Article: Study: Audiences Favor Press Releases With Visuals

Madison Debes

In this article by Michael Sebastian the reader learns about how visuals can enhance press releases. A career in Public Relations can likely entail writing a large number of press releases. This article proves helpful for anyone looking to mix up the traditional press release format.

Personally, I have had experience writing press releases in school and at my internship last summer but I always search for tips on how to enhance my press releases. I found this article that explains that press releases with visual elements increases the visibility of a press release by nearly 10 times, according to a new study by PR Newswire.

According to the article, “Press releases that include a photo are 1.8 times as likely (an 80 percent increase) to be viewed as their text-only counterparts, the study found. Inclusion of a video makes the likelihood 4.3 times as much as for a standard release. Press releases with photos and videos are viewed 7.4 times as often as text-only releases.”

I have only had experience with text-only press releases and never considered including multimedia into the information. In today’s society, everything is so visual that it makes perfect sense that press releases should reflect that. I know that sometimes PR professionals have to send press releases to media and hope that they report on it. If the media had access to a release with content and pictures that would be easier for them to report on or publish your story.


Article: Managing client expectations: 6 guidelines for PR firms

Madison Debes

In this article by Gil Rudawsky the reader learns how to manage clients expectations on the social media aspect of their PR campaign. Rudawsky explains that every client dreams of being featured on shows such as “Ellen” for their social media but that they shouldn’t always expect that. As a PR pro you should proceed with caution so that clients understand realistic expectations.
Here are the 6 guidelines for managing client expectations:

1.) Big traditional media outlets are more difficult to get hits in, no matter how strong the news angle. Airtime, media space, and the number of journalists are shrinking, and so is the public’s attention span.

2.) Hits in traditional print media are becoming a rarity. As an alternative, focus on online or community news organizations and bloggers, or take the pitch straight to the consumer via social media.

3.) Local television is still a good option, but try to time the pitch right. For instance, avoid a conflict with NFL game day.

4.) Nothing replaces good stories and strong news hooks. These items are still the gold standard, and while it is harder to gain media interest, having this foundation will make it that much easier.

5.) Substance outweighs style. This means a pitch must be backed up with facts and not just a great lead and sound bites.

6.) Think outside of the traditional pitch. For instance, use a video news release or create an infographic to tell the story

Rudawsky concludes the article by explaining that the biggest misconception in PR is that any media coverage is good media coverage. I agree that that opinion is held with many people unfamiliar with PR strategies. But, Rudawsky explains that there is a strategy behind everything to get the best possible outcome for the client or company you are working for.

Article:” How to Reengage Your Inactive Email List Subscribers”

Madison Debes

“How to Reengage Your Inactive Email List Subscribers”

By: Sté Kerwer

Oct. 30, 2012

 Everyone knows that we receive countless amounts of emails a day from companies or stores trying to sell their products to us. Many of us delete them without even opening them because we already can guess that they are trying to sell us something. When working in PR, it may be necessary for you to email people about your company or subscribers on your email list so you will want to grab the attentions of recipients to keep them engaged.

 1. Run a competition or give away

Personally, I always sign up for a competition or give away because of the gambling aspect. You want to try your chances and see if you’ll win. According to Kerwer, everyone loves getting freebies, so giving things away can get subscriber’s attention.

2. Offer money off vouchers for use on your site

I always open emails that say sale or “with this code you’ll get __% off” I love feeling like I got a good deal on something. According to Kerwer, money talks therefore it’s a good way to engage a majority of subscribers.

3. Ask for their opinion on something

According to the article, users love to feel valued and that their opinion matters. It is appealing to a company that they use costumer feedback to enhance their business.

 Once you’ve reengaged inactive subscribers…

Kerwer states that once you reengage subscribers its important to keep them so you don’t have to do go through the tough task of doing it all the time. He mentions that its normal for a few subscribers to drop off occasionally but that you need to monitor that closely. If the number of subscribers dramatically rises then you need to implement new statics to engage subscribers.

Article- “The Worst Social Media Fails of Hurricane Sandy”

Madison Debes

“The Worst Social Media Fails of Hurricane Sandy”

By: Connor Simpson & Rebecca Greenfield

Atlanta Wire

Oct. 30, 2012


In the wake of Hurricane Sandy I thought it would be interesting to read an article over from the Atlanta Wire on how companies are using social media during this time. Most people have been extremely sensitive to people on the east coast dealing with the hurricane but a few companies have been using social media to promote sales and promotions during this disastrous storm that has left as many as 46 dead.

 1. Gap

“All impacted by #Sandy, stay safe! We’ll be doing lots of shopping today. How about you?”

This sounds a bit ridiculous doesn’t it? Gap made themselves appear to be capitalizing on the hurricane for their own benefit and to entice their shoppers to shop their sale.


However, Gap did tweet and apology which was completely necessary.

