Lindsey Elizabeth

My "minor" journey thru Public Relations..

Final Assignment/TOW #15: Social Media News Releases November 30, 2010

Filed under: PRCA 3330,Topic of the Week — Lindsey Bowers @ 5:31 pm

The new developments of Social Media News Releases were designed for the online world. Also known as “smart media releases,” SMNRs allow expansion of the typical news release with photos, graphics, audio and video embedded into the format. Social Media News Releases aren’t just written for the press; they are written for journalists, publishers, bloggers and the public.

According to, a Social Media News Release is “designed with the community nature of the online world in mind so it can be shared and commented on in social bookmarking, microblogging and social networking communities.”

The Karcher Group describes Social Media News Releases as an attempt “to neatly package your message into pieces of information that can be quickly disseminated on the Web, including video, photos, audio files, bulleted lists, quotes, resources, links, and more.  This allows users, whether they be journalists or bloggers, to reassemble or disassemble the information however they want and share it on the web.”

The biggest advantage of SMNRs is that releases are made to be more “reader-friendly” and useful by linking multimedia and social media capabilities of the Web to the typical News Release. The entire story is told through multimedia while allowing optimized search, conversation and sharing (found at Social Media Training).

Not many disadvantages have been found in the evolution of Social Media News Releases. The biggest set-back would be reaching computer-illiterate audiences.

Public Relations practitioners should consider using SMNRs when they want to create greater creativity in their storytelling and get information across in a short amount of time. suggests that Social Media News Releases “can assist in achieving around double the editorial coverage and up to four times as much on blogs.” offers an overview of Social Media News Releases:

When creating a Social Media News Release, the following sites offer useful templates and information:

Here are some key tips to consider when creating a Social Media News Release:

  1. Use SMNRs as one big extension to the Web– promoting voices and content in a way that focuses on people
  2. Connect content across social networks– allows easy sharing amongst audiences
  3. Use emmbedable video, audio and images– provide the audience with visuals and expand creativity
  4. Allow area for comments and feedback– promote conversations and allow for a two-way street between client and audience
  5. Provide relevant links– allows for further expansion on the subject and reinforces the intended message
  6. Write to spark conversation– make it social, it is a Social Media News Release
  7. Make sure the SMNR can be found through search engines– help the audience “get it”
  8. Know what you want to say, why it matters and to whom- the basics of a typical News Release are still applied to Social Media News Releases

(found at provides examples of real life Social Media News Releases they have created:

Each of these samples show true characteristics of Social Media News Releases by providing content such as images, bookmarking, related links, video, comments and relevant coverage. The SMNR is interactive and allows the audience to engage in the content of the message.

As stated by Manny Ruiz of Hispanic PR Wire, “The press release is dead. In its place is a dynamic service that is more of an interactive marketing tool, more relevant and compelling for journalists; the difference is it’s not only for journalists.” (found in the text Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques)


Ch. 14: Writing E-mail, Memos, and Proposals November 20, 2010

Filed under: PRCA 3330,Reading Notes — Lindsey Bowers @ 6:33 pm

Public Relations writers communicate on a more personal level and spend a large part of their day taking part in interpersonal communication. When sending emails, memos and proposals, a large amount of organization and communication skills are required. Five basic guidelines should be followed in public relations writing:

  1. Completeness- Be sure that the writing contains the information needed to serve its purpose. Use an outline to make sure it is on target and complete.
  2. Conciseness- Be as brief as possible because less is better.
  3. Correctness- Be accurate in everything your write and you will receive credit for being a professional.
  4. Courtesy- Be polite and personal, but not overly familiar.
  5. Responsibility- Be sure you are following the organization’s policies and procedures. Think how the communication will be perceived.

Mind Your E-mail Manners:

  1. Avoid the “Reply to All” button
  2. Give your response first
  3. Keep forwards to a minimum
  4. Skip the CAPITAL letters
  5. Save the fancy stationary
  6. Avoid HTML format
  7. Count to 10 before hitting the Send button
  8. Fill out the subject line
  9. Keep the 500KB image file to yourself
  10. Don’t be a cyber-coward

Remember, although e-mail is fast and cost-efficient, however it is not a substitute for one-on-one communication.

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Ch. 12: Tapping the Web and New Media

Filed under: PRCA 3330,Reading Notes — Lindsey Bowers @ 6:15 pm

The growth of the Internet and World Wide Web is continuing at a fast pace, therefore changing the way public relations writers present their media. The new media is characterized by:

  1. new distribution channels
  2. widespread broadband
  3. mobile devices
  4. cheap/free online publishing tools
  5. new advertising programs

When writing for the Web, the following guidelines are suggested:

  • Define the site’s objective
  • Design the site with the audience in mind
  • Redesign material with strong graphic components
  • Update the site constantly
  • Don’t overdo graphics
  • Make the site interactive
  • Utilize feedback

With the Internet and World Wide Web, Social Media has been introduced. According to Paul Rand of Ketchum, Social Media is “one of the most dramatic, if not revolutions, in history.” Social Media includes: blogs, social networks, podcasts, wikis and virtual reality sites.

