Newsletter: Q&A in communications

So, you’ve honed the pitch, that 3-4 sentence definition of what your company or organisation is, and what you stand for. But what happens after the press release or media announcement is sent out – if the journalist calls and wants to know more? What will they ask, and how will you respond beyond the pitch?

This is where the ‘Q&A’ comes into play in communications – when you think of all the questions that you might get asked and how you might answer them to create a news story. Of course, you may not think of every question, and the answers you could provide won’t be word-for-word. But preparing a Q&A provides you with the best opportunity to provide the answers that will help inform the journalist’s audience (and other important audiences too, such as customers and investors).

At NewzEngine we believe in the saying ‘eat your own dogfood’ so here’s the Q&A we’ve prepared for our platform.

What does your company do?

NewzEngine enables companies and organisations to create and send news releases to media.

Describe your customer today?

Our target audience is SMEs and Not-for-Profit groups where there is currently no dedicated communications resource. We also think people standing for public office would see this as a way to get their media announcement out to their local communities.

Who will your customers be in three years?

We are looking to export this public relations service to Australia, Pacific Islands, South East Asia and North America.

What is the primary problem you are solving?

Enabling organisations with no dedicated communications expertise to get their message out to a wider audience via a platform for distributing media announcements.

 Why has no one solved it before?

News releases are a core part of traditional Public Relations’ activities. As professional communications services are traditionally bespoke and high-touch, they can be expensive and therefore used primarily by larger and more well-resourced organisations.

Are you solving problems for your industry, for society, the world?

NewzEngine is providing a platform for new voices to be seen and heard in business, politics and other important sectors, by enabling a cost-effective way to reach credible media.

Who are your competitors?

We think we’re quite unique in providing a transparent, cost-effective communications service that enables people with no public relations experience to create and send press releases to media in their chosen geographical area and/or sector.

What are the main reasons why people will use your product over a competitor?

It’s the most cost-effective in terms of creating and sending press releases and it provides an extensive how-to guide to creating media announcements, which we don’t believe currently exists in the same way on other sites.

Why did you start the company?

We were asked by people and organisations how to send out media releases – they had no idea where to begin, what to say and who to send it to.

Why are you uniquely qualified to start it?

NewzEngine is founded by Selwyn Manning and Sarah Putt, who between them have over 40 years media and communications’ experience. Selwyn’s career includes roles as a journalist, political press secretary and news media specialist. Sarah has worked as a journalist, public relations specialist and technology commentator.

 

NewzEngine Newsletter: The power of news aggregators

As a NewzEngine subscriber every release or speech you send via our platform is automatically distributed to some of the most powerful news aggregators in the world. We believe this access provides our customers with significant value. Here’s a short Q&A about this service.

What do news aggregators do?

News aggregators collect and distribute information to tens of millions of subscribers globally.

Why do people subscribe to news aggregators?

To receive real-time data directly from its source. Subscribers may be active investors required to keep up with economic and social changes occurring in certain markets around the world. Or they may be members of the media interested in a particular sector and keen to receive as much information, from as many different sources, as possible.

Why are press releases of interest to people?

As the media itself becomes more fragmented, the value of raw data – that is, announcements made directly from companies and organisations – increases because people can no longer just rely on traditional information providers. This means that your message is delivered undiluted to potential customers, partners, investors and commentators.

What news aggregators will NewzEngine send my release to?

  • MIL-OSI, New Zealand-based news publisher/syndicator. Then on to:
  • DowJones Factiva, which has a global financial/business focus,
  • LexisNexis, which sends to the global legal sector,
  • Acquire Media/NewsCycle, whose clients are members of the New York and London stock exchanges,
  • Contify, which sends to American aggregators GALE, NewsBank US, and also to Comtex news network, and Thomson Reuters,
  • Knowledge Basket, which covers New Zealand tertiary education providers and libraries.

How come NewzEngine is able to send to these services?

NewzEngine’s access to world-leading news aggregators is through a New Zealand-based syndicator, the MIL-OSI Network, which publishes over 35,000 global English language items per month via sites that include LiveNews (NZ), Foreign Affairs (Asia/Pacific/USA/EU), and NewsKitchen (EU/RU/Baltics).

NewzEngine Newsletter: 5 tips for brainstorming ideas


The concept of the genius is an incredibly compelling and romantic idea. So much talent invested in a single, solitary human being. But do you really think William Shakespeare came up with all those great lines himself? That Steve Jobs single-handedly built Apple?

Posterity has awarded them the credit, but Shakespeare wrote for the best actors of his day, and Jobs ran a company that attracted some of the smartest people in tech. Also, they both lived and worked in communities that at the time were experiencing an enormous surge in creativity – England during the Renaissance and the early days of Silicon Valley.

If you don’t care who gets the credit, then getting into the habit of collectively coming up with new ideas can help propel your company’s success. And this is particularly the case when it comes to content. Press release headlines, blog topics, subjects to write about. It shouldn’t only be the person in charge of marketing who has come up with these.

Sure, the writing, editing, proofreading, and sign-off – someone needs to take ownership of the process. But the best ideas for topics and headlines can come out of a session where a group of people are sitting around shouting words at someone furiously writing them up on a white board.

Nothing too sacred, nothing too stupid, whatever comes to mind. Here are 5 things to make a brainstorming session worthwhile:

  1. Be clear about what you are brainstorming for. Just like anything in marketing and communications, the result is only as good as the brief. If that isn’t clear, then you are wasting your time.
  2. Everyone comes prepared with a list of ideas, which has taken five minutes to compile (don’t overthink it) to get the session started
  3. For face-to-face sessions have a whiteboard on hand and a scribe standing, marker at hand, ready to write up the ideas voiced in the room.
  4. There are no dumb ideas, so be respectful of everyone’s contribution. But have a little fun too, because the best brainstorming sessions, like the best conversations, involve laughter.
  5. The optimum result is usually derived from a number of sources. You are probably onto a winning idea when no one can figure out who gets the credit for it.

Go forth and brainstorm!