Welcome (back to) Dern’s PR Tips, relaunched February 5, 2014

Welcome (back) to Dern’s PR Tips, my blog of tips for and about PR — how to work with the press (a.k.a. the media), and for members of the fourth estate on working with PR.

“Back” because I’ve (finally) migrated the site from WordPress.com to Pair.com, along with making minor tweaks (different theme, adding the “MORE” break in posts to their main page entry, etc.). Continue reading

Great Moments In Unnecessarily Misleading, Off-Point Headlines

A recent press release on PR News wire had the headline:

Small Businesses Agree: The Web is Dead

and led with “Wired had it right; the web is dying. [REDACTED]s small business customers have shown a distinct preference for managing their documents in the cloud with downloadable applications – both on the iPad and on their Windows desktops – vs. using their browsers.”

So, a, one company’s “opinion” (or its interpretation of one thing their customers are doing) equals this “fact”? (Here’s another possible interpretation of the data: “Our browser access is badly done.”) Continue reading

My New Rule For Multi-Source Phone Briefings: Give Names When Speaker Changes

In writing up a news article based on a (vendor) phone briefing where there were three sources — all male — I’ve added another rule, or at least guideline, to my Best (well, Good Enough) Practices:

When there’s more than one source involved in a (phone) conversation, each time a different person speaks, they need to pause and re-ID who they are, so I can keep track, for quote attribution. Continue reading

Keeping Press Release Lists On Topic

I wish press release aggregators would manage topics better.

Because one of my current gigs as a freelance technology writer is doing daily news stories (for InformationWeek SNB), I’m checking several of the press-release aggregating sites daily, like PR NewsWire For Journalists (media.prnewswire.com), and get several summary email messages from BusinessWire.com. Continue reading

Release The Facts! — No Name, No Price, No News, No Date = No Coverage

Along with feature articles, case histories, and interviews, at times I do news stories. For example, I’ve been doing about four a week for InformationWeek/SMB as of July 2010.

In general, I start with from a press release. Whenever possible, I follow up with a phone call (brokered usually by a PR person) to a company spokesperson to confirm or sort out the facts, and get some additional quotes or other information. Sometimes I also call an industry analyst, occasionally, if one’s available, a user, for additional quotes.

Many of the press releases have enough information to get me started.

But — depressingly — many don’t. Continue reading

Hurrah For HARO: Peter Shankman Helps Reporters Get Sources

For journalists, especially (us) freelancers who get assignments spanning a range of topics and beats, one of the biggest (solvable) challenges is finding sources (appropriate people to talk to for quotes, facts, background information, etc.)
(Harder-to-solve challenges include finding more work, and finding assignments that pay reasonable rates.) Continue reading