Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Publicity hints

As I mentioned in my previous blog, newspapers, radio stations and websites are often looking for news about events and organizations. Media outlets want to include information of interest to their local readers and generally welcome press releases. They can edit the information if necessary, but the better you have prepared your submission, the more likely it is to be used.
It is important to reach people who may be interested in joining your organization, participating in an event or helping with a fundraiser. Ads are wonderful and offer another way to get your message out to the public. We can discuss them more in a future blog, but press releases can provide detailed information at no cost to you.
 I edited with press releases as a reporter and sometimes turned the most interesting ones into larger articles or features. Having worked with them from both sides, writing them for organizations and editing them for the newspaper, I can assure you, it is not difficult. I’ll primarily talk about newspapers, but the same principles apply also to other media.
One easy way to remember what newspapers need is to think of poet and author Rudyard Kipling, (who wrote The Jungle Book, Kim, Just So Stories, and The Man who Would be King). A journalist also, he wrote:
"I keep six honest serving men (they taught me all I knew)
Their names are what & why & when and how and where and who."
All journalists use the 5 W's and H to make sure they cover the necessary details in an article. Remember to use them when writing a press release. Also important is contact information, whether it is you or an officer in your organization in case more information is needed. That information, as well as the date of your activity (or reservation date) should appear near the top of your press release.
Whether you are a writer and want more experience and to see more of your writing in print or a member of a group who just wants to help more.
Almost all groups can use someone to help with publicity. It is amazing how many organizations, with well-educated members do not receive much publicity because no one is willing or has time to compose and send something to the newspapers.
For those who want to write, composing press releases for different organizations gives you experience, clips and recognition, as well as the opportunity to help organizations or individuals. I’ll give you more hints in future blogs.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

First Blog

I am a writer and I like to share, so I thought it was time to start a blog. But what should I blog about? It would be easiest to start with what I know and love: reading and writing; oh and food and travel, cats and gardening. Well, I like a lot of things, but I don't think many people would be interested in my antics in the third grade or what my son did as a preschooler. Although they might find my daughter's novels interesting. Well, I guess they are for her to write about.

I think I will concentrate on writing and writing related activities. I was a journalist for years, working for both weekly and daily newspapers. I also was a public relations professional. Now I am trying my hand at a variety of genres, as well as continuing with non-fiction.

A few years ago I did a presentation for the Business and Professional Women (BPW) in Garrett County on how to write a press release. Since I still have those notes, I decided to start my blogs with this type of information. As I mentioned, I like to share.

I've written press releases for all kinds of organizations through the years, beginning in my teens when my father, Joseph Farinholt, was a Boy Scout leader. I helped his troop receive lots of press coverage. Later, as a newspaper reporter, I found it frustrating, trying to get information about fundraisers from charitable organizations. These people were doing wonderful volunteer work for good causes, but they didn't know how to get media attention. Whether in the newspapers, on the radio or television or on the web, publicity can be a boom to non-profits. Paid advertising is wonderful, but basic publicity doesn't have to cost and it is easy.

In future blogs I will discuss information how you can get publicity for your organization, or maybe for your latest novel.