This Community Volunteer Work Announcement Workflow will support you in writing a press release in the following situations:

  • Your company is volunteering for a project in your local community.

When you click Next> on the bottom of this screen, you will enter Publiqly’s Purchase of Business Workflow, which will show you how to write a press release using Publiqly’s five-step workflow structure. Here is a link to Publiqly’s Resource Page where we explain this structure a bit more in outline form.

Picking the Right Workflow
Publiqly’s workflows are tailored to meet your needs in specific situations, so we recommend you choose your workflow with care. Here are a couple of alternative suggestions:

  • If your company has won an award, click here.
  • If your company is sponsoring an event, click here.
  • If your company has made a charitable contribution, click here.

Ok, let’s get started…Click on the Next> button below..

 

STEP 1: PREPARATION

Preparation is everything when writing effective press releases. In this step:

  1. We help you gather all the relevant input from your colleagues and outside sources. These are the Building Blocks and the key part of preparation for creating a press release.
  2. Start by downloading two important documents that you need to write your community involvement announcement.
Building Blocks, How it Works

As you can see, the questionnaire that you just downloaded is split in two sections: Facts and Narrative. These are the two key Building Blocks we distinguish when writing press releases. Understanding the difference between Facts and Narrative is key to using Publiqly’s platform. Here is a link to our resource page where we dig into our Building Blocks some more.

It’s worth noting here, that we color code all Facts in green, and all Narrative in blue. This holds true for both our questionnaires and templates.

The Questionnaire provides you with all the questions you will need to ask your colleagues and other sources. In the Facts section, you find basic questions about your community volunteer work. The Narrative questions are aimed at gathering additional information about your community involvement that you can use to turn your announcement into an actual story with news appeal.

Action Item: Start collecting your building blocks using the questions from the Questionnaire.

Click on the Next> button below to see how Publiqly teaches you to use the Building Blocks to fill in your template and start creating your press release.

 

STEP 2: CONNECTING WITH YOUR AUDIENCE

Writing an effective press release is all about striking the perfect balance between communicating the messages that your company wants to get across and creating a story that appeals to your target audience. So now you have collected all your Building Blocks, it’s time to start focussing on your target audience.

Who is Your Target Audience?

You’re not writing the press release for yourself, you are writing it for someone else. It’s crucial to ask yourself: ‘Who are we writing this for?’. Your target audience could be your local customers, future employees, business partners, potential investors etc. They all require a different approach, so it’s crucial to zoom in on your key audience in the early stages of writing a press release.

Finding a News Hook

If your company is participating in community or volunteer work it is not really news. Companies participate in volunteer work all of the time. But of course this is a great moment to communicate with your customers and show your company’s tie to the local community and remind them of what you bring to the table. To attract their interest, you need to go beyond just announcing the volunteer work, and do something surprising or interesting to mark the occasion. Here are a couple of suggestions:

  • Look at Your Marketing Department.  Selling a product is a completely different thing than selling a story to journalists and influencers. In this case it’s good to talk to your marketing colleagues. What can we tell our customers about our company that they might not already know that can be told through a volunteering press announcement? Perhaps our volunteering will highlight a special product or service we sell. Not to diminish the value of charity work, but think of this announcement as a marketing stunt.
  • Names Make News. Building on the previous news hook, the story might also be brought to life by the presence of your company CEO, a local celebrity or a politician such as the Mayor or Governor at your volunteering event.

Action Item: Choose a viable News Hook now and make sure that hook will resonate with your Target Audience.

Be sure to take a look at Publiqly’s 10 Most Powerful News Hooks page here for additional ideas.

 

STEP 3: WRITING THE TOP

In this step, we will show you how to write the Top of the press release: the headline, the 1st paragraph (also known as the lead) and the 2nd paragraph. The Top of your press release is the most important part of your announcement.

Writing the Top
    • The Headline: We recommend writing your headline using the simple structure of Subject, Verb and Object and writing it in present tense. In the case of a community involvement announcement, your company is the Subject, “to volunteer” is the Verb and the location or charity event is the Object. These are all Facts within your building blocks. You can add some Narrative to the tail end of the headline. Here is an example of a community involvement announcement headline from a fictitious company Betsy’s Deli:  
      Betsy’s Deli to Volunteer at San Diego Food Bank to Share Ideas on Food Safety and Hygiene

Action Item: Plug your headline into your template now, following our example above.