“To all impacted by #Sandy, stay safe. Our check-in and tweet earlier were only meant to remind all to keep safe and indoors”

2. Urban Outfitters

“This storm blows (but free shipping doesn’t)! Today only…#Frankenstorm #ALLSOGGY”

This tweet from Urban Outfitters appears to be them trying to appeal to people stuck inside all day. However, I think it is inappropriate to try to make the hurricane humorous. Such hash tags as “#ALLSOGGY” do not portray the serious or dangerous hurricane that is flooding much of the east coast.

 3. Sears

“Did Hurricane Sandy affect your city? Get your generators, air mattresses & more at one place. #HurricaneSandy”

This tweet may actually be an example of a tasteful, and helpful way of interacting on social media. Many feel that you shouldn’t be capitalizing on the hurricane to benefit your business but I do agree that this tweet is helpful and doesn’t try to create humor or downplay the seriousness of the storm.


The article concluded with a reference to Groupon’s daily deal during the hurricane. The daily deal sent out for Midtown in New York was for a restaurant called Dans Le Noir whose selling point is that they serve you a surprise meal in complete darkness. Many in New York don’t want to pay for something they are receiving at home for free.


During Crisis situations it is important that companies are sensitive to situations and people that experiencing them. I believe some companies are trying to stand out by taking a different approach but it is actually more beneficial to be genuine and sympathetic.

Documentary- “Hot Coffee”

Hot Coffee is a documentary released in 2011 that is based on the Tort Reform in the United States Judicial System. The title of this documentary is derived from the Stella Liebeck vs. McDonalds lawsuit in which Liebeck sued McDonalds after being severely burned from a cup of McDonalds coffee.


The film starts with interviewing people on the street about what they think about Liebeck suing McDonalds for getting burnt from coffee. Every person says that they think Liebeck was the one at fault and that she shouldn’t be suing the restaurant chain. I, like most people, would have agreed with these individuals ,until I watched this documentary. What most people don’t know is that 79-year-old Liebeck was in a car without cup holders in the passengers seat in a McDonalds parking lot, not driving or moving about. Also, the coffee was approximately 190 degrees, which is entirely too hot. To top it off, Liebeck’s injuries were so severe she had to have skin grafts and she only sued McDonalds to get help paying for her medical bills. When McDonalds refused to pay her medical bills she was forced to sue. From this lawsuit, McDonalds was forced to lower the temperature of their coffee and have better fitting lids on their coffee cups.


Next the documentary delves more into the Tort Reform, which are proposed changes to the judicial system, that would put a cap on the amount of money one could receive from damages from lawsuits and changes litigation policies. I had never heard of this before but initially would have thought it was a good idea. It is a widely known belief that many people in America sue as a means to get money from others when they are the one at fault. I thought to police the funds that could be received would lessen the dishonest people suing individuals or companies.


The Tort reform gained attention from voters from a well-crafted Public Relations Campaign. The lobbyists for this reform hired a public relations firm and asked them to give the reform a positive image to appeal to everyday individuals. The firm created billboards, commercials with tearful workers losing their jobs and long standing companies closing due to being sued for frivolous reasons. This campaign tugged at every day citizen’s heartstrings and made people think the United States needed to have a way to limit the amount of money people could receive from lawsuits.


The film then uses various examples of lawsuits in which people did not receive as much as money they deserved because of the Tort Reform. I am going to share the lawsuit that really got my attention. In 1993, Lisa Gourley was pregnant with twins, Colin and Connor.  Lisa’s doctor mistakenly believed Lisa had two placentas when she only had one placenta. Lisa should have been treated as a high-risk pregnancy. Three days before her due date, noticing a decrease in the movement of the babies.  Lisa expressed concern to her doctor, who dismissed her apprehension and neglected to do any testing or refer her to a specialist. Two days later, still very concerned, Lisa called the doctor’s office. When she arrived there in the afternoon, another doctor in the office ordered an ultrasound, finding the babies in severe distress and needing immediate delivery.  However, a breakdown in communication among the doctors delayed the emergency C-section for almost two hours.  Collin, one of the twins was born with severe cerebral palsy and cognitive delays while the other twin, Connor was born completely healthy. When the family was told that it would take 6 million dollars to care for Colin throughout his life they knew they had to sue their doctor for malpractice to be able to provide for their son. They ended up winning the lawsuit and being awarded 5.6 million dollars. However, their home state of Nebraska had adopted the Tort Reform. This put a cap on how much the family could receive which left them with just 1.25 million dollars, which after court costs and lawyer fees left them with little to use on Colin.


While this reform has maintained an effective public relations campaign I believe that it is not ethical. People shouldn’t be made to believe that every individual suing people or companies is doing so for dishonest reasons. While this bill may deter some people, it is also cheating people that actually need and deserve money from damages and making companies less liable for their mistakes.

