Improve Tech Skills – Part 2 – Getting Good News Out Online

Eileen Batson, communications guru

Eileen Batson, communications guru

Hats off to teachers…it’s time for Mid – Week Focus to review expert tips on sharing news online.

Vacation time is here for many of us. Consider setting aside a little time to improve your tech skills while you’re classroom-free. Tech skills today include mastery of getting good news out online.

Some teachers keep online connections open with students, parents, communities 24/7, including during school breaks. Everyone can benefit from a quick “tutorial” about effective ways to issue press releases. If you don’t plan to post news items online during vacation time, tuck the ideas offered here away for next term.

I’ve asked Eileen Batson, an online communications expert to offer some quick tips to help teachers spread the word about the good work that they and their students have done, are doing, and are planning in upcoming months.

Eileen works with individuals, including educators, business owners, authors and artists to help them be well-known, well thought of and well-remembered.

According to Eileen, teachers who send good news benefit themselves and their students, as well as their schools and communities.  Preparing good school-related news and tapping online networks for its distribution is a way for teachers to model pride in their students’ and schools’ achievement and to demonstrate community-mindedness. 

Eileen believes that helping students connect with the “greater community” beyond school is key to building a strong foundation for their futures.

Eileen picks it up here…

While there are a variety of ways to control online presence, one of the best ways is through well-written and distributed news/press releases.

Here are some pointers for writing a better news/press release for publication online and in print media:

  1. Ensure that your story is clear and engaging. This is not the time to write “sales copy.”
  2. Your headline should be brief, accurately summarize the content of the news release, and be search engine-friendly.
  3. Write in the third person and use an active voice – Replace a passive phrase like “ABC Cupcakes has been selected for recognition for contributions to their community by the Cupcake Federation of America” with an active phrase such as “the Cupcake Federation of America selects ABC Cupcakes for recognition.”
  4. The first paragraph needs to answer the five key Ws: who, what, where, when and why.
  5. Paragraph # 2 and # 3 should contain additional details about your story, plus a quote from someone involved in the story who can explain what this news means to you, your students and school.
  6. Proofread! Proofread! Proofread! There is nothing like grammar and spelling mistakes to make you lose credibility. Here are a few tips:

• Read your release aloud. Rewrite sentences that are clumsy and difficult to get through.

• Have someone else read it. A second set of eyes can reveal what you missed.

• Read your story backward. It’s easy to miss errors when you read conventionally.

  1. Be sure to follow the correct format and include all contact info so journalists can follow-up with you.
  2. To get journalists’ correct contact information be sure to read their articles online and in print publications.
  3. Embed your releases when you send your emails to the journalists that you’ve selected to contact. Journalists have no time to open attachments.

To wrap up, releases can announce a range of news items, including scheduled events, personnel promotions, awards, accomplishments, etc. Reporters are more likely to consider a story idea if they first receive a press release.

Great information, Eileen; thank you!

As a publicist and owner of Batson Group Marketing and PR for 25+ years, Eileen Batson consults, holds workshops, and speaks on public relations, social networking, marketing and blogging.

She is currently on the Board of Directors for Women’s Power Networking and Co-Organizer for their Crabtree Chapter in Raleigh, NC (US). Martin Brossman and Anora McGaha selected her chapter on public relations for inclusion in their book Social Media for Business. Eileen lives in Raleigh with her husband, award-winning author and publisher Jon Batson. Visit Eileen at www.BGMPR.com

Please send comments about your experience sharing school-related news online.

Check back here on Monday for Attentionology for K – 5 Teachers.

Talk with  you again soon,

Barbara ♥ The Lovable Poet

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Barbara Cleary has been serving as a resource to hundreds of educators for more than 25 years. An award-winning writer, producer, teacher, and trainer, Barbara’s focus is on offering easy, fun tools and tricks that support K-5 curricula and assist teachers with classroom management.
Quick tips for common classroom conundrums: K-5
Situation: Students are acting sluggish in class.

Solution: Show "The BIG E," for ENERGY, an enlarged letter E (or other first letter for the word energy in your alphabet), available in craft stores. Remind the class that energy is a must-have item to get good work done. Tell the class to show you "The BIG E!"

Related Posts: Show Off "The Big E"