you do want the release to act as a form of free advertising for your company. However, you can’t make it too promotional. Foremost, a press release should be a presentation of facts, so keep it factual and use objective copy as opposed to using too much hyperbole or making unrealistic claims about your company.

#7 Irrelevant content

Again, a really common mistake companies make when creating their press releases for submission is forgetting to find a newsworthy angle. Although you may wish to promote a 30% sale, which is great news to existing customers, how is it relevant to the readership of your target press? You need to relate the benefits to the journalist’s readers in order to maximise their chances of publishing. Read news in that sector and relate your release to an angle.

These are just some examples of mistakes I have seen when companies send me their ‘sketched out’ press releases. Of course, if you’re sending it to a professional writer to create, then an outline of what the news is and who you want to attract with it should be satisfactory. Please see pdf. examples of my releases on Cision to look at structure and word count. Or contact me today to see what I can produce for you.

Press Release photos: the great debate

Often when writing your own press release, you’ll seek advice and follow guidance you find online, which can produce great results. I mean, that’s one of the great things about the internet, isn’t it?! However, conventions are different across the globe and in the UK press journalists will not wish to open emails with attachments, since a) it’s more time consuming and b) they can contain viruses.

So begins the great debate about images in your press release.

Indubitably, you should always include an image with text. It helps to break text up; shows your brand identity; is usually more eye catching than simply words on a page; and is often the very first point of contact between you and your prospects.

So what are the rules for including images and how do you go about getting this right?

Plain and simple

Despite creating a beautiful press release with your logo at the top and all of the stylistic conventions recommended for writing a good press release, the actual email you send to your press list should be simple. This means it should contain no html, no embedded images and no attachments. It will look plain, but it will also bypass any filters those clever editors, journalists and bloggers have put on to minimise the risk of spam.

So how can you get your images to journalists?

#1 set up a dropbox for press images

Dropbox provides a free and easy place to store the relevant images to accompany your press release. Highlight the link to this at the beginning or within the actual pitch of the email, to ensure your readers know they are easily accessible.

#2 include a pictures section of your website

Creating a section of your website that contains a selection of relevant images means that any interested parties can simply access (and preferably download) images to accompany any text they may decide to run on you. Keeping things nice and easy will increase your chances of being published, so include a high resolution image in an easy access format, such as JPG.

#3 have a supply of pictures ready to send to journalists

The truth is that if the story itself is newsworthy enough and the article well written, the journalists for the most specific publications will write to ask you for pictures. Be sure to have them stored neatly, named aptly and in JPG format and this way they’ll be ready to go. It’s also important to respond as quickly as possible. Many journalists work to tight deadlines and really appreciate swift responses.

#4 Submit your story to a PR site or blog

If there is an online version of your news story available, journalists may collect the images from this site if they wish. This makes the process easier, whilst also contributing to your site’s SEO. My Cision news page means your images can be accessed immediately and downloaded.

For advice or assistance with creating a perfect press release or any written task for your business, please use the contact form to email me or feel free to call for a chat any time. My number is 07729 263818

Why Google’s algorithm change means you should use small PR companies

Those with their fingers on the algorithmic pulse ought to have been aware of Google’s latest changes in the form of Panda 4.0. But what will it mean for your business?

Google is renowned for being a smart company. As it strives to provide rich content for searchers, changes have happened to the way in which ranking works yet again. Focused on a developing the most efficient form of search, Google has and will continue to make changes to where results are placed within its ranks. Designed to weed out sites with flimsy keyword loaded drivel in the content pages, as writer I wholeheartedly endorse these changes because they mean more sites will be providing quality content.

In terms of blog posts and regular articles, ensure that your content is being updated regularly and with real information. It’s pleasing to see that many SMBs and SMEs are following this trend; providing solutions to industry specific questions and building relationships with clients.

An article I read yesterday forecasts a bleak future for large PR wires who prefer the tactic of spamming writers with many press releases, bursting with flimsy links but no real content. The great thing about using a small company to write your press release is knowing that it has been created by someone who cares about their company, so won’t rush the release just to make up numbers.

More importantly, a smaller company has a reputation to consider;and as such is less likely to risk spamming journalists. It’s better to take time building specific lists tailored to a journalist’s own preference. I always put a copy of the release onto my Cision news page and promote this using social media as well as sending to relevant journalists, which ensures the release is gaining exposure. This method of distribution takes time and effort to constantly evolve and respond to changes, but that’s how Google are working and more widely how all technology is adapting and small businesses should adapt with it.

It’s a recommended form of distributing to take time to build a targeted list, maintaining relationships by phone call rather than just emails. Effectively, the more penalties incurred by automated press release sites;, the higher benefit there will be to real PR services who genuinely wish to support clients, rather than being overly spammy.

