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Old 04-18-2005, 12:19 PM   #76
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Wow. OK, I thought they were the same thing — what's the difference between community relations and public relations?

The strangest thing just happened. I'm not making this up. A lady from my old church just called and she wants me to do a press release for her daughter-in-law's new biz and she wants to pay me!

How much do you charge for press releases?
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Old 04-18-2005, 01:26 PM   #77
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Of course this will vary depending on who you ask, but from my perspectice, CR is a bit more localized than public relations. With CR, you are interacting more with a specific community/neighborhood and with PR your audience is a bit broader.

I guess the best example I can give you is that our agency did PR and CR (and media relations) for the YMCA here in Milwaukee. Some of our efforts were very much focused on the areas that each of the branches served--and that was CR. Our PR efforts were broader and reached people throughout the city.


How much to charge ... well, it depends.

Our agency's fee structure is very different from that of other PR agencies. We charge a flat $125/hour ($100 for non-profit)--other agencies charge based on who is doing a work (fees are higher for an Account Manager than an Account Executive). We do it that way because our agency is relatively small and we all work quite closely.

I haven't done a whole lot of freelancing work, but I usually charge about $50-75/hour. A press release (depending on how much research you might need to do, interviews you need to conduct, rewrites, etc.), could take 2-5 hours.

I guess I like to remin flexible (as does our agency)--you try to work within your client's budget, but you don't want to short change yourself either.
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Old 04-18-2005, 01:34 PM   #78
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Holy crap, you get up to $75 an hour and sometimes take up to five hours! I'm in the wrong biz. I've been thinking about that when/if I do freelance press releases for nonprofits and churches. I was just thinking a flat $40, but I might start thinking a little higher. Thanks!

What's your follow up like? How do you handle press releases? Do you have a certain time frame you like to get them out in? When do you follow up and how often? Just curious.
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Old 04-18-2005, 01:53 PM   #79
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Quote:
Originally posted by coemgen
Holy crap, you get up to $75 an hour and sometimes take up to five hours! I'm in the wrong biz. I've been thinking about that when/if I do freelance press releases for nonprofits and churches. I was just thinking a flat $40, but I might start thinking a little higher. Thanks!

What's your follow up like? How do you handle press releases? Do you have a certain time frame you like to get them out in? When do you follow up and how often? Just curious.
Well, 5 hours is on the high end when it comes to time estimates, however I have had to do some pretty technical health care releases that required quite a bit of reasearch and interviewing. I can usually crank out a pretty easy release (including making client revisions) in 2 hours.

Usually for non profits I go for the $50/hour--and since those are easy releases, I definitely get them done in 2 hours or less.

The feedback that I (and my co-workers) have received in the last year to year and a half is that reporters like to get releases/media alerts via email (not as an attachment, but in the body of the email).

As the reporter, you can feel free to dispute that.

I guess this is how I approach follow up--pleasant persistence. We keep trying various reporters/editors/producers until we get a commitment to cover--we go deep on our media lists and don't stop with one editor. We pitch story angles appropriate to the individual reporter's/editor's beat.

We find that follow up (the sooner the better) dramatically increases the likelyhood of coverage.

Of course, there are times when you just exhaust all of your contact options and no one will cover your story, but at least you can tell your client we tried X number of editors/reporter and pitched story angles X, Y, and Z and no one was interested at this time.

Let me know if you have any other questions.

Maybe I should start an "Ask the PR Gal" thread
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Old 04-18-2005, 03:03 PM   #80
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Cool. Thanks for answering my questions.

You should start your own thread. I'd ask you questions.

But you're right, this is my thread.
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Old 04-18-2005, 03:13 PM   #81
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Originally posted by JessicaAnn
Maybe I should start an "Ask the PR Gal" thread
We're waiting.........................................
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Old 04-18-2005, 03:40 PM   #82
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Oh darn it, I was excited to see what nb asked me and it's about JessicaAnn.

This is MY thread you know
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Old 04-18-2005, 04:43 PM   #83
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Coemgen -- where did you go to school? I find many reporters around Missouri went to Mizzou -- my alma mater. Just checking.

