Archive for July, 2010

Writing effective news releases is a very important part of being a PR practitioner. In order to do so you must follow a few strict guidelines, here they are…

It is first important to understand what a press release is.

1.  A press release is an informational piece written in 3rd person in order to display the events of a particular situation.

2. Be sure to write a press release in the correct form. Follow APA guidelines to be certain the piece is in correct form. An example of the correct form is shown below:

3. Remember to write a Headline. Be objective like a journalist. Don’t try to sell anything.

4. After you have included a Headline, include a Sub-head. A little longer than a Headline is the subhead which details the ingredients of the story in a little more detail.

5. Write the press release lead next. This is the meat of the story and is written a lot like a reporter would write a news article. Upside-down pyramid formula is the most effective and easiest to master.

6. One of the most important aspects of a press release is to add a quote. It makes the story much more valid and easier to relate to.

7. Provide contact information. All of the contact information is important: Personal, fax, email, website address, etc.

8. Avoid unnecessary language that could cloud the clarity of the release.

9. Be sure to add a contact sheet with your press release.

10. Last it is important to remember a dateline so the timeliness of your press release is correct.

Information about press releases can be found under the links below:

How to Write a Press Release

10 Tips for Writing a Press Release


Crisis communication is an incredibly important part of PR. When a crisis occurs within a firm the effects can be disastrous if it is not managed immediately and correctly. The easiest example to look at is a very current event happening in the Gulf of Mexico. Major oil players have made massive mistakes and have to publicly deal with the large list of collateral damage that is a result of their negligence. PR crisis communication plays a big role in their social responsibility to deal promptly in a professional manner with this disaster.

The first step is to plan. Have a crisis plan set for certain scenarios. If you are prepared you will loosen the “grip” and allow yourself to make sound decisions that should ultimately save your reputation and a positive relationship with your key public.

There are 3 R’s in crisis communication. Research, response, and recovery. If the three R’s are respected during times of crisis a firm should be able to pull itself out of a mess and make things right. Research the crisis environment: who it affects, why, and what can be done. Responding rapidly, and releasing the correct (truthful) information is key. It is paramount that a PR firm puts all the important information on the line, tell it how it is.

After you have disclosed all pertinent information and fully apologized, get back to work. Strengthen the relationships you still have and create strong, long lasting new ones. The best thing that you can do is resolve the situation and keep moving forward. Don’t act like it never happened but if you let it stop you from moving in a positive direction then you might as well quit.

This has been another TOW by Casey Sherwin.

After watching a short 25 minute video of Dr. Nixon’s interview with Martin Waxman, a PR practitioner and so much more from Canada I have a lot to talk about regarding PR. Mr. Waxman is the Owner/Co-Foudner of Palette Public Relations Inc. He has an extensive history in the PR field and his interview with Dr. Nixon provided our class with a multitude of useful information.

Mr. Waxman focused on the necessary tools used to be a successful PR practitioner. He mentioned understanding social media and how it works. That tools like Twitter and blogs are useful in the field so practitioners can communicate with large groups of people rapidly to provides results. He discusses students digital footprint and how much larger they are becoming because of such social media outlets.

Mr. Waxman took time to focus on his hiring policies. In other words he described what he looks for when a potential employee applies to work at his firm. He stressed the importance of keeping up with the communication world and understand what large media providers are saying. It is important to know how to use tools like Twitter and blog sites but previous history is not necessarily mandatory. He wants to know that his employees have sound basic skills that will help them succeed in the PR field. If you are constantly making grammatical or syntax errors in writing it is not likely that you will find yourself working for Mr. Waxman. All understandable characteristics when you plan to practice a profession that will always involve strong writing skills.

Dr. Nixon and Mr. Waxman’s interview is available under the link provided below-


This has been another Topic of the Week by Casey Sherwin

This weeks topic is focused on discussing recent PR grads next moves. After graduating with a Public Relations degree one must either join the work force or eat Ramen noodles for the rest of their life. I think a recent graduate in these times should be satisfied with a position in either forum. However, it is still useful to understand the differences between both so you can make a healthy decision about your future.

