Category Archives: media relations

Press Releases: Four Simple Ways to Make Sure Yours Stand Out

By Nicholas Beeson, Marketing Associate, Buzzwords Manchester

Editors get hundreds of press releases a week – and most of them bite the dust. Why should this be? It’s obviously important that your release is professionally written. More important, however, is your content. This will be the decider when it comes to whether your release is read and used.

To save you from the agony of rejection, here are four simple ways to make sure your press release stands out from the crowd and that it is actually published:

  • Make sure the subject of your release is relevant to the readership of the publication

Sounds obvious, but many people forget this. The information and story in your release need to be important to the publication’s readership, and not just to your business.

  • Don’t use your press release as a means of free advertising

Editors are wised-up to companies using press releases as free advertising, and can distinguish a genuine press release from ‘advertising in disguise’. Trying to use press releases as a means of free advertising will almost certainly see your release in the bin. Press releases do provide a great means of publicity, but write your publicity to give news or information only.

  • Short and simple is key

Editorial space is limited, meaning your release needs to be short and to the point. Write clear and concise sentences using only the important, relevant information. Avoid jargon, repetition and create lively text that is relevant to the publication’s readership.

  • The release should be able to stand on its own

If you feel a cover letter – or e-mail – is needed to explain why you have sent the press release or why it should be published, then the release isn’t good enough in the first place. Editors should want to publish your press release, so there’s no need to bother with a letter or explanatory e-mail.

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PR in Manchester – Changes begin with MediaCityUK

(Written by Nicholas Beeson)

The recent relocation of the BBC to Salford’s MediaCityUK has provoked a lot of discussion in the PR world. A recent article featured in PR Week, discusses the impact MediaCity will have upon PR in the northwest.

The construction of MediaCity alone has cost the BBC in excess of 189 million pounds and will see high profile news outlets such as Radio 5 Live and BBC Breakfast relocate to the new Salford headquarters. The move will also see 2,300 BBC staff making the move north, but how will this impact on PR in the region?

To many, the move is seen as symbolic as the BBC try to improve relations with audiences in the north and portray the BBC as representative of the UK as whole (not just London). With all the hype surrounding the construction of MediaCity it would be expected that agencies are getting excited by the pending move.

This proves not to be the case, as Brazen founder Nina Webb says:
“I haven’t re-written my business plan on the back of it.” (referring to MediaCity).

Although the enthusiasm of MediaCity might not be shared by all, there’s no doubt that new PR opportunities will arise from the new BBC North headquarters. Many of the programmes that are being relocated are interviewee-intensive which will of course provide opportunities for agencies with clients based near MediaCity who can comment on news issues.

MediaCity is also being touted as a catalyst for growth in the regional creative industry.  The relocation will enable many agency people to create new relationships with journalists.

In many ways, the BBC’s relocation to MediaCity is great news for Manchester and the northwest. A greater emphasis may be placed on stories coming from the north, although it has to be said that London as the centre of the media universe is not under threat!

The danger with all this is that many people could overestimate the potential impact of MediaCity, and the whole exercise could prove to be a massive white elephant – as Julian Bailey, Head of Media Relations at Morrisons, so neatly puts it:

“As a PR professional based in Bradford,” he says, “I will continue to spend more time in London than Salford”.

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New Packaging PR page on Buzzwords’ website

Check out examples of Buzzwords’ Packaging PR media relations work on a new web page at: buzzwords.ltd.uk/packaging_pr.htm

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A Merry PR Christmas!

It’s been a strange year by any standards.  Everything came to a head in October when we all thought the world was coming to an end! 

It didn’t of course, but PR activity will need to change over the coming months as clients grapple with a new economic landscape.  ‘Free lunches’ have long been out of the window.  What the equivalent is, further down the scale of professional privation, is a question that’s had me scratching my head – but probably goes along the lines of abandoning all that stuff about strategic thinking, reputation management and everything else that distances PR from the (highly successful) Max Clifford school of publicity. 

For 2009, we are where we are: in deep quagmires of a claggy consistency that won’t be helped by pompous pseudo-professionalism.  This is the year(s?) when results are all that matter.  With client budgets trimmed, it’s time for a tactical awakening.

Buzzwords’ response to all this is pretty much as it always has been ie. provide clients with a range of services from which they can pick and choose.  That’s simply because the smaller, B2B clients prefer the more cautious ad hoc approach.  I’m certainly not decrying the turnkey PR services offered by larger agencies.  There’s a lot to be said for the integrated marketing approach – if you can afford it.

This year, increasing numbers of (even the bigger) companies will be looking at ‘bigger bangs for their buck’.  To this end, Buzzwords will continue to offer traditional media relations programmes and online PR services together with specific offerings like article marketing, case study writing, newsletters (of course) – and even the odd annual report thrown in for good measure!

