Sunday, June 3, 2018

PR workshop great training for school districts

As the Lake Placid News editor, I see a lot of press releases come into my inbox every week -- the good, bad and the ugly. Needless to say, I see a definite need to train organizations about how to properly write and distribute their press releases to newspapers.

I wish I got more releases from our local school districts. Most of what I get are very basic. A few include photos. Some are just news tips. It's all appreciated; I just wish I got more of them. My guess is that teachers and school staff are not getting enough -- or any -- training on sending out effective press releases to the local media, especially to their hometown newspapers, where parents yearn to see the accomplishments of their kids.

School districts should offer this kind of training, as it will yield benefits beyond their wildest imaginations. I'm not kidding. Empowering school staff to send the media news about all the cool projects they and their students are working on will ripple through the community -- first by having the news published and then by having people talk about the neat things they saw in the newspaper.

What I've found, working with the Lake Placid Central School District, is that when teachers, staff and administrators send me press releases or columns, they re-purpose those news items -- republishing them for the school's newsletter or website. So it's not just a news release; it's free content for the school district's publications.

It's great marketing. And, once the training is over, it doesn't cost the school district any money to get this kind of priceless publicity. Want your community flooded with "good news" from your school district? Empower your staff. Hire me to train them with "Press Release Essentials: Best Practices For Your Community Newspaper." It's worth the investment.

Learn more on the PR Workshop page.


Andy Flynn
Writer, Editor, Publisher, Public Radio Producer

Friday, March 2, 2018

Press release workshop designed to save small businesses money

This week, I'm finalizing a new workshop designed to save money for small business owners, nonprofit organizations and people interested in starting a small business. It's called "Press Release Essentials: Get Media Attention on a Shoestring Budget."

The two-hour workshop was created so chambers of commerce and Small Business Development Centers could host a training event for their constituents.

As I was writing the workshop, I thought of the proverb, "Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime." The same is true with press releases. As a small business owner with a limited marketing budget, I know firsthand that I can't afford to hire a public relations firm to write and distribute my press releases. So I do it myself. And I'd like to teach others how to do it for themselves. It's an essential skill when you are running a small business or a nonprofit organization.

One of the fun parts of developing this workshop was getting advice from some of my friends in the public relations and newspaper industries. They reinforced what I had already written and added their own tidbits of knowledge and experience. Some of their frustrations with poorly written press releases came out when I asked them about their pet peeves.

"Too long. Don’t follow AP style. Missing information that forces us to call (no time or location, for example)," said Plattsburgh Press-Republican Editor Lois Clermont.

The bottom line is to make it easy for editors to do their job. Then you are more likely to get a release in the newspaper, and it expedites the process.

Sandy Caligiore, the media guy for a number of organizations in Lake Placid, New York, including USA Luge, the Empire State Winter Games and the Mirror Lake Inn, summed it up clearly when he said, "The best tip I can offer is that if you are going to issue a news release, you must make sure it contains real news."

I am looking forward to meeting small business owners and people at nonprofit organizations around the Northeast. I know I can make life better for them and help them get the media attention they deserve, all on a shoestring budget.