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How To Write Press Releases - Mike Wilson Interview

How To Write Press Releases - Mike Wilson Interview

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Published by David Bain
How To Write Press Releases - David Bain (PurpleInternetMarketing.com) interviews Mike Wilson (AllMediaSCOTLAND.COM)
How To Write Press Releases - David Bain (PurpleInternetMarketing.com) interviews Mike Wilson (AllMediaSCOTLAND.COM)

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Published by: David Bain on May 24, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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06/16/2009

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p.1
Podcast Interview Transcript
- Mike Wilson interview -
Key:
DB - David Bain (www.PurpleInternetMarketing.com)MW – Mike Wilson (www.AllMediaSCOTLAND.com)DB
: Mike Wilson is the co-founder of AllMediaSCOTLAND, a national portal forpeople working in Scotland's media industries and those wishing to reach out toScotland's media community. AllMediaSCOTLAND started in 2003, and nowboasts over 30, 000 unique visitors a month. Mike, it's good of you to join me.
MW
: Yes, a pleasure. And I think these numbers that you quoted are probablynow a little out of date. These numbers get better all the time.
DB
: Can you firstly begin by telling us a little bit about yourself, and indeed, AllMediaSCOTLAND.
MW
: Yes. My background is as a freelance writer, working, oddly enough, insports for many, many years, but chose to develop this site, along with acolleague Alex Bell, because we perceived a demand for news about what'shappening in the Scottish media and also a demand to use such a website as AllMediaSCOTLAND as a conduit for organizations wishing to make contact withthe media.Because the site offers not just media and news that's interesting to those whoare working in the media and have a curiosity about the Scottish media, but it'salso a means for organizations to, for instance, hire media talent, and also to get
© Copyright 2007-2009http://www.PurpleInternetMarketing.com. All Rights Reserved.
 
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their stories across to journalists, through a service that we have which allowsthem to post their media releases on the front page of the site.
DB
: Now, I'd say that your core skill was really helping businesses aroundScotland build relationships with the media. Would that be fair?
MW
: I'm not quite sure what you mean by that, but certainly, what we offer,with the media release posting service, is a facility, not only to post mediareleases, but what comes with that is a little bit of training on how best to puttogether a media release, how to recognize what makes a story.Because journalists, like all of us, are quite judgmental about the material thatthey're presented with, and they make snap decisions about whether they wantto follow a story up, just as anyone is when they're looking at a newspaper orwatching the TV or listening to a radio station.They very quickly decide whether that story is for them. So the training that weoffer with the media release posting service seeks to make clear what makes astory and how best to convey that within the first paragraph of the mediarelease, because it's the first paragraph that really matters.My skill, what we offer at AllMediaSCOTLAND, is a way of getting people to puttogether media releases that are effective. And the reality is that in ourexperience, and the experience of many journalists--not all journalists--is thatactually, they're very badly put together. That's the reality in Scotland.
DB
: Right. OK. Would you say that's because the majority of media releases areput together by companies themselves, but they should employ PR agencies?
MW
: Well, not all PR agencies are particularly good at putting media releaseseither, actually, to be honest.
DB
: Right.
MW
: I think the only people who really understand what makes a good mediarelease are journalists, and PR people are not necessarily recruited from theranks of journalism either. So there's a very specific skill required to put a mediarelease together, and not many people have it, even though lots of mediareleases are put out.
DB
: OK, OK.
MW
: So that's why we offer this kind of training dimension to the subscription,the media release posting service, that we are aware that there is a need toassist people in putting out an effective media release. Otherwise, it will just endup in the bin.
© Copyright 2007-2009http://www.PurpleInternetMarketing.com. All Rights Reserved.
 
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DB
: You mentioned the first introduction paragraph is the most importantaspect of it. Would you say that's more important than even the title?
MW
: No, the headline to any media release is vital, because it's the first point of contact. It potentially will tease the interest of the reader, lure that reader in tofind out more, much like if you were looking at Teletext headlines. You'd make adecision there and then on the basis of that headline.So no, I wouldn't underestimate the power of the headline at all. And if you'vegot a particular skill to produce a headline that is a bit witty or a play on words,then all the better. But if you are unable to do that, then better to produce aheadline that just simply says, in very, sort of "cat sat on the mat" terms, whatthe story is seeking to do. And you'll find that, in most cases, the headline is just a reflection, a tighterversion, of what actually is said in the opening paragraph. So the headline andthe opening paragraph very much work as a sort of couple--one to kind of lurethe reader into the other.
DB
: OK. And in your experience, is the headline mostly often changed by journalists, once they actually receive the release?
MW
: I would think probably all the time, actually, because journalists--well, itwon't be journalists that would be writing the headline; that would be thesub-editor who will do that. And sub-editors have a particular skill in producingclever, witty headlines. They're also working, of course, to productionrequirements, where they have to fit the headline into a particular amount of space.So whether it's a one-deck, two-deck, or three-deck headline, they will have towork within the physical parameters of the space they have to fill. So they will beable to require to come up with a headline that is clever and engaging, alsoseeks to make clear of what the rest of the story is about to reveal, and also willfit within the production parameters, in terms of space on the newspaper.Now, that's a job that's done by sub-editors, so journalists won't have anythingto do with the headline. It will be just a question of them being lured, potentially,by that headline in the media release that they see.
DB
: That's really interesting, the fact that the headline is solely to attract theattention of the journalist, as opposed to actually market your story to yourpublic. You mentioned one-deck, two-deck, three-deck headlines; I wasn't toosure of what you meant by that. Could you possibly explain that?
© Copyright 2007-2009http://www.PurpleInternetMarketing.com. All Rights Reserved.

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