Category Archives: PRCA 3330

SMNR: The Know-How


  • A Social Media News Release (SMNR) aims to completely rethink the narrative, text-focused approach to news releases by taking advantage of linking multimedia and social media capabilities of the Web to make releases more reader-friendly and useful. SMNR’s incorporate the use of links, images and videos to increase the feel and mood of a release. They also keep readers interested in what the release is about and give them an opportunity to interact more than a regular news release.

“No matter how much technology you employ to help make your message stand out from the crowd, if the message does not resonate, the photos, links, and videos won’t help it.” – Michael Pranikoff, PR Newswire

  • In his book, Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques, Dennis Wilcox explains that “these releases, pioneered by the major electronic distribution services, such as Business Wire, PR Newswire, and Marketwire, now make it possible to embed a news release with high-resolution photos, graphics, video, and audio components. Wilcox also refers to SMNR’s as Multimedia News Releases or Smart Media Releases.
  • According to Realwire, an SMNR is a release format designed for the online media world. In the online world, your story needs to be told with a larger variety of people in mind than the press release. Journalists, bloggers, publishers, and the public at large will be the majority of your audience, so write in a way that will be of interest to them all.


  • Social Media Training lists some of the advantages of SMNR’s:
    • Optimized for search
    • Optimized for conversation
    • Optimized for sharing
    • Tells the entire story though multimedia
    • Provides contact on complicated stories
    • Makes a better impression, visually, than a wire release.
  • Other advantages:
    • Maximize exposure of the news release through online access
    • A broader variety of people on the internet have access to your SMNR
    • Members of the media can be directly linked to company websites, videos, podcasts, etc. directly
    • The speed at which they are communicated
  • In reference to Hubspot, some disadvantages of SMNR’s include:
    • Formatting – Since some journalists prefer plain hard copies of releases and are not ready for media releases that contain links, photos, videos and other social media sites. Many portals will not accept releases that have special formatting such as italicized and bold fonts, and bullets and indentions because they are more difficult to be syndicated.
    • Syndication – Sometimes the links and features that are present in the SMNR are “unclickable” or do not repost in the correct format making it impossible for a journalist to find the information you have send, ultimately frustrating them.


  • A PR practitioner should consider using SMNR’s when a company or brand is introducing a new product or service, announcing financial news, or company achievements. They should also consider the use of a SMNR with the release of the new product or service and want to use videos, images, links and other graphics to convey a more visually appealing and detailed description to the reader or client.
  • Being able to physically see a product is more convincing to a client than just reading a plain description in a print release. Graphics and models add to the credibility of not only the product or service but also to the company.
  • SMNR’s also allow for more direct communication between the client and company. For example, it is much easier for a customer to make a decision on buying a new car when they are able to see and touch the car in person, rather than reading just a description of it.

(Information taken from Copy Blogger, HubPages, and Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques)


  • There are several available sites to get your started on your SMNR. Sites like PitchEngine or PRXbuilder are great aids in getting your personal SMNR created. These sites are free and operate at a beginner level to help walk you through the steps necessary to take in order to successfully develop your SMNR. There are also tutorials you can follow that will also better explain the set-up process.


  • Campbell’s wants to help you grow your own tomatoes.
    • Visit their   to find out how.


PRWeek: Craig McGuire gives techniques for incorporating social media into SMNR’s:

  • DO include links to pages where multiple instances of your key words/phrases reinforce your message.
  • DO place terms in key positions like headlines and first paragraphs.
  • DO distribute a release through a service that carries hyperlinks to downstream sites such as Yahoo! Finance, AOL News, and Netscape.
  • DON’T go link crazy. Too many links will confuse journalists and draw focus away from key messages.
  • DON’T use low-resolution images. Opt for high-resolution multimedia that can be easily used by layout pros.
  • DON’T use all tools, all the time. Focus first on the message. Use the bells and whistles to complement the campaign. 

