NEWS: Help me win a chance for an internship!

Hello friends and readers!  This isn’t my typical blog post, but I need your help.  I’m entered in a contest to win a chance at an internship through the website, and I need your help to win.

Check out my page, where you can find links to basically all of my Internet locations, and hit “Vote for this page” in the upper right-hand corner.  You can vote once every 24 hours, and if I’m in the Top 20, I’ve got a chance at that internship I’m aiming for!  The internship is for news writing, and I’m shooting for one at the Huffington Post.

Please share this blog post and the URL with your followers and Facebook friends!  If you need a little bit more, here’s the URL in plain format:

Thank you so much for supporting me!  Please hurry – voting closes April 22.

Quick PR for Non-Public Figures

So you’ve done something really cool.

Maybe you’ve won an award or a fellowship. Or, if you’re like most of my readers, you’ve written a book that’s finally going to be published. These things happen once in a while, and when they do, you want to tell the world about them.

…maybe not the entire world, but at least people who might be interested.  So what do you do?  Since I work in PR, I’ll give you a few hints about what might be a good idea to try.

Write a press release or make a press kit

A press release is a sheet designed for the media to give editors and reporters a brief overview of the story and answer one basic question: “What’s the news?”

If you don’t know how to write a press release – though a simple Google search will do you well in that matter – you can always hire a freelance writer to write your press kit for you. I freelance a bit myself – I specialize in press kits/releases – and if you’d like to know more, you can reach me at felizacasano [at] gmail [dot] com. If you’d like to deal with someone local, you can always check to find someone near you.

As for a press kit, there are several components you may want to include, depending on your achievement. Here are a few suggestions:

  • A photo of you receiving or holding the award
  • A press release or announcement from the presenting organization
  • A headshot (print-quality photo of your face)

You can include other items as well.  Feel free to e-mail me at the address above or comment below if you’d like some suggestions or ideas for your press kit.

Contact local news media

Once you have a press release or press kit – depending on which is appropriate for your story – you may want to consider contacting your local news media. This may include daily newspapers, weekly or biweekly newspapers, even local radio and television news stations.

Before you contact the news media, do your research. The head of the sports desk isn’t going to care about your horticultural award, and the arts & life music beat writer isn’t going to care about your college soccer team alumni achievement award.

Whatever you’re trying to contact them about, you need to figure out who on the staff would be most interested and why, then tailor your cover letter or press release to them. Remember that you’re trying to make it simple and convenient for the media to talk about you and your achievement, and that includes getting it to the right person on the first try.

Contact bloggers

If you blog pretty frequently enough – or if you read and interact with specific blogs regularly – you may be interested in contacting bloggers. In that case, you won’t need a press release – a simple e-mail would suffice. You can just drop them a line saying “Hey, I’m a regular reader and I thought you might like to know I achieved X, which I thought might be relevant.”

If you contact a blogger, you can always offer to write them a guest post. In your bio, you could include “winner of X award” or “author of Y, available at Amazon/your indie bookstore/etc.” I personally really appreciate guest posts, as long as they’re related to what’s on my blog – as do many other bloggers.

Contact your alma mater

Another great way to promote your achievements is to contact your alma mater: your high school and any/all colleges you attended, no matter what education you received there. Many colleges have public relations departments you may be interested in contacting.

As with news media, do your research first. You may want to check with your college on their website to see if they have a media relations specialist or something similar. Be respectful, as usual, and make sure to give the PR person any information they might need to share your achievements.

Not all of these fast fixes will work for everyone.  However, you can go through the list and use it to decide what would be best to showcase yourself and your achievements. What tips were most helpful for you?

Writing Organizations for Student Journalists

This is a bit late for me, since I’m graduating in May, but I thought it might be a good idea to talk a little bit about writing organizations for journalists and other editorial media that students may be interested in.

First off, any student who is either an intern at a news organization or works at a student publication should consider joining the Society of Professional Journalists.  SPJ is a fantastic resource for students.  During my time at the Independent Collegian, our staff received two regional SPJ awards, and we were able to have some great experiences because of SPJ.  College student memberships are $37.50 for one year.

For those students at print publications, there is also the American Copy Editors Society.  ACES is an organization for those interested in editing – especially copy editors for newspapers – and holds an annual conference about copy editing.  ACES also has regional events and scholarships for students expressing an interest in and aptitude for copy editing.

Female students may be interested in joining the Association for Women in Communications, which offers both professional and student chapters to its members.  Other benefits include job resources, membership directories, and awards.  Student memberships are only $34, and Recent Graduate memberships are available for the same price for those graduating within 12 months of applying for membership.

There are also associations for student journalists who belong to specific minority groups, including blacks, Hispanics, Asians, gays and lesbians, and other minorities.  Please visit the appropriate site to learn more about their student membership program.

If you are a dedicated student journalist planning to pursue a career in journalism, consider checking out these organizations.  If you are interested in learning more about other journalism organizations, please check out the American Journalism Review’s page dedicated to journalism organizations.