Formatting the Press Release: Titles

When you send a press release or media alert, the ultimate goal is for publications to pick up the information and distribute it to their audiences. The information is critical to the message you want to convey, and so is its presentation.  In this series, we discuss tips to help you appropriately format press releases for publication. Your media contacts will appreciate it!

Titles come in all different forms—headlines, job titles, group names—so it can be confusing to get them all straight. Here are some quick rules to remember when you’re writing titles in a press release:

Capitalization 

All principal words in a title—whether it be for a book, article, movie, website, seminar name, etc.—should be capitalized. Prepositions and conjunctions of four or more letters also are capitalized. For example: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Remember that certain titles should be placed within quotation marks, while others should be italicized. 

Headlines

Capitalize only the first word, proper nouns and proper abbreviations. Bold headlines in press releases (don’t underline or italicize them). For example: New PRSA stylebook offers writing tips

Job Titles

There are different rules regarding the capitalization of job titles depending on when they are mentioned.

  • Capitalize a title before a name if there is no comma in between: Director of City Planning Beth Vaughn
  • Lowercase if there is a comma in between the name and title: New York’s director of city planning, Beth Vaughn
  • Lowercase after a name: Beth Vaughn, director of city planning, New York
  • Job titles that include functions should be lowercase unless the function is a branded product: Beth Vaughn, director, city planning, New York
  • Lowercase if it’s not paired with a name: New York’s director of city planning will review the plans.

For more information, check out the Public Relations Society of America’s style guide at www.prsa.org/AboutPRSA/GuidelinesLogos/PRSAStyleGuide.pdf or the Associated Press Stylebook’s website at www.apstylebook.com. Keep reading our blog for more grammar and writing tips!

Why a video for your business is important

Why produce a video? That’s a question that’s been asked by/within companies for a long time. “Give me one good reason why I should spend the money to make a video of my business…” remains a frequently-heard CEO challenge.

Well, there’s more than one reason! A quality video is one of the best marketing tools that a business can have when competing with other companies for clients or projects. A well-produced video can be used as:

  • An introduction to your company designed to attract potential new clients
  • A reintroduction for absentee clients who need a reason to become active clients again
  • A stronger, more memorable impression of your company and its services
  • Company collateral when prospecting for new business

Truthfully, some of the reasons for not making a corporate video in the past—high cost, slow turnover and viewing restrictions— were quite valid, but today’s digital age has radically changed many of the standard steps involved with making a corporate video. High quality videos can be shot on many devices and edited (with voice-over) on a laptop, and former month-long projects have been reduced to several days.

Long gone are the days of VHS tapes/players—videos now can be watched on the internet, PCs, laptops, smartphones and tablets, making it easier to present and distribute your content.

We’ll explore the type of content that should be included in company videos in a future blog post. In the meantime, contact us if you want to learn more about creating a video for your business/organization!


(c) Can Stock Photo

Confused about using ‘affect’ and ‘effect?’

Affect and effect look and sound almost the same, but that doesn’t mean they can be used interchangeably. Unfortunately, they are two of the most commonly misused words, but figuring out which one to use is easier than you may think.

Simply put, affect is almost always used as a verb, and effect as a noun. Affect means to influence someone or something, or to produce a result, whereas effect is the result of a cause or action.

  • Apollos Hester’s post-game interview had an inspirational effect on me. How did it affect you?

Affect also can mean to act in a way that’s not typical, and effect can mean a private possession. For example:

  •  Normally energetic and supportive, Coach Tomlin affected an air of disappointment on the sideline.
  •  Packing up personal effects is always the hard part of moving.

Before we close this blog out, let’s address why I said affect and effect are almost always used as a verb and noun, respectively. Sometimes it’s the other way around. When used as a verb, effect means to bring about or to accomplish.

  • Coach Franklin hopes the upcoming bye week effects improvement in the Nittany Lions’ offense.

Likewise, affect can be used as a noun—although rarely—meaning an emotional state or implying a mood someone is experiencing.

  • After the Steelers lost to the Browns, I sat on my couch in an emotionless affect.

Would you like us to explore other grammar questions? Let us know in the comments.

Our Favorite Pittsburgh Things: Fall Foliage

Autumn is officially here, which means temperatures are dropping, pumpkin-spiced flavors are back, and our favorite—the leaves in the Pittsburgh area are starting to turn red, yellow and orange!

Fall foliage seen from a North Park walking trail

Fall foliage seen from a North Park walking trail

According to Visit PA’s Oct. 7 fall foliage report, Pittsburgh’s leaves are showing about 30 to 35 percent of full color, so there’s still time to head out and take in some of the season’s most beautiful sights. The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources also offers an interactive fall foliage map for anyone interested in seeing how the colors are coming along throughout the state.

If you want to catch the foliage during its peak, here are a few ways to do so:

  • The Gateway Clipper hosts a Fall Foliage Tour in October. Visitors can experience the area’s bright colors while enjoying a meal and entertainment on one of the fleet’s riverboats.
  • If boats aren’t your thing, consider taking in autumn’s vibrant colors on the Three Rivers Heritage Trail. Pittsburgh’s urban trail system gives visitors the opportunity to see the colorful leaves among the city’s skyline.
  • Allegheny County parks, such as Boyce Park, South Park, Hartwood Acres and North Park have wooded areas and trails, ensuring that anyone in the area can see the leaves during their peak no matter where they live.
  • If you don’t mind taking a short drive, the Laurel Highlands region, which is a little more than an hour from the City of Pittsburgh, offers some pretty spectacular views in the fall. The area is home to Mount Davis, Pennsylvania’s highest mountain elevation; Ohiopyle State Park; and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater.

Where do you like to go to see Pittsburgh’s fall foliage? Tell us in the comments!

 

The Benefits of Having a Company Blog

In this age of digital media, it has become an expectation for companies and brands to have blogs. While managing and maintaining a company blog can be time-consuming, we encourage all of our clients to put effort into having one for several reasons:

  • Drives traffic – Having a blog that is updated at least monthly creates more content for your website. This flow of fresh content will help your SEO ranking, making it easier for potential customers to find you in search results.
  • Complements your social media – Not only does blogging automatically give you good content to use on social media, it gives you a space to expand on ideas in a way that is not possible on social media.
  • Show off expertise – Whatever your industry may be, a blog allows you to establish your brand as the “go-to” expert in your field, potentially leading to new business.
  • Engagement – Having a blog offers customers more ways to interact with your brand, creating more opportunities to form a relationship. You may be able to transform some of these new relationships into brand advocates.
  • Cost –There are many great blogging platforms that offer free services – WordPress is one of the more popular options.
  • Additional content – Think of a blog as an extension of your website and your social media pages. It gives people more information about how your company operates, who the members of your staff are, what your philosophies are and your areas of expertise.

If you have a blog, tell us why you started one in the comments!