    • First Paragraph: This is where you rephrase the headline in the form of a full sentence. Remember press releases are top heavy — lead with the news and don’t bury it.  Here is an example of the first paragraph of Betsy’s Deli community volunteer work:

      Betsy’s Deli, which has been named among the top delis in the U.S., announced today that it will begin a volunteer project at the San Diego Food Bank to highlight food safety and hygiene.

Action Item: Plug Facts into the first green section of your template now. Use your Narrativebuilding blocks to add more storyline to the blue section of the first paragraph.

    • Second Paragraph: The second paragraph is where we offer Facts details that back up the first paragraph, include more features and “bells and whistles” of your new community involvement. But then we quickly introduce some more Narrative and begin to explain why these benefits are important to your customer. Here is an example of the second paragraph of Betsy’s Deli community involvement announcement:

      Betsy’s Deli will offer weekly food safety and hygiene classes, and more than 50 pounds of sandwiches each week to the San Diego Food Bank. The San Diego Food Bank is working hard to recover and gain trust after a food poisoning outbreak last year sickened about a dozen local homeless.

Action Item: Begin plugging in your Facts details followed by some Narrative.

 

STEP 4: WRITING THE BODY

In this step, we help you write the Body of the press release — the third and fourth paragraphs, as well as the Bottom of the press release.

Body: The Body of your announcement will put the news into context and explain how the news fits into the company’s story, how it plays into trends and why readers should care. Here you’ll circle back to the original Narrative you touched on in the headline and first paragraph.

  • Third Paragraph: Quote from your company’s chief executive officer or another high-level executive that backs up the importance of this community involvement announcement. This quote is almost entirely Narrative and is colored blue in the press release. Here’s our example of a fourth paragraph quote from the owner of Betsy’s Deli:
    “Our employees care about our community and love to help whenever they can,” owner Betsy Driver said. “We’re happy to offer food to those less fortunate, and also offer our expertise in food safety and hygiene. “

Action Item: Plug your quote into the third paragraph of your template, which continues the Narrative.

  • Fourth Paragraph: This is where you put the news into context and elaborate on how your volunteer work highlights something at your company. The fourth paragraph is almost entirely Narrative, backs up your first paragraph and answers the question “Why is this news is important?” Here we continue our example of Betsy’s Deli and the fourth paragraph puts it into context:
    Betsy’s Deli is proud to never have had a food safety incident at any of our 250 delis throughout the U.S. in its 10 years in business. This volunteer project highlights the company’s effort to help the local community where it’s been headquartered for a decade, and remind customers of the importance of food safety. San Diego Mayor Stephen Hernandez will be present at the Food Bank this Sunday giving out food to those in need, and reminding citizens of the importance of food safety.

Action Item: Plug your Narrative into the blue section of the fourth paragraph. Remember this is one of the most important paragraphs of your community involvement announcement and should focus on why this news matters.

Bottom: It’s worth noting that many people writing press releases feel they have to jam-pack their release with lots of facts, quotes and extraneous information. Simply put, your announcement needs to be short and sweet and catch a journalist’s eye. If it’s too long it will be ignored. Six paragraphs are all that you need.

  • Fifth Paragraph: The fifth paragraph explains other reasons why the news is important and continues the Narrative and expands the story. The fifth paragraph follows the same line of thinking as the fourth paragraph and expands upon it in more detail. Continuing our example of Betsy’s Deli’s volunteer work, you’ll see some more Narrative about why this announcement matters:
    Betsy’s Deli, which twice a year has its employees take a paid day to spend volunteering, will teach the San Diego Food Back all of the latest food safety techniques for storage, preparation, thawing and cooking.

Action Item: Plug in more Narrative to the fifth paragraph of your template.

  • Sixth Paragraph: This is where you place the final Facts about the volunteer work. Here you may introduce a final detail about the volunteering itself. It’s often a good idea to wrap up this section and the entire press release with a wide and sweeping pithy quote from your main executive that is forward-thinking and reminds them when you’ll be volunteering. This section is green in your downloaded template. Here we wrap up our example of Betsy’s Deli’s volunteer work with some closing facts and a fun quote from our fictitious owner Betsy Driver:
    Betsy’s Deli annually volunteers 300 hours of community service. The company will be at the San Diego Food Bank every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. “We love making the city’s best sandwiches and our customers are the best. So we’re blessed to be able to help people less fortunate,” Driver said. “Please come visit us and help us lend a hand to those less fortunate.”

Action Item: Here you should plug the final paragraph into the bottom green section of your template.

 

 

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