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Friday, January 29, 2010

Winter Olympics News

The 2010 Winter Olympics are just around the corner, and I can't help but get excited. As a big-time ski-enthusiast, I'm especially looking forward to my favorite events like the Giant Slalom, Snowboarding, and all the other alpine events. I have fond memories of the time I was able to go to the '02 Games in Salt Lake City, where I watched Apolo Ohno skate his way to gold, and I saw Russia and Belarus face off for Ice Hockey bronze.

So it is with a little bit of personal excitement that I share with you the Newswise 2010 Olympics and Winter Sports wire. [This image is just a preview, and the official wire will be sent out at 1 pm today.]

All stories in the 2010 Olympics and Winter Sports wire are also available in the Newswise Feature Channel on Sports, available here:

To get Newswise wires, including special wires like the 2010 Olympics and Winter Sports wire, just register with Newswise and select your subscriptions:

If you are a media relations professional, and you would like to know how to post a news release on Newswise for inclusion in a special wire, write to us at and request membership info.

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Media Relations in the Online Newsroom

My Newswise colleague, Zakira writes in with a recommended link about media relations and the online newsroom. -ed.

This concise article discusses the essential and optional components of an online newsroom. Perhaps obvious to media relations professionals, these points are still valid for any organization, whether non-profit, higher education or corporate. Also discussed are newsroom best practices, and the importance of transparency in leading journalists to the information they are seeking. The writer includes promotion of her fee based services, but this does not detract from the information offered. I also enjoy her complimentary weekly “marketingminute” emails.

Read the full article here

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Monday, January 4, 2010

5 Tips for Successful Non-Profit Public Relations

There is a lot of talk in the PR world about the evolution of the press release – gone are the days of print-outs and mailings – and some even herald the waning influence of the emailed press release (though my inbox provides copious evidence to the contrary).

Savvy PR professionals know that exaggerations about the “death of the press release” are premature, and they know that newswire services are quite useful to promote the mission of their non-profit clients. Services like Newswise, by distributing news to a targeted media audience and providing in-depth effectiveness reporting, can augment a PR strategy to serve the non-profit’s mission. Whether the goal is to increase awareness, promote a campaign, influence consumers, or raise money and secure sponsorships, PR for a non-profit should follow these 5 essential tactics for success

1. Distribute content to a targeted audience
2. Achieve prominent results on search engines
3. Pitch experts and spokespeople to media outlets
4. Drive users to an action, such as to donate or sign a petition
5. Monitor effectiveness through reporting tools

Targeted Audience
The first goal for any PR campaign is to get the message out to the media. Simple, right? We'll explain how that's not targeted enough, and get into tips 2-5 after the jump.

Although it might be relatively easy to get a press release out to all of the media, the hard part is getting the info to the right media.

Newswise gives journalists the opportunity to filter the news they receive with more topic-specific focus. Health reporters can choose to receive only medical-based news, for example. This can serve a non-profit client’s goals in particular because these highly-focused media personnel are unencumbered by excess information in which they are not interested.

In any case, the advantage of using a newswire service is that at least some media are going to be interested in your non-profit client’s news. That includes broadcast and mainstream print media, all the way down to very specific regional outlets and trade publications.

Search Engine Optimization
Using a service to post news releases adds SEO effectiveness in several ways. First, newswire services like Newswise tend to achieve large amounts of daily traffic, and therefore are ranked well by the major search engines such as Google and Yahoo. A press release posted to a newswire is likely to appear high in the search results for keywords related to your non-profit client’s content. Furthermore, any links you include in that press release tracking back to the non-profit client’s website should provide an uptick in their site’s ranking as well. Done effectively, this can have a lasting impact on the inbound traffic to your client’s content.

Pitching Experts
If your non-profit client has experts and spokespersons ready and willing to talk to the media, a newswire press release is a great way to promote them. Newswise even provides an "experts available" feed of stories, with the expert's contact info available only to verified, logged-in journalists.

For an effective expert pitch, Newswise recommends your press release should include the following:
• Who is the expert and why are they a credible authority in their field?
• Provide quotations and a brief description of the expert’s work on the topic.
• Describe the expert’s media experience and their availability for interviews.

An effective expert pitch can position your non-profit client to broadcast their message more directly to a wider audience.

Driving Action
A non-profit client often has some type of advocacy as part of their public relations goals. Whether that means something vague like influencing consumer behavior or something concrete like collecting donations, an effective press release can play an important part. This is probably the most obvious area where PR for a non-profit client is different than for corporate clients. A driving action might mean linking to an online donation form, persuading people to support a cause (sign a petition, call your congressperson), or even a creative bit of viral multimedia messaging (PETA’s vegetarianism PSA featuring a very sexy, and very naked Alicia Silverstone).

Whatever approach seems right for your non-profit client, do not neglect this crucial ingredient for success.

Monitor Effectiveness
Finally, no PR strategy is complete without a plan to monitor effectiveness. This can be done by setting up a Google News alert on keywords related to your non-profit client’s press release, by carefully tracking media clips, and through incoming requests from the media for more information.

Newswise offers several effectiveness reporting tools with different levels of membership, including hit reports on each press release, and online media clippings for an additional fee. A combination of several success monitors can be used to determine if a message is on-target or needs tweaking, and give predictions for long-term media impact of a release. Keeping the non-profit client’s goals in mind, effectiveness monitoring can help evaluate current and future public relations strategies.

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