Editor’s Corner – September Edition

September 24, 2010

With 31 bureaus around the world and more newsrooms than all of our competitors combined, Business Wire is proud to provide local expertise and superior service, backed by the most accurate editors in the world. In Editor’s Corner, we ask some of our best to chime in on how to get the most out of your press release, based on their years of experience in the industry.

by Business Wire Minneapolis Editor Paul J.F. Bowman

Answer Potential Questions Within Your Press Release Content

Readers should rarely need to clarify your information; well-written press releases answer nearly every question they may have. After you’ve read aloud the final draft of your release in private, ask a few colleagues to review it as well. See if they have any questions about the content. If not, you’ve written with clarity!

 

Company XZ is rated #1 in our field.

#1 in which field? Who rated you #1?

 

ZZ Magazine rated Company XZ ‘#1 Distributor of ABCC Products.’

 

The latter italicized sentence shows who rated Company XZ as #1 (ZZ Magazine). It also indicates in which field Company XZ is rated #1 (distribution of ABCC Products). This example illustrates a primary purpose of a press release: to offer the media enough initial and verifiable information to write about the topic.

 

Don’t offer a reason to leave your press release

In my experience, phrases such as “studies show” or “researchers agree” (my personal favorite: “most people agree”) often lack citation. A reference to the study or survey’s findings should always accompany these phrases; uncited claims quickly open the information’s legitimacy for questioning.

When writing an article responding to a survey or research, offer verifiable sources through hyperlinks, name/company/position of personnel interviewed, periodical name and date of issue, etc. Don’t leave your readers to trust your writing exclusively; give them a chance to investigate your source material. The sources you provide act as the first defense of your information. Ideally, the writer’s content guides the reader’s understanding of the research, much like a GPS assists a driver’s navigation.

Though many will not read your source information, simply offering your reader the chance to review it gives tremendous credence to your piece. Providing citations and footnotes focuses the reader on your source information rather than Web search results.

My estimated chances of finishing an article are around 1% once I’ve attempted to find or clarify the source information myself. In the press world, this loss of your captive audience costs money. Once you’ve let readers stray from your content, it will be very difficult to bring them back.

Hyperlink your sources

 

Clicking press release hyperlinks on our website opens them either in a new window or a new tab, depending on how your browser is setup. The only exception to this is the (BUSINESS WIRE) hyperlink in the dateline or our logo at the end of the release. Clicking either of those will bring you to our home page in the same tab/window.

The setting to automatically open each hyperlink in a separate window is embedded in the website coding. If your company has an online press center, ask your webmaster if they can enable your release hyperlinks to automatically open new windows/tabs.

Internet Explorer 7 users, here’s how to change your setting between opening a new tab or opening a new window:

  1. Open Internet Explorer 7
  2. On the “File,” “Edit,” etc. toolbar, click “Tools,” then “Internet Options”
  3. On the General tab, under the subsection named “Tabs,” click “Settings”
  4. The first box, “Enable Tabbed Browsing” must be checked to use tabs
  5. Once that box is checked, the options we’re most interested in are under “When a pop-up is encountered:”
  6. Pick your preferred option, “Always open pop-ups in a new window” or “Always open pop-ups in a new tab”
  7. Click “OK”
  8. Click “OK” again
  9. If “Enable Tabbed Browsing” was not checked before step #5, you will need to restart your browser to complete enabling of this feature

-Paul J.F. Bowman, Editor, Business Wire Minneapolis


Editor’s Corner – March Edition

March 22, 2010

With 30 bureaus around the world and more newsrooms than all of our competitors combined, Business Wire is proud to provide local expertise and superior service, backed by the most accurate editors in the world. In Editor’s Corner, we ask some of our best to chime in on how to get the most out of your press release, based on their years of experience in the industry.

BW Cleveland Editor Alan Waldinger

As an editor at Business Wire, I’m used to scouring press releases for any and all mistakes – misspellings, grammatical issues, punctuation errors, etc.  And while our clients do an excellent job of composing releases, there are a few key items that are occasionally omitted from them.  The following aren’t errors in a traditional sense, but correcting them can add to the visibility and utility of your press release.

1) Company Name in the Headline: It goes without saying that the headline is the most important part of your press release, providing the reader with a concise summary of its content.  It’s also important to signify who is issuing the release; you want the media to know that your company is announcing a new product, adding personnel, or receiving an award.  Something like “XYZ Corporation’s New ABC Software Improves Retail Inventory Distribution” seamlessly integrates your company’s name into the headline, while also including all of your release’s essential information.  Don’t forget that including your company name will also improve your visibility on many search engines.

2) Full Contact Information: The goal of a press release, in addition to making your news public, is to draw in media for supplemental coverage.  That release could result in an interview, or feature in a print or online publication.  It is imperative, therefore, for the media to be able to contact you directly.  Make sure you include your phone number (direct line if possible) and email address in every press release.  If you’re with an agency, make sure its name is also included with your contact information.  The growth of social media has generated even more avenues for business and media exchange, so don’t be afraid to provide your LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter account.

3) Company Website: Although a corporate website has become the de facto place to learn more about a particular company, some writers still forget to include a URL address in a press release.  The boilerplate is an obvious location for a URL, but it also doesn’t hurt to hyperlink your company’s name in the first paragraph.

-Alan J. Waldinger, Jr., Newsroom Editor, Business Wire Cleveland


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