(Information taken from Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques by Dennis L. Wilcox)


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TOW #9: My Top 10 PR Blogging Advice

Coming from someone who is a brand new blogger, I found this to be a wonderful opportunity to interact with readers, post helpful tips about social media, and give people a little bit of my personality. There are things and tips I picked up on in the process of blog development that I will continue to use. Here they are:

 1. Stay on Track – Be sure to stay up-to-date on whatever you may be blogging about. Getting behind on current events or topics will cause you to lose potential readers.

2. Link – When blogging, it is important to let your readers know what the source of your information is, if you have one. Be sure to link certain parts of your post in order to guide readers in the direction of more information on what the post is about. This also gives credit where credit is due in order to avoid plagiarism.

3. Mediums – Keep the feel of your posts fun and entertaining. Make your blog pop with pictures, videos and interesting fonts. Visual appeal is crucial. No one wants to look at a textbook blog.

4. Be Creative – Blogs are a way to express creativity, so do it. This will give the readers more drive to visit your blog. Entertain not only with words and creative writing, but also with visuals.

5. Personal Interest Should be Conversational – Create your personal interest blogs as if you were telling a story.  This makes your post seem more personal. It also gives your reader a chance to get to know you better.

6. About Me Page – Use this page as a way to introduce yourself. This allows your readers to know you before they read what you write, giving them a chance to feel more comfortable at your post.

7. Maintain the Focus – If you have a topic theme to your blog, be sure to stay on that focus. Someone searching for blogs about social media do not want to see posts about the latest model BMW that just came out.

8. Use Word – Blogs should be totally error free. Using Microsoft Word to type your text is a great way to eliminate mistakes. Word not only checks spelling, but it also checks for grammatical slip-ups. Once finished in Word copy and paste the text into your blog.

9. Keep Things Uniform – If you capitalize all the letters of some of your posts, capitalize all the titles. Keep things looking as if they all belong to the same blog. It makes it easier for readers to follow your style and also makes things look more organized.

10. Play Around – Most blog sites, such as WordPress, provide the option of changing and customizing your blog. Take advantage of the widgets and themes that are offered and be sure that your blog appeals to YOU as well as others that may be reading.

Get started here:

Blogging shouldn’t be lonely.

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TOW #8: 10 Ways to Drive a Journalist Crazy

In the PR world, PR practitioners and journalists are always going to have to network. Though practitioners are not aware of all of the duties of journalists and vice versa, those in the PR field have a tendency to annoy journalists. Here are several ways PR practitioners drive journalists crazy and ways to prevent them.

1. Too Much Contact – Instead of constantly trying to get in touch with the journalist, be patient. If you do not see your story published or if you have questions regarding your story, call once to check up on its status. Do not hound the journalist with calls and e-mails. This will not only annoy them, it will also cause you to gain negative work ethics; don’t ruin your reputation.

2. Not Enough Contact – On the other hand, too little contact will also leave a bad impression. It is likely that a journalist will need to get in touch with you at some point before publication. Be sure to be available. Availability will insure that the journalist is able to get any questions answered, or to gather further information about the story.  A quick response time is also crucial.

3. Being Unprofessional – When communicating with a journalist, be sure to be professional. Acting as if you are the journalist’s “buddy” or acting as if you are reporting just “another story,” will turn the journalist off. Be sure to use formal titles like Mr. and Mrs. and speak as if you are addressing a group of executives or someone that you want to make a good impression on.

4. Not Having Answers – Don’t expect your journalist to do your research for you. There is nothing the waste time like trying to find answers to questions that the PR professional has left you to find. Come prepared. If you do need to leave some strings untied, leave the journalist a direct route to the source.

4. Not Noting Revisions – Let’s not forget that deadlines do exist. When revisions are made to a release, let the journalist know. Without warning, the journalist is left to proofread and proofread in an attempt to spot slight changes. Do yourself and the journalist a favor and make note of what is revised.

5. Not Meeting Deadlines – Be conscious and aware that deadlines are a critical part of getting a story released. Sending important story information to a journalist will likely result in not getting your story published. Not staying on task will bother and possibly interrupt a journalist while they are busy on another story. Deadlines are not always set by the journalist either, pay mind to the fact that they are also following deadlines that have possibly been set by their company or boss.