Google is big brother: they are watching you, they know what you’re going to do next and this latest development is ensuring press release distribution companies are taking their jobs seriously and contacting the right people with the right information.

For free, no obligation advice on press release or any other content, please call or email for a chat and I will do my best to help you.

 

7 ways a press release will help your business

In an ever more digitalised world, the face of marketing is constantly changing. With a reported 4.3 million people working from home in 2014, many small and medium businesses and enterprises are managing everything from their own home offices. But there does come a time when each small business has to seek help elsewhere.

I, for example, am a words person. When it comes to numbers I’m all fingers and thumbs. I’ve been known to end up with a calculator shaped dent in my forehead after doing my accounts. Thankfully my Dad takes care of those now;  he used to be an accountant at Island Records. (Well, allegedly this was his title, but seemingly getting high with Aswad was ‘part of the job’!) Similarly with behind-the-scenes website maintenance, I have sought the help of WordPress guru Paul Sandford.

So, if you’re thinking of getting help with press release submission, these are my ideas about how it will help your business.

#1 Press Releases give you more exposure

Whatever your business or trade, we can all do with more exposure. Finding ways to le the maximum number of people know about your great products or services is one of the most important things for new or small businesses. When I write press releases I build a bespoke list. Bigger doesn’t always mean better, depending on how niche the area of your press release is. For example, I recently wrote a press release for a chocolate company who wished for it to be submitted to wholesale press organisations. The pick up rate of this piece was through the roof. It was very niche.

That said, I wrote a release for a company in the construction industry recently who got an average pick up rate of 5 publications but also gained custom through a journalist forwarding the email to her parents.

#2 A Press Release increases your social media followers

As part of what I do, I like to help promote clients’ services and businesses as much as possible. By using relevant hashtags, linking to the article about the service and interacting with other social media users, this furthers your exposure online by gaining interest in your social media.

#3 A Press Release will boost your SEO

By using SEO savvy linking in your press release and encouraging online publishers to link directly to your site, a press release will be good for your SEO ranking. The use of keywords will enrich your content, links will strengthen your position and also the mentions to your site using hashtags on social media will enhance your web presence.

#4 A Press Release gives you an authority voice

Within a well written press release there should be quotes from the spokesperson for the company. This is usually the CEO or Managing Director. These quotes are valuable because journalists can’t change them. Any other information used in a press release can be modified. Getting an important message across in an authority voice will give prospects confidence in you and your business.

#5 You can make some great contacts through a Press Release

Whether it’s journalists who will prefer to deal with you direct or bloggers willing to review your product or services, you will make some valuable contacts through sending out a press release. As always, be courteous and these relationships will strengthen as time goes on. Similarly, the journalist receiving your press release will always have your details on file (in their email). Even if they don’t immediately contact you, they may need an opinion or information about your product or service at a later date.

#6 A Press Release will improve hits to your website

Many journalists will click the link in the press release to see what your company is about. This of course will add more page views to your site; therefore increasing its statistics page.

#7 You will own a first class piece of copy about your site

So long as you or your writer put some effort and research into it, you will end up with some razor sharp copy and insightful statistics about and around your company. You can put it on your site, you can add it to a newsletter, you can even have it printed on a t-shirt! Whether you see it appear in any nationals or not, your press release will keep working for you long after you have submitted it.

If you want an expert to create and distribute a first class press release for you, please order one from me. You can call me on 07729 263818 to chat about your requirements or send a message over to laura@palavermaven.co.uk

 

 

 

How being a teacher prepared me as an excellent employee

Awoken by another dream of standing in a classroom unprepared for a lesson, whilst paper balls fly around my head, my eyes focused on the sandy graveyard for flies encasing the windows. Panicked breaths punctuated the morning’s motoring murmur as I began to prepared for another day of battle.

Whilst I always loved teaching and seeing the creative young minds develop, I also lamented the loss of time for writing. I worked hard and was dedicated, but most of the reading I did was educational or children’s books, and the longest writing I did was producing resources for lessons. I gave up teaching to become a full time writer and I haven’t looked back since.

When I first thought about leaving teaching, I was terrified but below are some reasons why teaching has prepared me to be an excellent employee. (I should know, I employ myself!)

#1 Teachers are organised

Having to prepare lessons and their related resources, books and homework takes inventing an organised system. Teachers have to develop their own way of being organised, which also means they are independent. As a writer, prioritising and creating timetables helps me to be efficient, meaning I draw upon these organisational skills daily.