Also, here's my question for you: do you consider bloggers reporters particularly those who may call sources and get facts? or do you think that there are certain criteria that make you a journalist i.e. a journalism degree or working for an established publication? Or do you think anyone that puts their views in blog form instead of writing a story an opinionator and not a reporter?

Someone mentioned bias earlier. I think you have to separate the op/ed page from the news stories. I work for a clearly conservative paper when it comes to the op/ed page, but people in my division either rarely talk about politics or lean liberal. Don't listen to the whole Faux News/blogger stuff. Most journalists don't write about politics and those that do rarely have enough time to inject their politics in a story with a deadline looming.

Oh, and don't always worry about "moving up". I work for one of the largest papers in the country on its Web site and am miserable and probably quitting in a few months. Sometimes it's not about the name -- it's about whether you are happy and doing work that you enjoy. Be the big fish in the little pond instead of the little fish in the big pond.

Oh and U2dem, not to be discouraging, but political journalists are a dime a dozen. I would suggest you consider get a poli sci/journalism dual major and work in the press office for a politician. Or learn about business/economists -- you can't imagine how intertwined that field is to politics and how few people have the knowledge needed to cover it. Get something that makes you special and unique.

ok, end of my journalism rant. Can't believe there are this many of us on the board.
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Old 04-19-2005, 08:03 AM   #84
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Hey Jenny, thanks for the questions. There are a lot of us writer/reporter/pr people visiting this thread, aren't there?

I actually went to Kansas State University. I didn't go to school to get into journalism though — I had no idea what I wanted to do. I didn't even decide on journalism until I was entering my junior year. K-State's J school is smaller than others, but they always turn out great people and win awards and stuff. I loved my time there.

That's a great question about bloggers. I think there should be certain criteria. I'm not saying bloggers can't do reporting of their own, but when it comes to press conferences and stuff like that, I think only those working for established publications should get to be involved. My main reason for that is it's a business. I can just see a blogger beating out a reporter from the New York Times to get a quick interview with a political official and then the official leaves. Then you have the Times going home empty handed and getting scooped by a blooger. A similar example recently happened to me. I got to interview Pat Sajak and Vanna White who were both in KC taping Wheel of Fortune. All of us print reporters had to sit at the table with the two. This one woman brought her two daughters so they could interview Pat and Vanna for their junior high school paper! These two girls kept asking dumb questions and took up a lot of time, and of course Pat and Vanna wanted to answer their questions. I know it's cool that they got a big scoop for their paper, but the rest of us didn't have as much time to get questions answered that the general public would be reading. You know what I'm saying?
On the other hand, if people want to start their own blog and do reporting for it, go for it. I probably would do some myself if I had a blog, and I'm sure a lot of freelancers do that as well. I guess my point is just don't get in the way of people who are reporting for a living. (Man, why couldn't I sum it up like that earlier.)

Also, I'm not worried about moving up. In fact, I can't really see myself working for a paper once I leave here. My goal is to do public relations for a nonprofit or work for a magazine.

Where did you grow up?
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Old 04-19-2005, 03:58 PM   #85
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Pat Sajak and Vanna White?????And you were worried about getting a quote for your paper??? You don't get a lot of celebrities there, do you?
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Old 04-19-2005, 04:03 PM   #86
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You're right man, we don't. Still, if you're reading a story on WOF, you'd expect to hear from its "celebrities" now wouldn't you?
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Old 04-20-2005, 12:00 AM   #87
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I used to write for a local newspaper when in high school, covering my school. I started out as the typical blah-blah-blah, then I started getting my opinions in, which were pretty controversial. I got dragged into the principal's office to be told that I had to get approval for my copy--explained to him that I didn't work for him and it was my column and it was clearly an opinon column. I ended up getting fired by the paper after they got pressured--one of my proudest moments.

Then I used to do reviews. I did the oddball events. Refused to do the big events, because I never wanted to leave the concert to make deadline.

I always admired journalists, but I could never leave my opinion out, so I knew I'd make a lousy reporter. Made a great op-ed writer though. Reporters aren't supposed to go through flights of fantasy (even though they often do )

Do you like the interviews best or the actual writing? And since all reporters (big, generalized, fantastic leap here, which is why I am not a reporter) want to be authors, what other writing do you do?

