Friday, September 28, 2012

Inessa Stewart Antiques' news release flops

Is the news release dead or is the news release alive? Well that is a great question; however, the real question should be how do we get rid of the bad ones? News releases can be helpful, but a lot of the time they are abused. This week I will walking through an example of a sub par news release on behave of Inessa Stewart Antiques that I found courtesy of

This news release takes a turn for the worse right off the bat; just look at the title, "Sale on All Store Items Ends on February 12, 2011." How does that  headline tell me anything? It does not tell the audience what store is having the sale, nor does it grab your attention. This story would be lucky to be opened by a journalist much less be published.

The second problem I have is the story isn't newsworthy; it is an advertisement. Very sneaky of you Inessa Stewart, but you will have to pay for your advertisement space just like every other business. Here's another hint, adding exclamation marks doesn't add excitement; it's hard to get excited about furniture...

Lastly, the copy is poorly written and not well organized. The copy goes from advertising this particular sale, to advertising the store, to advertising a specific piece of furniture, to contact information, back to advertising the store, and finally back to contact information again. In addition to the copy being all over the place, it has grammatical errors.

What we need to take away from this week's blog is that news releases need to be sent when something is newsworthy and arranged in a way to make it easy on busy journalists. The news release should consist of concise statements that are organized and easily followed. Lastly, I know I am saying this twice, but if it isn't news, then don't send it. The last thing you need is to lose credibility and hurt your company.  

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Art of Non-Conformity sells blog writing

Blogs are the number one most abused and overused writing published today. Bad blogs are cliche, like Nickelback jokes...I get it they are terrible musicians. But in all seriousness, educate yourself before you decide to post something on the Internet.

Don't get me wrong, I like wading through the poorly written blog just as much as the next guy (sarcasm), but I much rather stumble across a blog worthy of my time.

Let's take a look at a blog I  found today, The Art of Non-Conformity. It has a clean design, clear purpose, timely material and well-written content. This blog seeks to expand on the book, The Art of Non-Conformity, written by best selling author, entrepreneur, and world traveler, Chris Guillebeau.

This blog is very much a sales pitch for Guillebeau's two books and travel business, but also motivates its readers at the same time. Each week there are two posts that encourage readers to live out their dreams, explore the world and not be confined by the boring life of today.

Through having a specific purpose, helpful format, insightful copy and useful links, The Art of Non-Conformity exemplifies a well put together blog.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Yahoo! exemplifies web writing

Through appropriate headlines, concise copy and a reader friendly layout, Yahoo! excels at writing for the web. In other words, it is like a peanut butter, jelly and lettuce sandwich; I know what you're thinking...nasty, but it is the perfect combination.

Before things get kicked off, let me explain a little bit about the series we are about to begin. This is going to be a six week blogging adventure in which each week I discuss different writing platforms. For this week, I will be critiquing a website. Now lets take a look at Yahoo!'s website.

Yahoo! has a vast amount of coverage ranging from politics to celebrity gossip. Instead of one dominate story they have numerous amounts of stories scroll across the screen. To keep things organized there is an accordion type scroll bar (shown in the red box) that indicates where the reader is located amongst the different stories.

Each of Yahoo!'s stories are set up to make them the focal point of the reader when they are selected. In addition to a large photo, they all have a web appropriate title (shown in the orange box), a concise copy blurb (shown in green box) and of course plenty of hyperlinks that draw the reader to explore the story further. These qualities allow for ease of navigation and lets the reader know exactly what he or she is clicking.

In addition to being a news website, Yahoo! is also a well-known search engine. Yahoo! is able to provide its readers more content by providing informative headline hyperlinks (headline hyperlinks are just so fun to say I had to type it twice) that are created from the most searched things on their website. This information can be found in the upper right hand corner (shown in the yellow box).

Yahoo! provides its readers with easy access to information through their excellent use of headlines, copy, and hyperlinks. Its layout is also pleasing to the eyes because it follows an "f" pattern (shown by the black lines). Yahoo! does a great job writing for the web and maximizing their coverage. I know this is cliche, but in the case of Yahoo!, the information is right at the finger tips of the reader.