January 7th, 2014
Author: Guest
Even in the social media era, press releases still matter

press release

The death of the press release is a favourite topic for media and communications professionals. Recently, it flared up again when Alex Aiken, executive director of US government communications made the (bold?) declaration that, yes, the press release is dead. 

Aiken’s argument, as described by PR Week is that public relations pros should be content producers. Here’s the quote:

“You should not start with three pages of A4, but a tweet, an infographic or a video. If you are writing more than 200 words on any subject, you’re probably in the wrong place.”

I understand where Aiken is coming from. Social media has changed the way we get our messages out. I would argue no profession knows that better than journalists, who not only use Twitter and Facebook (and others) as a listening tool, but perhaps more importantly as a platform to project their content.  Read More

September 9th, 2013
Author: Dianne Craig
On Words: September Grammar Tips
grammar tips

Good grammar can take you very far.

Allow myself to introduce…myself.” – Austin Powers.

I am a Senior Copywriter at StrategicAmpersand. Proper use of the word ‘myself’ (unlike what you see above!) is the first tip in this debut post of On Words, a new monthly feature of our blog. As you know, good grammar, whether spoken or written, is your calling card — affecting first and lasting impressions. Each month, you’ll find good grammar tips covering frequently misused words or punctuation. This refresher guide is designed to help you improve your communications.

Here are September’s grammar tips: Read More

April 30th, 2013
Author: Mike Martin
Four reasons why former journalists work well in PR

Batman and the Joker; Superman and Lex Luthor; Luke Skywalker and Emperor Palpatine — on the one side are the forces of light, truth and justice. On the other are villains and rogues. Many reporters and editors view the worlds of journalism and public relations through a similar lens. Journalists are the heroes trying to expose the truth while PR pros are the villains trying to shield or promote their clients. The two sides couldn’t possibly be more different.

I know this because I’m a former reporter and editor who moved from journalism to PR just over six years ago. When I began my journalism career in the late 1990s I viewed PR people as obstacles who were trying to prevent me from getting the “real” story. As time passed, I realized PR professionals could help by putting me in touch with knowledgeable sources in time to meet deadlines.

Eventually I decided it was time for a new challenge in my career and made the switch to PR.  Read More