#2 Teachers work long hours

Most teachers like to get into school to have a little bit of time in their domain before the students arrive and will spend several hours after classes in that room, tidying, making displays and marking books. Particularly when starting my business Palaver Maven, I worked really long hours. This included writing for many hours of the day, but also tweeting regularly and creating and updating my own website as well as the many clients I was lucky enough to have found. I thought then, and still think now, nothing of working 12 hour days: it’s just normal to me.

#3 Teachers are resilient

No matter how bad things got in teaching and no matter how exhausted I was, I still had to come in refreshed the next day. Teachers are some of the most resilient people I know. This has been really helpful when setting up a business. I had to be persistent in contacting people and resilient to inevitable criticism in order to persevere.

#4 Teachers are diplomats

“OK, so Adri, please apologise to John for calling him stupid and John please say sorry to Adri for pulling her hair, and now have a hug.” Teachers are almost always negotiating and being diplomatic. Be it between learners, or colleagues and parents, these skills of diplomacy are invaluable in any profession. Particularly as a writer, sometimes it’s necessary to liaise between different departments or to make suggestions for edits. How you frame this is key to getting good results.

#5 Teachers are intuitive

One of the things that makes great writers really great is their intuition. As teachers, we get to know a variety of people from all sorts of backgrounds and have to make a connection with them all. This means we have to be empathic. This is great in any job, but especially as a writer because writing excellent copy is about creating worlds that include people.

#6 Teachers are reflective

As par for the course in teaching, we constantly analyse and reflect upon lessons and how to modify them in future. Making small adjustments minute by minute, teachers are always striving to achieve more, which makes them progressive and reflective workers. Being able to adjust and improve my practises as a writer has really helped me to grow my business.

#7 Teachers are fantastic editors

Well versed in common mistakes, teachers can spot an error a mile off. Admittedly, I had the upper hand here as I was an English teacher. Misplaced commas or incorrect capitalisation were my bread and butter, but it makes error identification and correction quicker, the more you do it.

#8 Teachers know their subject

The best way to really understand something is to teach it. Again, having taught Media, Journalism and English I had a massive advantage for my industry, but teachers will have a very thorough knowledge of their subject and probably a good understanding of related areas too. Also teachers are really good at explaining things.

 

A History of Press Releases

Writing a decent press release is a noble art. I say art, but the reality is probably more corporate than creative. And I say noble, but the reality is often more Machiavellian than morally motivated.

Why use press release?
Press releases are generally used by companies to present information in a straight-forward and factual manner, often in response to an event, a positive change or sometimes a PR crisis. They have been described by American publicist Fraser Seitel as “the granddaddy of public relations writing” and are generally sent to journalists in order to persuade them to feature the information in whichever publication they represent. Apparently many journalists hate them. I say apparently but I know this from the articles I’ve read and the emails I receive from some journalists!

Where did it all start?
In the late 1880s it was common for the US congress members to visit Newspaper Row in Washington D.C. in order to pass on titbits of information about their political manifestos. However, it is widely felt that the first official press release was sent by an American PR man named Ivy Lee in 1906. A train crash in Atlantic City, New Jersey, left 50 dead but resulted in the creation of a useful public relations tool – perhaps not the fairest of swaps.
Following the crash, Ivy Lee convinced his client Pennsylvania Railroad to let him write a statement offering an explanation of what had happened and allegedly the New York Times printed Lee’s press release verbatim.

Press releases today
Over a century later, press releases are still used as an attempt to lead journalists firmly by the nose to whatever an organisation may consider to be a newsworthy story. Having worked in house on magazines, I know many press releases get scanned for quotes and statistics and then are discarded. However, the remit of press releases has increased, with many small businesses and startups using them as a way of reaching out to customers. The key is to steer clear of an indiscriminate use of press releases lest you be accused of ‘churnalism’ or drown your audience in information they do not wish to hear.

What the future holds
A floundering print market and the onslaught of its supercilious competitor – the internet – have changed the manner in which press releases are submitted. Many commercial websites offer fee-based press release writing services which aim to make news about a company more visible and more easily found via search engines. This has created a more level playing-field for smaller businesses that would ordinarily be unable to afford the rates charged by large PR companies. Many of the people I work with are SMBs and SMEs or startups launching their product. An element of originality can be introduced via the use of Video News Releases (VNRs) and these can be turned into podcasts, blogs or community websites. Furthermore, it is now common to include hyperlinks and keywords within press release content in order to capitalise on web-marketing potential and boost SEO.

Despite developments within the market in which they are used, Ivy Lee can rest peacefully in the knowledge that the press release is likely to remain a PR “granddaddy” for some time yet, given the pickup rate I’ve seen recently.

For a bespoke press release about your SMB or company, please use my order form and I will write and distribute your Press Release within 2 days.

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