6. Using Incorrect Formats – Sending a journalist a story or release that is error-free and in the correct format will only make their job easier. The last thing a journalist wants to do is correct mistakes that could have easily been avoided. Making a journalist mix formatting and grammatical errors will cause them to possibly get behind in other work and make them think less of you as a practitioner. Proofread and proofread again.

7. Using PR Lingo – Though most people may understand certain terminology like “chart-topping” or other phrases, most journalist want to know exactly what point you are trying to portray. Use simple phraseology when developing your story to ensure that the journalist will know exactly what you are trying to say.

8. Enough Consideration – Before sending a story to a journalist, be sure to consider every angle. Make sure you have done your research and every side to the story or release. Also take into consideration their feedback. It is important to interact with the journalists and make sure they know that you are interested in getting your client exposed in the media.

9. Inappropriate Releases – Be sure to consider what is really newsworthy before submitting a story to a journalist. Stories should not be only of personal interest but should appeal to a large audience. Sending in irrelevant stories or releases will only waste the journalist’s time, leaving them annoyed with you. Also consider what work the journalist is publishing and to what medium they are publishing. A story about the latest wild fire sent to a Glamour magazine journalist is likely not going to get published.

10. Sending Information out in Masses – Be sure to narrow down your journalist outlets as well as your target market. At some point, mass e-mails and information about your story will be looked at as spam, causing your story to go unnoticed. Make your journalist think that you specifically sent them the information in hopes that they will publish it. This makes you and your work seem more relevant.

These tips and more can be found from various sources:


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Chapter 14: Writing E-mail, Memos, and Proposals

This information is found in PUBLIC RELATION WRITING AND MEDIA TECHNIQUES, 6th edition, by Dennis L. Wilcox 

The Challenge of Managing Communication Overload:

  • You should follow basic guidelines”
    • Completeness
    • Conciseness
    • Correctness
    • Courtesy
    • Responsibility


  • Purpose:
    • Reduces the cost of employee communication
    • Increases the distribution of messages to more employees
    • Flattens the corporate hierarchy
    • Speeds decision making
  • Format:               
    • Subject line
    • Salutation
    • First sentence or paragraph
    • Body of message
    • Closing


  • Purpose:
    • Can serve any communication purpose
    • Public relations firms require a memo to be written whenever there is a client meeting or telephone conversation.
  • Content:
    • Specific and to the point.
  • Format:
    • Date
    • To
    • From
    • Subject
    • Message


  • Purpose:
    • To give information, to ask for information, to motivate, to answer complaints, to soothe or arouse, to warn, to admit, or to deny
  • Content:
    • Most important part of a letter is the first paragraph
  • Format:
    • Should be written on standard business stationery
    • Should have the name, address, and telephone number of the organization
    • Body should be about four or five paragraphs
    • Proofread, proofread, proofread


  • Purpose:
    • To get something accomplished – to persuade management to approve and authorize some important action that will have a long-lasting effect on the organization or its people.
  • Organization:
    • Show a need
    • Satisfy the need
    • Show benefits
    • Call for action

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Chapter 12: Tapping the Web and New Media

This information is found in PUBLIC RELATION WRITING AND MEDIA TECHNIQUES, 6th edition, by Dennis L. Wilcox 

The Internet: Pervasive in Our Lives:

  • Traditional Media:
    • Is centralized
    • Expensive
    • Staffed by gatekeepers known as editors and publishers
    • Features one-way communication with limited feedback channels
  • New Media:
    • Widespread broadband
    • Cheap/free
    • New distribution channels
    • Mobile devices
    • New advertising paradigms

The World Wide Web:

  • Can update information quickly
  • Allows interaction
  • Researchers can find more about their interests
  • Great amount of material can be posted
  • Cost-effective
  • Reach niche-markets and audiences
  • Users can reach your organization information within 24 hours

The Basics of Webcasting:

  • One survey found that more than 90 percent of public companies use Webcasts for everything from employee training to briefings for financial analysts and news conferences launching a new product.
  • Be aware of (1) quality, (2) computer capabilities of the intended audience

The Rise of Social Media:

  • Blogs are the most dominant manifestation, but social networks such as MySpace, Facebook, and YouTube are also a major presence in today’s world, even more social networks are being created almost daily.
  • Conversations can’t be controlled, so organizations and their public relations staffs must get used to the idea that everything an organization does is more transparent and fair game for comment.

