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Writing A Press Release

Posted by on Aug 14, 2010

Okay, by now everyone should know that I’m putting on a social media workshop on Thursday with Renée Scherer. Well, at least you’d think that. What I found out just after the last one is that no matter how many times I put the link out on Twitter, people seemed to miss it. I mean, what the hey? This included people I talked to often on Twitter; that was discouraging, and of course if people don’t know about it, they’re not coming.

Grafik Magazine: Hand Drawn Type Spread
Carolyn Sewell via Compfight

This led me to considering the idea of writing a press release for this one and seeing if the newspaper would put it in. Of course, one can have a press release go to many other outlets as well, but there’s only one main newspaper in town, and I know the rules for writing a press release, which is pretty much only one main rule; make it sound like a news story and not an advertisement.

Having said that, there are some basic rules for writing up a press release; here they are:

1. You need to make sure there’s contact information in it

2. You need to indicate what the press release is for, hopefully giving them a title they might be able to use. I did that within the article, and I told what the event was up front.

3. You should have someone quoted in it. That’s not quite a necessity, but it helps to have a quote or two.

4. It needs to be in 3rd person. No “I’s” or anything like that unless it’s contained in the quote.

5. It needs to look “newsy”. In other words, it should read like it’s a story in the newspaper, even if it’s a short one.

I created the press release and I passed it by one of my Twitter friends who also happens to work at the newspaper. She said it was perfect, and that she’d give it to the powers that be. This isn’t my first press release, by the way. I’ve had two others put into the newspaper, one in 2004 when I was giving my Keys To Leadership seminars, and another when I was promoting a customer service workshop in 2005. So, it had been awhile, but my hope was that I hadn’t lost the skill of putting one together.

I hope it shows up in the newspaper, but there are never any guarantees. Actually, I’m writing this days ahead of time, so if you see this line then it probably won’t make it in time. In either case, another friend of mine in media said I should put it on my website to make sure it’s at least seen by someone. I decided to share it here:

Press Release:

Social Media Marketing Workshop
Hope Lake Lodge, August 19th, 2010

Following up on a successful first presentation on July 22nd, Mitch Mitchell of SEO Xcellence and Renée Scherer of Presentations Plus are putting on a second workshop on the topic of social media marketing. Titled “Make A Splash With Social Media Marketing”, they put on a 5 hour workshop that talks about social media strategies that have been used by many companies across the United States to enhance their business profiles and interact with customers.

“Smaller companies found out first how successful they could interact with current clients and grow their client base by using social media marketing, and now bigger companies have hopped on the bandwagon and establishing themselves as players in the game as well,” said Mitch Mitchell, who’s been working with clients on social media marketing strategies for 3 years now. “Anyone who hasn’t figured out that they need to embrace at least some aspects of social media marketing are going to fall behind, and it’s not going to be easy to catch up.”

Since both Mitchell and Scherer are from the Syracuse area, why start at Hope Lake Lodge? “I’m a skier and I love Greek Peak,” stated Scherer. “Once I realized how much more they had and that they’d love finding ways to help promote the new Cascades Water Park it seemed like it would be a nice marriage.”

They are working on setting up a workshop some time in September in the Syracuse area, then hoping for at least one more presentation at Cascades Water Park before deciding where to take it next. “I’d love to take it on the road, as it’s become a very hot topic”, said Mitchell.

So, what do you think?

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I have written a few releases. I have to actually write one as an assignment for school. You offer some helpful tips here Mitch.

August 14th, 2010 | 5:30 PM

Thanks Rose. I remembered reading rules years ago, and I’m glad they came back to me.

August 14th, 2010 | 6:24 PM

So, I take it if it’s a press release it’s free, whereas if it’s an advertisement you have to pay for it? Also I think it’s safe to say more people will pay attention to a press release.

Well done Mitch. It sounds great. Let me know if you want me to tweet the workshop.

August 14th, 2010 | 7:49 PM

Pretty much, Sire. The idea is to make the press release look like it’s news, so much so that the newspapers will print it, probably on a back or inner page somewhere, but at least one hopes it’ll show up somewhere. Even if it doesn’t, supposedly there are places online where you can do it as well. And I got a recommendation from someone in media that I should create a place on my websites to list any press releases I write, kind of like a company news section. Interesting idea I never really thought much about, but it kind of makes sense.

August 14th, 2010 | 10:54 PM

It makes a lot of sense Mitch, you should do it.

August 14th, 2010 | 10:59 PM

This are good tips for writing press release. PR submissions have helped me a lot for market my business and where possible to get a good one way link.

August 14th, 2010 | 9:09 PM

Good deal Kyle, and thanks. I’m hoping it shows up on the newspaper page, as I’d love to have the link as well.

August 14th, 2010 | 10:55 PM

OK—I guess I’ll chime in since writing press releases is what I do.

There is a specific way to write releases that first starts with the headline and something called a “dateline” That’s the date, city release originates from, contact info…

So it would go something like this:


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (or release date)

Contact information:
Mitch Mitchell
555-555-5556 (cell)

Now I am of the opinion that the headline must be an attention grabber. Something that would make me want to read further.

Dateline and city orginated (optional)

I would’ve started this way:

“How to make a splash with social media marketing” wiill be the subject of a seminar hosted by two local social media experts……

The other thing about releases is they should always be written in the PRESENT tense–not past tense.

That’s just my two cents.

August 15th, 2010 | 12:32 PM

Good additions, Bev. I had to take a look to make sure I hadn’t written anything in the past tense; whew! lol As for headlines, I’ve never been good at titles on anything. My first book had a terrible initial title, and it pretty much took me 3 years to come up with the title I have now, which is a shame. However, even if I’d added the other stuff at the top you mentioned, the newspaper here would have sent me a form to fill out asking more information anyway. Doesn’t negate giving as much proper information as possible, though.

August 15th, 2010 | 12:46 PM

LOL- I wrote a press release for a local paper- not Syracuse…

Never got a confirmation and it never ran!

Mitch, I believe I got an email from you about your workshop- like a week late…

Back when the computer was in the shop.


We’re still looking for some presenters for the CNY Networking group.

August 16th, 2010 | 11:43 AM

Carolee, you might have gotten an alert from one of the blogs, but I didn’t think I specifically sent you email about it. However, it’s coming up Thursday if you’re interested. 🙂

August 16th, 2010 | 12:52 PM