PR Tips I RGB versus CMYK

To anyone but a designer, RGB and CMKY probably just look like a bunch of letters, but they are essential to the design process — whether you’re creating a website, logo, brochure or business card.

So what’s the difference and what do these letters mean?

RGB is the color standard for digital display.

    * R-Red, G-Green, B-Blue
    * Created with light
    * Begins with black and color is added
    * Used for websites, television, e-mail, etc.

RGB colors are what are called additive colors. These colors are created by adding assorted wavelengths of light in differing degrees to darkness, or black.  They are also produced by two or more different… READ MORE

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PR Tips I Communications 101: Do NOT do this

I was in Cleveland over the weekend, where my friends were all riled up about a recent incident related to the professional networking site, LinkedIn. It hit a nerve, being young professionals ourselves. I’m sure you’ve heard about it: a 26-year old girl was moving back to her hometown of Cleveland and was searching for a job, and connections, via LinkedIn. She reached out to one woman, whom she’d never met, from a local job bank and received a metaphorical slap in the face. A very loud slap, indeed.

The woman the young job seeker reached out to happened to be dubbed Cleveland’s “Communicator of the Year.” Her well-communicated answer was this: “Your invite to connect is inappropriate, beneficial only to you, and tacky. Wow, I cannot wait to let every 26-year-old jobseeker mine my top-tier marketing connections… READ MORE

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Copy Editor’s Corner I Dare to compare, correctly

What’s the difference between “compare with” and “compare to,” anyway? Let’s compare the two phrases.

According to The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White, “To compare to is to point out or imply resemblances between objects regarded as essentially of a different order; to compare with is mainly to point out differences between objects regarded as essentially of the same order.”

And The Associated Press Stylebook offers this example: “She compared her work for women’s rights to Susan B. Anthony’s campaign for women’s suffrage.”

To simplify both entries from these style gods, use “compared with” to point out a difference and “compared to” to point out a similarity. It’s much likelier that you’ll use “compared with” in a piece than “compared to.”… READ MORE

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PR Tips I Orwell’s Rules for Writing

George Orwell is best known for 1984, his fictionalized account of an authoritarian dystopia in which all human activity is tightly controlled by a central authority. That work has endured because, in addition to being marvelously well written, it’s proven prescient about the inner-workings of modern totalitarian states.

But Orwell was also a prolific and powerful essayist. “Politics and the English Language” is one of his most influential entries. And it includes a short set of writing rules that are highly applicable to crafting op-eds.

This list is already famous. You might already know about it. But it’s worth revisiting regularly:

  • Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
  • Never use a long word where a short one will do.
  • If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
  • Never use the passive where you can use the active.
  • Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
  • Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.
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PR Tips I The nuts and bolts of basic op-eds

Op-ed writing is a mix of art and science. As with any form of writing, the art comes with practice — and lots of it. The science, on the other hand, can be learned. Here are a few of the basics.

First, virtually all op-eds are 800 words or less. Seven hundred words is even better. You can’t solve all the world’s problems in 700-800 words — but that’s all most newspapers have space for. Further, many readers may not make it through many more words than 800.

Second, every op-ed should start off with an interesting lede. Newspapers are in the business of, well, news, so a timely opener to your piece — one that positions it within the context of what’s going on in the news world — is usually best.… READ MORE

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PR Tips I Writing better pitches

Last week, I was in Napa Valley at the Wine Writers Symposium, an annual gathering of some of the nation’s top wine writers.

While there, I spoke to attendees about how to write better pitches and get their stories placed. I was paired with Alison Clare Steingold, a senior editor at C Magazine. Drawing on my experience at Keybridge Communications and as a wine writer, I also coached attendees on query writing in a series of one-on-one sessions.

The pitching process changes depending on your goals, of course. Op-Eds, for example, are almost always written before they’re pitched. With magazine articles, writers should pitch editors before they put pen to paper. These lessons also work for conventional PR – there’s no better way to get a reporter interested in your story than teeing it up for her.… READ MORE

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