October 2017 Newsletter

Welcome once again to my monthly newsletter for October. This is month two of my original content feature, in addition to all the usual curated links. This month’s post is adapted from a piece I published on my website, about how organizations can make it easier for writers to find their news releases online.

As I usually remind you, my readers include clients (past or present), and other friendlies. You’re all journalism or marketing/communications types, so I’ve curated content here to be useful. If this newsletter doesn’t work for you, there’s a handy unsubscribe link at the end of this email.

Original Content Feature

How a Journalist Looks at your Media Releases

Ever wonder who is trolling your media release archives at odd hours? That’s me! As a writer, I’m constantly on the lookout for story starters to dazzle my editors and create the sense that I am an idea magnet with magical intuition about the latest products, trends, and research findings out there. One of my most reliable sources is the media releases of sectors that I write in: yes, I have you all bookmarked and try to do a sweep at least once a month.

As a result, I have a few thoughts on how you organize things in your newsroom section. In fact, I have 7 thoughts, that I recorded in a handy format on my website, from which this post is adapted. Happily, I feel like I’ve been seeing more of these practices in action lately, and while I don’t take credit, I’m glad to observe this trend. But not everyone is there yet, so the tips bear repeating:

  • Tip 1: Make it easy for media by adding a button called MEDIA to your website, ideally on the home page. Bonus if you keep the news releases separate from events, which is a whole different audience.
  • Tip 2: Write sexy headlines – or at least make them catchy and specific. Catchy/sexy example? Study: Startling number of bees die annually (what? why? I love bees and must click through)
  • Tip 3/4: Make your media release section work overtime AND if you have RSS, use it. I love my releases with a descriptive headline, a 2-3 line explanation and a link. I know it limits your page views, but I also love a long scrolling page to whip through. If you have an RSS feed, keep that updated too.
  • Tip 5: Be on social media and focus on your reader. Don’t use your same social to engage both internally and externally, reach out to me directly! If you create a dedicated Twitter account for your media releases, I’ll sign up.
  • Tip 6: Put more out there. This may be a bit self-serving because I make my living generating content, but, um, generate more content! I’d love to see your fluff, read your more obscure studies, read more about what I didn’t know I needed to know about.
  • Tip 7: Make your existing content work harder. I’m surprised at how often content often only makes it to one channel on an organization’s website. If you wrote a great media release, congratulations—now go turn it into a great blog post, a half dozen tweets, and a video!
Three articles

Entrepreneur magazine shares social trends coming up in 2018

Not an article but a quiz from Contently about Facebook. I learned a few things….

Interesting concept neuroforecasting about how our brains respond to content ideas

Two hacks

Hack your content! And fix it up. With a content audit.

Hack sexual harassment? In light of the Weinstein scandal, I am glad to see articles like this that encourage people to stop being bystanders

And a video

I’ve gotten into podcasts lately, so rather than video I thought I’d call out the podcast festival that just happened in Toronto: if you’re not yet a listener, many of these are good places to start. If you are a walker like me, podcasts are also a great way to make more of your daily walk : https://www.hotdocs.ca/p/podcastfestival

What I’m reading

Not sure how it eluded me for so long, but I only recently learned about The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler https://www.amazon.ca/Writers-Journey-Mythic-Structure/dp/193290736X – more for fiction writers, but good for thinking about narratives

Also doing my annual reread of William Zinsser’s On Writing Well

What I’m writing

Finally some of the projects that I’ve been working on this summer have been published:

In University Affairs magazine, “Universities take steps to help international students succeed”

In the Globe and Mail, on choosing a private school for your kids

I also wrote a lot of the stories in Laurentian University’s most recent alumni magazine

And now my familiar call – as you know, I write and edit everything from feature articles to web profiles to newsletter copy to news releases to annual reports. I’m also newly equipped to write more intelligently about financial topics! Visit my copywriting portfolio at www.codeword.ca or read my articles online at www.suzannebowness.com. Call me to discuss your next project.

We’ve come to the end of my newsletter! Your feedback is welcome. If you want to get off this train, the unsubscribe link is below. If you like what you’re reading, feel free to forward and get others on board.