The Explosion of Blogs:

  • Although the vast majority of blogs are still the province of individuals who post their diaries and personal opinion, they are now widely recognized by business and public relations personnel as an extremely cost-effective way to reach large numbers of people.
  • Corporate Blogs
  • Employee Blogs
  • Third-Party Blogs

The Continuing Role of Traditional Media:

  • July 2008 an estimated 220 million Americans had Internet access at home or work, and 73 percent of them went online in May.
  • Internet has no space or time constraints.

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Chapter 11: Getting Along with Journalists

This information is found in PUBLIC RELATION WRITING AND MEDIA TECHNIQUES, 6th edition, by Dennis L. Wilcox

The Importance of Media Relations:

  • Public relations personnel are the primary contact between the organization and the media.

The Media’s Dependence on Public Relations:

  • Although many reporters deny it, most of the information that appears in the mass media comes from public relations sources, which provide a constant stream of news releases, features, planned events, and tops to the media.
  • Public relations materials save media the time, money, and effort of gathering their own news.

Public Relations’ Dependence on the Media:

  • The purpose of public relations is to inform, to shape opinions and attitudes, and to motivate.
  • Reporters and editors make independent judgments about what is newsworthy and what will be disseminated.
  • Today, public relations professionals are less dependent on the traditional mess media to reach large audiences, because, for the first time in history, an organization, or even an individual, can literally reach billions of people, bypassing traditional mass media gatekeepers.

Areas of Friction:

  • Hype and Hews Release Spam
  • Name Calling
  • Sloppy/Biased Reporting
  • Tabloid Journalism
  • Advertising Influence

Working with Journalists:

  • Media Interviews
  • News Conferences
  • Teleconferences and Webcasts
  • Media Tours
  • Previews and Parties
  • Press Junkets
  • Editorial Board Meetings

A Media Relations Checklist:

  • Know your media
  • Send newsworthy information
  • Be available
  • Be truthful
  • Protect exclusives
  • Explain
  • Correct errors politely

Crisis Communication:

  • A good working relationship with the media is severely tested in times of crisis.
  • Guidelines:
    • “No comment” fuels hostility
    • Always try to be helpful
    • Be familiar with print and broadcast deadlines
    • Got to know the journalists in your area before a crisis hits

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NewsU: Writing for the Ear


Audio Story – a radio and TV piece. Also a podcast, a recorded interview, a narrated slide show or anything that includes sound and narration shaped into a story.


 How Audio Stories are Different:

  • Have fewer words than print pieces
  • Tend to be more narrow in focus than print stories
  • Tend to target a specific angle

Picking and Pitching:

  • Pitching an audio story means proposing a story to a radio show, podcast, Web site or other venue and, hopefully, convincing them to run your work.
  • Pitches need to prod, pique and provoke.

Story Selection:

  • Tell a story
  • Identify a conflict
  • Know who the main characters are
  • Establish a sense of time and pace
  • Be timely
  • Make sure you can tell your story in a limited time frame
  • Make you r story audio-genic

Elements of a Good Pitch:

  • The idea – every pitch should express the basic premise of the story. Describe the conflict and tension you will explore or the newsworthiness of the piece. This of this as a specific statement about the story you wish to tell.
  • A reporting plan – show you have done some homework on the reporting needed to tell the story. Describe interview possibilities and sound possibilities.
  • A time peg  – provide a reason to care and a sense of timeliness

I learned that instead of pitching what is important, to pitch what I know. Most likely there will be someone covering the important aspects already.  Pitch stories more about personal things rather than something this is making headlines. Be concise. Pitches are supposed to be catchy and straight to th point.

Elements to Every Script:

  • Host Intro – are sometimes used as a dumping ground for the tidbits of figures they couldn’t fit in the body of the story.
  • Traxx – voice tracks, lines that are read aloud by reporters.
  • Axx – aka actualities, radio jargon for soundbites

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