The Lady has behaved like a tramp; not actions befitting a Duchess and mother of two Princesses!!

May 25, 2010

The news that The Duchess Of York, Sarah Ferguson was caught out in a News of the World sting, offering an undercover reporter posing as a businessman access to her former husband, Prince Andrew (who is a trade ambassador for Britain ), for £500,000 gives us all a depressingly familiar tinge of deja vu. Have we not been here before, with The Duchess’s indiscretions and lack of judgement and taste?

On the positive side, Ferguson’s PR team quickly issued a statement yesterday, which said she was ‘regretful’ and ‘devastated’ by her actions. Former News of the World editor and founder of PHA Media Phil Hall said: “I believe from a PR point of view the Duchess did the only thing she could in the circumstances. With overwhelming evidence against her a ‘mea culpa’ was her only option. She then has to carry on with her life, not run away. The British public have a history of forgiving human frailties, as they have done with her before”.

The problem in 2010 is that the power of video and the internet is all illuminating and encompassing. When the public can see the sting with their own eyes and hear the subject boasting and displaying naked avarice, public opinion ebbs away and the tabloid newspaper is no longer pilloried and condemned for entrapment in the same way it used to be. It legitimises the News of the World’s argument that exposing the Duchess of York in this way, is in the interests of public opinion and enlightenment, and as such the end justified the means. (more…)

The importance of being earnest when writing a Press Release, which satisfies the criteria of the Search Engine and Journalist simultaneously.

May 10, 2010

SEO-driven Press / News Releases should be designed to satisfy the criteria of the Search Engine and Journalist alike. However always remember that the Press Release is designed to be read by people as well as search engines, and in an ideal world will make people want to know more than simply what ranking Google ( Or Yahoo, Bing etc ) delivers. Whilst serving the Search Engine Master, with key word rich text, you must ensure that the Press Release is a comprehensible and compelling read. The recipient of a press release, expects material that is newsworthy.

If the Press Release you’re creating is for a highly regulated industry ( ie the financial services sector, the Press Releasepharmaceuticals market, or for a blue chip listed company ) you need to observe the specific rules relating to information distribution through a Press Release.

Beyond fixed criteria laid down by industry watch dogs and authorities, you need to pay great attention to your audience and the type of person who will be reading your Press Release – it maybe your customers, suppliers, employees. Either way, the Press Release should be written in a style which engages and connects with them.

The Top 10 key elements of a Press or News release are as follows:

1) Devise a simple title that encapsulates the gist or nucleus of the story

2) The first paragraph should convey the key facts – these are best summed up by “who, what, where when and why”, and should be communicated in a maximum of five short sentences. You need to make a connection and an impact with the reader straight away, in order that they read on to the end of the release.

3) The following paragraphs can then elaborate on the basic facts outlined in the first paragraph.

4) Use one or two carefully selected quotes, to add weight and authority to the Press Release. These should be properly attributed to a source, with a name and position ie Bob Smith, Managing Director. Always ensure the quotes are in inverted commas and approved by the source.

5) Add a marker to indicate the end of the story. (Convention dictates….. /ENDS or ##).

6) Following the ‘end’, there should be back up information, usually headed up ‘notes for editors’.

7) You can add a ‘boilerplate’ – a standard description of around a paragraph in length to describe the issuing organisation ie a brief synopsis of the company.

8) Don’t forget to add contact details in order that the journalist can seek clarification and additional information – an e-mail address and a telephone number will suffice.

9) Avoid corporate speak and industry jargon – these may well alienate the reader, either because they are cliche-ridden or unintelligible.

10) Most of all, think like a reporter – you want your newstory to be read, so deliver it like a reporter: in the third person (ie he, she, they rather than I and we). Communicate clearly and factually. Avoid flowery language. It’s the journalist’s prerogative to add the gloss, and flesh out the basic bones of the story. The journalist will not appreciate you doing his or her job for them.

Reflection on the Election…..one that saw the advent of New Media influenced politics, Page 3 Girls, spoof adverts, voters insulted and car and plane crashes!!

May 8, 2010

Sun Page 3As David Cameron and Nick Clegg negotiate to form the much predicted Conservative / Liberal Democrat Coalition Government, it is time to reflect on what was an entertaining, if not slightly bizarre and surreal Election campaign. It now seems prophetic and symbolic that the Conservatives launched their bid for power, from a derelict Battersea Power Station, just over a month ago……..democracy has dictated that they don’t have the required 136 seats to command total power in Government.

At the end of a long, gruelling Election campaign, for politician and voter alike, The Sun encapsulated what has been a bizarre, surreal and at times farcical period in British politics. As Greece rioted, and the money markets collapsed, on the eve of Election Day The Sun caught the mood perfectly ( take with a large helping of irony!! ), carrying on it’s front page the dire warning that if Labour or the Liberal Democrats won the election they will “move swiftly to change the law and ban page three forever”. The Sun’s front page declared that these “scantily-clad, human rights-threatened women appear to have taken a united stand against such a grim scenario in today’s newspaper, by all wearing blue undergarments in an apparent unanimous show of support for the Conservatives”. (more…)