PR Tips | Op-eds: The perfect meeting collateral

Congratulations! Your op-ed was published in today’s Gotham Daily Planet. Now what?

An op-ed’s impact doesn’t have to end the day after it’s published. In fact, you can make an op-ed hit a component of your standard sales pitch — whether you’re selling products or ideas.

An op-ed hit establishes your credentials as an expert. So put that newspaper validation to work!

Say that your firm makes wireless heart monitors. Including in your sales packet a reprint of your op-ed on how to best fight heart disease can show a potential client that you’re actively participating in the national conversation on cardiac care — and lend additional credibility to your pitch.

The same is true if you’re trying to influence public policy. Whether you’re lobbying a city councilman for more affordable housing in your community… READ MORE

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What’s in a bucket of ice water?

A month ago, few Americans knew anything about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis — commonly called “Lou Gehrig’s Disease.” Even fewer would have imagined they’d soon be dousing themselves with freezing water.

But then the ALS Ice Bucket challenge happened. The campaign went viral on social media. Ordinary citizens and celebrities alike joined in on the action. The ALS Association received $70 million in donations in the past month. Compare that to their $2.5 million haul last August — a 2700 percent increase.

The challenge wasn’t dreamt up by any crafty PR specialist at the ALS Association — it started organically as a social media fad. But savvy PR professionals can still take away valuable lessons from the campaign’s success.

1) Peer pressure works. Most people who took the ice bucket challenge have no personal connection to the disease… READ MORE

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PR Tips | To argue effectively, write clearly & concisely

Dave Barry’s “How to Argue Effectively” recently came across my desk. Although the satirical essay was published more than 30 years ago, it’s as biting and hilarious today as it surely was back then.

In the piece, Barry lays out five rules to “win an argument on any topic, against any opponent.”

I spend more than half my time reading and editing op-eds. And one rule, in particular, jumped out: Use Meaningless But Weighty-Sounding Words and Phrases.

Op-eds are short. With only around 700 words to make your argument — with lots of evidence, ideally — there’s no room for fluff. Extraneous words should be cut. Jargon should be avoided. Writing should be clear, tight, and unambiguous.

In other words, there’s no room for “meaningless but weighty-sounding words and… READ MORE

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PR Tips | How to start designing a website

How do you begin a massive web design project? To outsiders, it often seems like such a huge and subjective task that they’re simply overwhelmed. But there is a roadmap to web design, and, if you follow it closely, you’ll find that designing is really just a series of steps that will eventually lead you to a shiny new website that you’ll love.

To get you started, here are the first four steps.

Step 1: Know your audience.

Who do you want to come to your website and why? This is the question you need to answer before doing anything else. Before you even think about content and layout, you first need to know your visitors. Only then can you develop a site that will appeal to them.

Step 2: Define

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David White weighs in on the Napa earthquake

Keybridge COO David White was interviewed today on The Steve Malzberg Show about the earthquake’s effect on the California wine industry. In his other life, David runs Terroirist.com, one of the most popular wine blogs in the world. Check out the interview.

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PR Tips | The wrong way to shorten a quotation

Especially when it comes to writing op-eds, incorporating quotations from experts can be a great way to bolster your arguments. Unfortunately, an 800-word op-ed doesn’t leave much room for lengthy block quotations. So writers often shorten quotes by using ellipses. However, if you find yourself doing this, be extremely careful. When you chop up a quote, it’s easy to alter the meaning completely. This can be an honest mistake or, worse, a purposeful manipulation.

To see how someone’s words can be misrepresented by an artfully placed ellipsis, look no further than a recent Amazon letter released online at ReadersUnited.com. The letter makes the argument that today’s book publishers are attacking Amazon’s eBooks in the same way that the literary community opposed the introduction of paperbacks, which were much cheaper than the alternative hardcovers at the time.… READ MORE

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