Article: “How to Write a Blog With Great Content Every Time”

Today I read an interesting article by Julie Neidlinger about blogging. Neidlinger is a journalist at and maintains her own blog,


This article interests me because I enjoy reading people’s blogs and have considered starting one myself but feel as though I have nothing to write about. I think sometimes it is difficult to write content that appeals to a multitude of readers.


Neidlinger provided a list of 6 tips to show bloggers “How to Write A Blog With Great Content Every Time”.


The tips are:


1.)  Answers Questions

Neidlinger first suggests to create an account on Quora. She explains Quora as a website where people are answering and asking questions. Through this website you can search a specific subject relevant to your industry where you can identify your niche audience. Neidlinger suggests you answer questions on your blog for your users.


Second, Neidlinger discusses the need to not forget your own readers on your blog’s comments section, or your customer feedback. She said that if a blog comment section turns lively, that may be a topic that you should expand on in a fresh post and then alert those readers you’ve written a new post. Neidlinger notes that this is particularly useful if you find yourself leaving long comments that might be better served pulled up onto the main area of the blog.


2.)  Go Google

Google Search- Neidlinger says bloggers should use this feature to research related topics that people are actively looking for.

Google Keywords- Neidlinger said that Google AdWords provides a keyword tool where you can input words and phrases for your industry or niche. The keyword tool will break your search terms down, allowing you to see which keywords you’d like to dig deeper into. She explains that by saving these keywords, you can find out what people are searching for on Google, and which terms are the most popular with those buying AdWords.

Google Alerts- Neidlinger explains that Google Alerts send information through email to you about what is going on in your industry.

Google Trends- Neidlinger suggests you use the “hot trends” section of Google Trends that lets you know what people are searching which are probably current events.

3.)  Build Libraries

Neidlinger suggests that bloggers read books to get creative juices flowing. She also suggests that bloggers build a digital library using an RSS Reader to find information for new content.

4.)  Mingle with Trendy Crowds

Neidlinger suggests you use social networks such as Twitter and Facebook to promote your blog. She notes that on Facebook and Twitter ou can see which topics are trending and on Pinterest you can see what you audience is interested in. This will help you write relatable content for your readers.

5.)  Tell a Story

You have a story to tell- Neidlinger suggests telling a story in a blog post about your business or a teachable moment. She says it can be personal and inspirational and should be relatable to readers.

They have a story- As a blogger you can interview industry leaders or other bloggers to share their tips with readers.

6.)  Look Within

Neidlinger suggests you look back on your earlier blog posts. She says you should recycle by rewriting. You can improve your blog posts, make them relevant and make them pull their weight again.


Neidlinger concludes by saying that in order for your blog to be popular you must update your blog frequently and ensure that it is well written.

4 Things PR Pros Should Say to Reporters

I read an article today written by Lisa Arledge Powell who is the president of MediaSource, a multimedia production and media relations company that works with hospitals, health care organizations, and other brands.

In the article, Powell discusses 4 things PR pros should always say to reporters. This is important because reporters need to have information prepared timely for busy reporters deadlines.

Her tips for communicating with reporters are:

1.) “I’ll start on this immediately”
Powel explains that reporter’s workdays are immensely busy and chaotic. So PR pros need to work with efficiency and urgency to match the needs of the reporters. She also said that if possible you should drop everything to start of the reporter’s request. If a PR pro cannot fulfill a reporters request quick enough then the reporter will be forced to use information from a different source. Powell concluded with saying that you must always know a reporters deadline and have your information to them before it.

2.) “Here’s an update…”
If you are working diligently to find the information for the reporters request a PR pro should email the reporter, as a check-in so the reporter knows their request is a priority.

3.) “I can coordinate visuals”
Powel explains that this verbiage is useful when working with TV reporters. If you have the material, reporters will like that they can get multiple angles from one person.

4.) “I liked your coverage of ____”
Powell says that after a PR pro’s collaboration with a reporter is finished it is important to keep a friendly connection intact. She notes that keeping up with a reporter’s work is important to maintaining that relationship and standing out as a positive connection.

This article was really helpful especially when persuading journalists to use PR pro’s press releases. Connecting with reporters can be intimidating due to their chaotic work schedule so I feel this article created a roadmap for forming important relationships with reporters.

This summer I had an internship in my hometown with the City. I worked in the Community Coordinator’s department and my job was to help her create and enhance events to get people into our town. Through this internship I realized how important it was to have a great relationship with reporters. My boss taught me to remember all of the reporters’ names, to regularly read their work and email them thank you notes for writing about our events. Since we maintained a good relationship with the reporters for not just our town’s newspaper but for surrounding newspapers as well, they always ran our press releases and always covered our events. In the end, it seems like a win-win for both sides. The reporters had news stories to cover and our events had exposure.