When the shoe is on the other foot, do you like being interviewed? When you are interviewing, how do you get your subjects to go beyond the usual yada yada yada? I knew for some of my subjects when I did interviews, their responses were so standard, I could have done an accurate piece without ever even talking to them.

Side note: When I was in college, I did an article on comics and
interviewed Larry David (creator of Seinfeld) when he was doing standup and long before the rest of the world ever heard of him.
I centered by piece around him, because I thought he had a remarkably bizarre way of looking at the world and was amazingly talented. (Good perception there) If I knew then what I know now, I would have flirted harder. Although he was pretty shy, he was a great interview.

What have you learned as a reporter that surprised you most about people?
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Old 04-20-2005, 08:39 AM   #88
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Wow, great questions. Thanks. I like enjoy both the process of doing interviews and the writing, but I'd have to say I enjoy writing more. It may sound dorky, but it's a lot of fun taking all these quotes and all this information and putting it together for people to digest, so to speak. It's a bit like a puzzle and a painting. How does it fit together best, and then how can it be fun to read? I love it. Interviewing is fun too, when it's a good subject. I love asking tough questions and different questions they may not have expected. Plus, the interview process is fun because it's fun to watch someone talk and tell me everything about something they're passionate about. We all love to tell stories about ourselves and answer questions (just look at how popular these "ask the __" threads are.) People like it when you take interest in who they are by simply listening to them.

As far as other writing, I have done some stuff for www.relevantmagazine.com. I want to do more though. Other than that, I don't really have time to do a lot of extra writing, unfortunately. Along with all the weird hours I work here, I spend a lot of time with my wife, my two sons, our families, friends and at church and with our small group at church. I also play guitar too. I think if I got a job where I did less or no writing, I'd do a lot more freelance work.

As far as being interviewed, I do enjoy it. It's nice for a change. I've really enjoyed this thread and answering all the questions you guys have asked me and getting to know you guys as well. (I wish there were some more nonjournalism related questions though!)

To get people out of their comfort zone or beyond the typical soundbite when I'm interviewing them, I just try to get to know them better outside of the side they're presenting to me. When ever I start an interview, I always try to be fun and light-hearted and ask them how their day is going and crap like that ( I HATE small talk. I'm horrible at it. I'd much rather go up to people and talk about what they're struggling with or whatever. I like the deep, personal stuff. Fortunately, I get to ask those deep questions with my job . . . and on this thread. Otherwise I couldn't do this job. I'm too shy when it comes to small talk.) Usually, if I'm calling a cop about an accident or something (when I do a crime or cops story) it helps me get more information if I treat them like a person, not just a cop . . . if that makes sense.

I would say the thing that I've learned as a reporter that surprised me the most is how willing people are to open up to me. Think about it. I just suddenly enter into their lives, sometimes unannounced or without their permission, and ask them the toughest, deepest most personal questions. I would say more than 90 percent of the time, these people, many of whom wouldn't open up to anyone else otherwise, trust me, a complete stranger, to not only accurately record that time in their life, but then accurately and fairly share it with "the world." It's incredible. It's really humbled me and sometimes even scares the crap out of me.

By the way, I would love to interview Larry David! Sounds like you knew what you were doing.
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Old 04-20-2005, 03:32 PM   #89
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Interesting. I'm more into the interviewing aspect. I love talking to people and I have this very conversational style that makes people want to talk to me -- I think. The writing part is great too, but I admit I have trouble getting a story started. When I start working my lede is usually "WRITE LEDE HERE" and I just go from that point.

Coem -- totally agree on the blogger stuff. That Guckert crap was...crap.

Ah celebrity stories!!! The best was my freshman year. I worked for the student paper and one of the guys did a phone interview with Andrew Dice Clay while I was in the office. He got into a bit of a fight with Clay, who called him a pussy and hung up on him. He was so excited and wanted everyone to hear the tape so he pressed play....and all you heard was the reporter's voice. He screwed up the tape recorder and didn't get ANY of Clay's answers.

Oh, and I'm originally from Detroit. I used to joke that the university couldn't say they had students from 40 different states if they didn't have the J-school.
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Old 04-21-2005, 08:29 AM   #90
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Sharky, I sometimes start my stories out like that too. That's funny about Andrew Dice Clay. Sounds like he's just as nice as you would think he would be.
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