May 3, 2016

Extreme Makeover — News release edition

How to find the story within a stodgy bank report

It was a good story: More than 1,000 New Englanders would soon have safe, decent, affordable places to live, thanks to the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston’s Affordable Housing Program.

This release hits home

Home, sweet home Mark Zelermyer turns a stodgy bank report into a friendly, fascinating feature-style story. Image by H is for Home

But PR convention demands that we reduce good stories to hierarchical blurtations of fact. And that’s what Mark Zelermyer, the bank’s vice president and director of corporate communications, did with the first draft of his news release covering the story.

But by the end of my NOT Your Father’s News Release Master Class in December in New York, Mark had totally rewritten his release, taking the story from blah to brilliant.

What can you learn from his before and after?

Read full article >

“Organizations write press releases for themselves, not for readers.”
— A frustrated PR pro

NOT Your Father’s News Release

Why are PR pros still using a 111-year-old format?

PR professionals have been married to the traditional news release since Ivy Lee created the format more than 100 years ago. Why, then, do we need a new approach?

Daddy's girl

Daddy’s girl I adore this guy — and this picture — but I don’t want my press release to seem as if it came from this era. Image by Opal Wylie

With 2,500 releases going out each day — that’s one every 35 seconds — the impact of your traditional news release ain’t what it used to be. In fact, more than half of all traditional press releases never get covered, according to PR Newswire.

But in NOT Your Father’s News Release — a two-day PR-writing Master Class on July 27-28 in Portland, Oregon — you’ll learn current best practices from the Public Relations Society of America’s “national writing coach.” Specifically, you’ll learn how to:

  • Place your PR piece among the 3% to 45% (Wilcox & Nolte) that actually get used
  • Tap current best practices — proven in the lab! — for organizing a contemporary, compelling PR piece
  • Make your release up to 300% more readable using a cool (free!) tool to measurably improve readability
  • Turn lame-ass quotes into killer sound bites
  • Bring your laptop and a release to work on, write and rewrite, get and give feedback, and leave with a totally rewritten piece

This is the only Not Your Father’s News Release Master Class we’ve scheduled for this year. Don’t miss out on your chance to learn to avoid PR 101 releases in 2016. Register now.

“This is the best and most practical training I’ve ever had. I’ll use all of her tips on a daily basis.”
— Daphne Siefert Herron, senior communications officer, Indiana University, Office of Vice President for IT

Polish your skills at our 2016 Master Classes

Learn to Catch Your Readers, Get Clicked, Cut Through the Clutter and more

Register for tight writing workshop in Chicago on May 11-12
Register for writing workshop in San Diego on June 28-29

Register for PR writing workshop in Portland on July 27-28
Register for Online writing workshop in New York on Sept. 28-29

Register for writing workshop in Houston on Nov. 2-3
Register for Creative writing workshop in Los Angeles on Feb. 23-24, 2017
Rather bring Ann in to train your whole team?

Catch Ann on the road

Save when you book a workshop while I’m in your neighborhood

Ask about piggybacking on my upcoming engagements in:

  • Chicago: May 11-12
  • Houston: Nov. 2-3
  • Los Angeles: Feb. 23-24
  • New Orleans: June 6-8
  • New York: Sept. 28-29
  • Portland: July 27-28
  • Raleigh, North Carolina: May 3-4
  • San Diego: June 28-29

Keep up with my calendar.