I hope you find my writing and business tips and observations useful. My business and blog are dedicated to helping businesses communicate clearly and reach their potential. Read, subscribe to my newsletter, enjoy!Tash

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A great idea but poorly implemented

Smiling woman on the phone

great service makes us smile

Let me tell you a story of a great idea from a service provider…

Great service…

Today, I received a SMS from my daughter’s school telling me (and other parents on the list) that the kids  had arrived safely at camp.

I think it’s a great idea to give feedback like that; it builds trust and loyalty, reduces parental concern and therefore probably means fewer calls to the school to check all is good.

Many similar activities could do this same thing quite inexpensively. For me, it’s something like an emailed ‘your annual report has gone to the printer’ or ‘I submitted that guest blog post for you.’

Can you think of a way to use this idea in your business?

but details count.

The problem with today’s message, however, is that my daughter left yesterday so I would have hoped they arrived at camp about 24 hours before I got the safely arrived message.

Yesterday, the SMS was a great idea.

Today, not so much. At best, it makes them look a bit silly or slack. At worst, it worries parents about why it took 24 hours longer than expected to arrive at camp!

As they say in comedy, timing is everything!

* Image courtesy of 123RF

Timing a media release

A media release is generally an announcement of something you consider newsworthy enough the media may tell your story. So when do you tell the media?

There is no simple answer, but there are some guidelines depending on what type of release you are sending out.

If your release is announcing something that has happened (e.g. “we won an award”)

  • send it out ASAP

If your release is about an upcoming event (e.g. “our school fete is on the 9th May”)

  • don’t send it until you know all the important facts (especially dates, times and place, or the name, address and URL of a new business)
  • send it early enough for the media to use it. For example, if the local paper is printed on Tuesday don’t send the release on the Tuesday afternoon immediately before the event. Note that some media outlets have a much longer lead time than others – some magazines need things months in advance. Likewise, consider their time requirements before sending it too early – a local paper or website doesn’t need to know about a small event 3 months in advance, they’ll just forget it if you tell them too soon!
  • include a release date. That is, at the top of the media release, write “Not to be released until 1 June 2008” or similar so the media know it is advance warning

In addition, if your release is about the launch of a new website

  • don’t send the release until there is something on the website! Sending the media to  ‘coming soon’ page won’t impress them and it is less likely that they will publish your story. The site doesn’t have to be complete, but have a welcome page that introduces the business/site, some contact details and has a look that complements the final look – this is much more professional and enticing. If the site is near completion, you may even send the media a link that shows them what the site will look like even if it isn’t yet available at the final URL

If your release isn’t time critical, then you can send it at any time of course! But I would question its newsworthiness if it really has no time frame attached..

The timing doesn’t have to be hard – just use a little common sense really.

Happy writing!