Public Relations firms are business set up for the sole purpose of contracting for Public Relations services. The company is hired by another party to provides sound Public Relations advice/work for the client. This is a great place to begin your career if you want to deal strictly with PR. The alternative is working in a PR department. A PR department is located internally within an existing firm and provides useful PR services for the good of the company as a whole. The most important aspect of an internal PR department is to provide the boss with some sort of proof the the PR service has a beneficial impact on the bottom line. PR is often looked at as unnecessary or expendable when it comes time to cut costs, so in the event that these times occur the PR department must be able to prove their worth.

Here are links to two websites that make understand PR firms and departments easier. Good luck with your job hunt and career as well.

1. Wikipedia Describes PR

2. The Best Site for PR Practitioners to Know

PRSA is the ultimate tool in PR. The organization provides members with all the tools they need to become strong practitioners. Their website is the portal through which to find all these tools.

This has been Casey Sherwin with the TOW.

1. One of my favorite lessons this year had to be connecting my personal profile to LinkedIn. I have found boundless reasons to use LinkedIn. This website is the key to connecting with professional all over the world. The site allows you to upload your resume, create a detailed profile that has much more information than a basic resume would have and helps professionals connect with each other. I just received my first recommendation, very exciting. People who you connect with have the ability to write recommendations about you on your profile. This could prove very helpful in the future. Check it out at

2. Resume writing is one of the most important tools a will come out of this class with. During the course we spent a lot of time studying the necessary parts of resumes, how to format resumes, how to print and present resumes. All of these details are very important because this simple piece of paper is your ticket to a job. Employers will judge you solely on this piece of paper. Thats scary! So take your time, do you homework and create a resume that represent who you are and the accomplishments that you have completed.

3. I read a book for this course that included tips for the Twitter user. The books was titled Twitter Power, by Joel Comm. I created a presentation for my class and introduced the book. It is a great source for information on how to use Twitter to sell your product. Twitter is a great tool for communication on a second by second basis. Firms can quickly communicate with their clients and stay on top of the game by ensuring the success of their products.

4. Interviewing procedures. Ahhh, the interview. This is not the time to be afraid of an interview people. If you are prepared and know what you are doing you will be very successful. The important thing to know is that preparation is a must. Study the company you are interviewing with so you sound like you’ve been doing your homework. Prepare a portfolio to present to you prospective employers. Bring business cards, and resumes to give to the people interviewing you. Have questions ready to ask, because you will be asked if you have any questions, don’t stumble here just have some ready in your head. Dress to impress, wear clothes that are professional and simple. Do not over do scents either. Last but not least, turn your damn phone off. Leave it in the car, if you must leave it at home so it has no possible way of going off while you are in an interview.

5. Using Twitter to stay connected with people. Twitter can be used for professional reasons as well as recreational purposes.

6. ProOpenMIC–  A true PR Practitioners tool that can be used for anything PR related. Another one of the great social media networks now available, PrOpenMIC allows its users, who are mostly professionals in the PR world to connect and stay connected. The site has multiple forums that can be used. Such forums include internships, lessons, videos, groups, events, and a resources page. If you are planning on working in PR as a profession, Propenmic is a must.

7. I conducted an informational interview with a friend in New York city, who works as a publicist for People Revolution. I learned a lot about the ins and outs of her job and came to realize that I might not be working in a conventional Public Relations position after  I graduate.

8. Creating a portfolio. If you are planning to impress your future employers you must have some proof of works completed in the past. This is why you create a neat, organized portfolio that will showcase the hard work you have done in the past. Keep it simple though. Bring a few small publications that can be easily handled and fit nicely into a briefcase of some sort. If you have a lot of work you would like to showcase, create an online portfolio using SlideShare and give your interviewers an address to your digital portfolio.

9. Job searching, look to all of your resources., the newspaper, firm’s websites,, and numerous other outlets that allow you to look up job wanted ads.

10. Be careful with Facebook, we all know what it is. It is capable of so much, both good and bad. Don’t let Facebook be the reason you are not successful in getting a job.


Casey Sherwin