It’s all about flexibility and cost-effectiveness.  In times of dearth, agencies and consultants have to respond with services which will help our clients’ clients respond positively which in turn will help to pay our own rents. 

Here’s wishing you a Merry Christmas –  and, most of all, a prosperous New Year!

Buzzwords new Content Managed website is good news for more news more often!

Today, I’m celebrating Buzzwords’ new Content Managed (CMS) website!  (see: buzzwords.ltd.uk)  No longer are CMS sites poor performers on the search engine optimization front either.  I’m guessing that because they can be updated as frequently as you like, the search engines look on them much as they would a blog i.e. favourably.

As a copywriter, journalist and PR person, it’s good to have the freedom to write new pages and add them to your website instantly.  No more waiting around for web coding man to do the business.  And no more bills into the bargain.  A CMS website means I can publish news releases, articles and new pages on the site at any time.  This is orgasmic!

Buzzwords PR Manchester now on Facebook

Check out Buzzwords Limited on Facebook! 

 

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New content on Buzzwords’ PR & Media Relations web page

This new page sets out Buzzwords’ PR stall!  Clients in Manchester, Cheshire and beyond can expect a broad range of PR services based on many years’ experience of B2B public relations.  In addition, there are résumés of Buzzwords’ various PR services including:

  • ONLINE PR
  • ARTICLE MARKETING
  • CASE STUDY WRITING
  • NEWSLETTER WRITING
  • ANNUAL REPORT WRITING

Very soon, each of these services will link to its own web page.

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PR in Knutsford, Cheshire and Manchester

I’m approached fairly regularly by businesses in Knutsford and elsewhere in Cheshire and Manchester (Buzzwords is based in Knutsford!) who want to use PR to raise their profile.  In many cases, what they mean is ‘marketing services’ – and not PR, which has become an umbrella term for things like advertising,  direct mail and so on. 

That’s fine, of course.  Most PR practitioners handle a wide range of services other than pure public relations – or they ‘know a man who can’.  Exploiting local PR opportunities is one of the most cost-effective forms of publicity there is, so it makes sense to be constantly on the lookout for a juicy PR story. 

Companies with lots of employees have a ready-made source of human-interest stories which will very likely interest the local media.  Businesses with unusual new products, or directors who’ve been winning business or doing other unspeakable things in the far flung corners of the globe… all this makes for good copy. 

No business is without a PR story.  It may sometimes call for a bit more ‘drilling down’ into what’s going on with the company, its people, products and services.  Stories with a ‘local politics’ bias could ring a few bells – wrangling with the local council, for example, or inviting the local MP to do the honours at a special product launch or company anniversary.

Sometimes, of course, stories can be ‘created’ around things like sponsorship deals or charity events.  Local PR has many dimensions.  Whether you’re based in Knutsford, Cheshire or Manchester, it’s simply a question of sitting down and thinking through what opportunities are under your nose.

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Local PR for clients in Manchester and Cheshire

Local PR is a strange beast.  And I would guess the media in Cheshire and Manchester are no different from elsewhere in the UK.  Trying to win coverage in the local press (radio or TV) using traditional media relations methods requires a little more creativity than average. 

No point sending an editor a descriptive piece about your client’s range of products or services.  You’ll need real ‘human interest’ stories… you know the sort of thing: employee raises £X million for charity; ‘green’ credentials of X company demonstrated in marathon tree-planting exercise; employees decide to marry after 40 years working together in the factory etc etc. 

The problem is, of course, that these stories don’t come along every day of the week.  So that’s where the PR man’s black art of inventing hooks and angles comes in handy.  With certain clients, however, this can be like getting the proverbial blood from a stone.  A lot of this stems from a reluctance to air one’s dirty linen in public.  Will it make us look stupid /unprofessional/ etc the client asks???  What’s the point of all this anyway, they may say? 

The answer is that local PR stories must be part of a company’s wider PR strategy.  To give an example: sponsoring a Porsche driver who’s racing at a local circuit – especially if the driver happens to work for your company – would fit neatly with an outfit  that wanted to project a young, progressive and (possibly) technically-advanced image.   

In many ways, local PR is more challenging than straightforward media relations where the trade press will publish almost anything providing it’s relevant to that sector or industry.  Likewise with online PR publishers – except online coverage also comes with valuable links back to your website! 

Of course, local PR clients always ask the same question when you first start talking turkey: do you have good connections with local editors?   It may help to a small extent but, in general, you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.   In other words, if the story is weak, there’s no point souring a perfectly good working relationship.

Mike Beeson has added a new page on local PR to the ‘PR & media relations’ page of Buzzwords’ website.

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