One extremely popular form of media is YouTube. While videos can be posted by individuals, many organizations are posting online videos as part of their marketing and public relations campaigns. Videos on YouTube can increase awareness of a product and brand. One set of videos that I will always remember are the “Pay it Forward” videos by Liberty Mutual:

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Ch. 11: Getting Along with Journalists

Filed under: PRCA 3330,Reading Notes — Lindsey Bowers @ 5:57 pm

According to the text, Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques, media relations is the number one job responsibility of public relations staff.

Two-thirds of journalists don’t trust public relations people, but 81 percent say they need them anyway.

Here are some tips on conducting media interviews in order to bridge the gap between journalists and public relations personnel:

  • In advance, determine what key message you want to convey.
  • Anticipate questions and plan answers.
  • Prepare for the worst.
  • Be quotable by saying things briefly and clearly.
  • Speak conversationally.
  • Never say “no comment.”
  • Don’t speak of competition or other individuals in an ill manner.
  • Dress and act appropriately.
  • Watch your attitude.
  • Only discuss things in your area of responsibility.
  • Smile!

Use “media etiquette” at all times.. Here are some things to avoid in order to prevent poor media relations:

  1. Irritating Phone Calls– Don’t call a reporter and say, “Did you get my news release?”
  2. Inappropriate Requests– Don’t call reporters asking them when a story will be used.
  3. Lunch Dates– Don’t take a reporter to lunch unless there is a business reason.
  4. Gift Giving– Don’t give expensive gifts (more than $25), stick to gifts with nominal value.

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Ch. 10: Distributing News to the Media

Filed under: PRCA 3330,Reading Notes — Lindsey Bowers @ 5:55 pm

An essential part of public relations writing is making sure that the material is received by the right media and audience. In order to find media to distribute to, media databases have been essential for public relations writers. Media databases hold common information such as:

  1. names of publications and broadcast stations
  2. mailing address
  3. telephone and fax numbers
  4. email address
  5. names of key editors and reporters

Today’s primary channels of media distribution are:

  • email
  • online newsrooms
  • electronic newswire
  • mat distribution companies
  • photo placement firms

Email is the most common channel used when distributing media information. The following are tips for sending an email news release:

  1. Don’t send attachments unless requested.
  2. Try to use bullets or key points.
  3. Keep it short.
  4. Don’t mass distribute releases.
  5. Provide contact email addresses and phone numbers.

Remember, email always works best when the publicist and reporter have already established a working relationship.

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Ch. 9: Writing for Radio and Television

Filed under: PRCA 3330,Reading Notes — Lindsey Bowers @ 5:44 pm

In this chapter of Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques, writing for the ear, adding audio and visual elements to a script and reaching a global audience are explained in terms of the Public Relations writer.

Tips for Successful Radio and Television Stories by Jack Trammell:

  • Topicality– News is about providing information on topics that matter to the majority of the audience, so offer information on a “hot topic.”
  • Timeliness– Stories should be based on seasons, new laws, social trends and government. Never write for “yesterday.” Always write for “now”, “today” and “tomorrow.”
  • Localization– Always look for a “local angle” to nationalized news.
  • Humanization– Show people and how they are involved because, people relate to people.
  • Visual Appeal– Visuals can illustrate and explain a story better than words.

Public Service Announcements are defined as unpaid announcements that promote programs of nonprofit or government agencies or that serve the common public interest. Here is a recent PSA created by the AdCouncil:

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Ch. 8: Selecting Publicity Photos and Graphics

Filed under: PRCA 3330,Reading Notes — Lindsey Bowers @ 5:20 pm

Photos and graphics often explain things better than words alone; they add interest and variety.

Photo of Dancing With the Stars Champion, Jennifer Grey. Taken by Adam Larkey, USA Today.

Components of a Good Photo:

  • Technical Quality– Editors look for good contrast and detail in photos in order for the photo to reproduce well on all types of print sources.
  • Subject Matter– Photos can be used to focus on a subject (such as a product or employee) or can be used to show events and action.
  • Composition– Keep photos simple and uncluttered by taking tight shots with minimal background.
  • Action– Action provides something more interesting and allows movement to be shown in the photo.
  • Scale– Pictures should hold some element that is known to size so viewers know how large or small the subject is.
  • Camera Angle– Like actions, camera angles can add interest to a photo.
  • Lighting and Timing– Lighting can highlight the key subject of a photo to make sure it stands out.
  • Color– Color photos are standard over black and white photos in the industry today.

Remember, photographs and graphics can add appeal to news releases and features. They will increase media coverage and bring more interest to the audience.

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