Newsletters are not Press Releases
By Ray Hanania
I get a lot of newsletters with a lot of great information. It’s usually not Earth-shattering news, but it is interesting. When it is Earth shattering, I of course find the time to follow up and re-write it as a news story.
But in most cases, the newsletters I get by email are promotional, and are “soft news.” They would make great stories if I didn’t have to take the time to rewrite it, find a photo and then place it on my news websites.
Newsletter are ways that individuals or organizations can keep they constituencies updated on what they are doing, what they are planning and the issues that are of concern to both. They can be written casually and with a focus on the “self,” meaning they can be used to pat yourself on the back. They can be filled with a lot of extraneous information that isn’t really newsworthy to the general public, but is interesting as a resource to those who are a part of your constituency.
Your constituency is a target audience you don’t have to work to win over their support. They already support you. They are the “choir.”
Sing to the choir as often as you can. But if you want to win, usually you have to reach beyond the “choir,” or your base constituency. You need to reach the general public, people who are not a part of your “entourage” and who don’t go out of their way to check in to see what you are up to.
A well written press releases with a strong lede sentence and tight focus on one major issue supported by several other related important points, is a more powerful way to broaden your support and attract the eyes of people outside of your “entourage,” your “choir,” or your base constituency.
And writing a press release requires adherence to a fundamental format of style, which I have described in other posts. (Click here for How to Write a Press Release.)
Many people put a lot of effort into newsletters, and even news announcements, which are mini press releases that alert people to upcoming events where, presumably, news will be made.
But not enough people put enough effort into writing press releases.
What organizations should do when they issue a newsletter is review the information and decide whether or not the information is worth converting into a news press release.
Remember, news isn’t want you think is news. News is what the public thinks is news, but you can wrap that “news” around what you think is important to yourself, your organization or your priorities.