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BEN Autumn Workshop December 2012 - Hitting the Headlines

  1. 1. Hitting the headlines: how to get effective, accurate press coverage for your company Bristol, 6 December 2012 Nadya Anscombe BEN workshop 6/12/12
  2. 2. Agenda • Introduction (5 min) • Why are press releases so important? (10 min) • What makes a good press release? (20 min) • Exercise – writing a press release (60 min) • Distributing a press release (10 min) • Conclusions (5 min) Nadya Anscombe BEN workshop 6/12/12
  3. 3. Where do journalists get their stories? • 70% - 100% of stories in consumer and trade press originate from press releases • Other sources include: - other publications - conferences - reviewed journals - gossip, anonymous tip-offs - competitor magazines • Journalists often create their own news Nadya Anscombe BEN workshop 6/12/12
  4. 4. Newsflash Journalists are lazy Many journalists have become “churnalists” Nadya Anscombe BEN workshop 6/12/12
  5. 5. Churnalism: the art of spreading news by simply copy-and-pasting a press release Get your press release right and you can get your message out in a very efficient way Nadya Anscombe BEN workshop 6/12/12
  6. 6. The press release…. Nadya Anscombe BEN workshop 6/12/12
  7. 7. Nadya Anscombe BEN workshop 6/12/12
  8. 8. Source: Iran Daily Nadya Anscombe BEN workshop 6/12/12
  9. 9. The story: Researchers at Cambridge University are working on a project that aims to put RFID tags on every product in a supermarket What sorts of readers would be interested in this story? How would the press release/ story be different in each case? Nadya Anscombe BEN workshop 6/12/12
  10. 10. Target readerships • Supermarket manager, warehouse managers, logistics companies (“Know where everything is instantly”) • Consumers, children (“No more queuing at the checkout”; “What is an RFID tag?”) • Human rights interest groups, politicians, police, consumers (“The human rights issues”) • RF engineers, software engineers, researchers (“This is how it works”) • Product and packaging manufacturers (“How to integrate an RFID chip into your product”) • Bar code scanner manufacturers (“RFID is coming”) • Other University of Cambridge researchers (“This is what we are doing”) Nadya Anscombe BEN workshop 6/12/12
  11. 11. Once you have decided your target readership… • …you know what that reader is interested in and you know what the most important points are • … you know what vocabulary to use and how to pitch the level of information you use Now you need to convince the editor that his/her readers will be interested Nadya Anscombe BEN workshop 6/12/12
  12. 12. Structure of a news story or press release Punchy clear headline Most important fact Next important fact Background blurb and quotes Unimportant facts to fill Nadya Anscombe BEN workshop 6/12/12
  13. 13. A press release should…. • …be targeted at a specific audience • …tell the editor what has happened (or is about to happen), who did it and why it is important • …also tell the editor when, where and how it happened • …not be longer than two pages of A4 • …have a photograph with it • …contain contact details (for the press and the reader, if these are different) Nadya Anscombe BEN workshop 6/12/12
  14. 14. Something needs to have happened • Not “this is our product”, but “Company A has launched product X” or “At Exhibition X company A will be exhibiting product B” • Not “our product is fab”, but “Customer X has bought product Y because it does something no other product does” • Not “We are focussed on providing quality products and first class service to our customers”, but “100th customer in Asia” Nadya Anscombe BEN workshop 6/12/12
  15. 15. Writing a press release When writing a press release, ask yourself: • What is the one main point I need to get across? What has happened? • Why is my product/technology/service better than what other companies are doing? • What were the challenges we faced and how did we overcome them? • Why has this happened now? Nadya Anscombe BEN workshop 6/12/12
  16. 16. Distributing a press release • Identify target publications and send the press release directly to them • Ask a consultant or media company (eg Marketwire) to build a list for you • Use a web-based repository where journalists come and find stories (eg PR Newswire, Businesswire, Free Press release, PRWeb Direct, 1888Press release, Eurekalert, Alphagalileo) • Get a PR company to write and/or distribute the press release for you Nadya Anscombe BEN workshop 6/12/12
  17. 17. Summary • A press release is the best way of getting attention from the press • Target your press release at a specific audience • Get your press release right and the publicity will generate itself • A press release is not an advert. Something needs to have happened • An accurate, complete press release will ensure journalists do not make mistakes Nadya Anscombe BEN workshop 6/12/12
  18. 18. Thank you! Nadya Anscombe Freelance science and technology journalist mail@nadya-anscombe.com www.nadya-anscombe.com 0797 079 3127 Nadya Anscombe BEN workshop 6/12/12

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