Differences Between a Press Release, Article and a Blog

What is a Press Release?

A press release is a written announcement to the media. It announces scheduled events, promotions, awards, new products and services, sales accomplishments, etc.

Examples of a Press Release:

  • Purchase of new dental equipment, such as a 3D CT scanner.
  • Hiring of a new associate to the practice.
  • Non-for-profit event to be hosted by the dentist.

How to Write a Press Release:

1) Headline:

  • Initial case: Capitalize the first letter of each word, except for words that are less than letters. Example: Chicago Dentist Hires Oral Surgeon and Dental Laboratory Technician.
  • Keywords: Draw people to read the press release by using important keywords related to the subject matter. The best headlines draw people and search engines. Example: Cosmetic Dental Practice Opens in Burr Ridge, IL.

2) Summary/Sub-header:

  • Goal: Encourage people to keep on reading your release. Identify a key feature that is going to draw attention.
  • Length: One paragraph long—two to three sentences.
  • Example: Smiles Cosmetic Dental opened in Burr Ridge, IL on Saturday, May 25th. John Doe, DDS, opened Smiles after 5 years of starting his first practice in Lombard, IL.

3) Body:

  • Place and Date: Start with City, State, (SOURCE) Month Day, Year. Example: Burr Ridge, IL (SMILEHOUND) May 28, 2013.
  • First paragraph: Covers the who, what, when, where, why and how. Besides the headline and summary, this is your last chance to really clarify the news. The rest of the release provides details and supporting information.
  • Supporting paragraphs: Give further explanation, statistics, background, and other details to support the claims from the introduction.
  • Quotes: Mentions from someone within the company or interest gives the press release a human element.
  • Length: News releases are between 300 to 800 words.
  • Related links: At the end of the release, include links to the company website to make the reader’s search for information much easier.
  • Contact Information: Include a name, phone number, email address, and mailing address for the reader’s reference to seek out more information.

4) Writing Rules:

  • Write in third person: Use he/she, him/her, his/hers, it, they, them, their/theirs. If you find yourself using I, we, me, us, my, mine, our, ours, you or yours, you’re not writing in third person.
  • Use active voice: Construct the sentence where the subject “acts.” To compare active and passive voice, active is constructed like “Timmy likes the dentist,” whereas passive is constructed like “The dentist is liked by Timmy.”
  • Proofread to check for grammar: Grammar rules can be reviewed on sites such as grammarly.com or grammarbook.com.  Poor grammar usage could potentially affect your credibility.
  • Do not use all caps: This is a red flag for spam or an advertisement. Using all caps also looks very unprofessional and will most likely be ignored.
  • Clarity and readability: Transparent writing is important so that the reader can understand as much as possible.
  • Hyperlinks: On keywords, a related hyperlink will optimize the release. Readers should not be misled by a link that does not match the keyword.
  • Factual Information: Avoid embellished writing and just stick to the facts.

What is an Article?

An article is a written work via print or online. Articles can feature news, research results, academic analysis or debates.  They can appeal to the general interest, like daily newspapers, or to a niche market, such as dental magazines, etc. The main purpose is to educate the reader.

Examples of an Article:

  • Dentist’s advice on how to prevent gum disease.
  • Information on new technology in dentistry.
  • Comparing and contrasting different teeth whitening options.

How to Write an Article:

1) Headline

  • Keywords: Mention keywords related to the subject matter or hot trends that are newsworthy.
  • Attention-getting: A well-written headline will draw a reader to the article.
  • Style: Written in an abbreviated style—not in a complete sentence. Example: Brushing Teeth Lowers Dental Health Risk

2) Byline

  • Format: Give name and position of the writer.

3) Lead

  • Goal: Sum up the article. The lead sets the tone and draws the reader to keep reading. This is the first paragraph of the article and answers the who, what, where, when, why and how questions.

4) Body

  • Content: Details based off of the lead.
  • Style: Chronological, Cause and Effect, Classification, Compare and Contrast, List, or Question and Answer.
  • Quotes: Mentions from someone within the company or interest gives the press release a human element.

5) Conclusion

  • Style: End with a quote, descriptive scene, a play on the title or a summary statement.

What is a Blog?

Derived from the words “web log,” a blog is an informational site consisting of posts in reverse chronological order. Blogs can be written by a single individual, or by multiple authors. They invite readers to interact with the writer by leaving comments on a post. Blogs vary in purpose—some are personal online diaries whereas some are brand advertising for a company. Authors may choose to include pictures or links to other websites and media.

Examples of a Blog:

  • What you’re on right now!
  • News: HuffingtonPost.com
  • Tabloids: TMZ.com
  • Corporate: WholeFoodsMarket.com/blog
  • There are many others categories depending on the writer, audience, business, etc.

How to Write a Blog:

1) Blog posts can vary in content.

  • Question and Answer: Why is it important to brush your teeth? How often should you brush your teeth? What are the best toothbrush brands?
  • How-To: How to Prevent Gum Disease
  • News: Study on Plaque by University of Michigan Reveals…
  • List: The Top Dental Schools in the United States
  • Review: Pros and Cons of Dental Implants

2) Tips:

  • Consistency: Posts should look the same in format, font and size.
  • Style: Use bullet points, paragraphs, headers, and images to break up your writing and give it variety.
  • Frequency:  Writing new posts depend on the writer. However, to stay fresh and relevant, update as frequently as possible.

Idea Drafting: Pamphlets

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Thinking “Out of the Box”

Creative design and thinking “out of the box” is a key component of dental marketing. Catering to our client’s individual sense of identity, or brand, is one way in which we make our company stand out from the other marketing services. We don’t create templates that “box in” clients or prescribe to them a certain standard.

The drawings below are the first draft of a folding pamphlet. We wanted the look to be sleek, bold, and stimulating to the senses. In other words, not your average advertisement.

Pamphlet Design Page 1

What is a brand?

Looking back to when I first received admitted student packets and from schools, I remember how each school exuded a different brand. One university send a shiny postcard that displayed a graphic with my name in the clouds – showing off the reaches of their technology in a flashy manner; it made you want to be part of their exclusive club.

Another sent a handwritten card discussing one of my admissions essays on the back of a picture of one of the school’s famous gargoyles. This school was smaller and offered a more personalized experience, drawing upon older senses of prestige more so than new-fangled technology.

Our job is to create the same type of “brand” for dental practices. So, before we even begin to work with a client, we have to think about what type of brand will appeal not only to a doctor’s practice, but to the type of clients that practice might attract.

Pamphlet Design Page 2

Branding by design

The pamphlet at right is designed to appeal to those who like a visual and sensory experience. You might imagine their office stylized with bold colors and modern decorations. For their clients, the potential discomforts of going to the dentist are mitigated by the experience of being treated specially. Products and services don’t inherently market themselves, people sell products, and every person has a unique identity.

What we do is make sure that information is not simply conveyed, but that the package itself transcends what is in writing. Dental marketing is all about the brand, and every brand needs to be “out of the box.” 

What is your practice’s brand?

 

Tips for Effective Dental Marketing with Social Media

small social mediaBeing active on social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter is a great way to build relationships with current and prospective patients. Take a look at these 3 important tips for enhancing the image of your practice with social media.

Educate Your Patients

I am a firm believer that social media is not the place to advertise your practice as you traditionally would in a flyer or mailer. Provide your followers with value, such as helpful dental tips and industry news. If your online community doesn’t believe they are receiving value from your page, they will leave and find someone else who will.

Ask questions and encourage feedback! Use these platforms to build a more personal relationship with your patients. When your online community thinks highly of your practice, word of mouth can be an extremely beneficial dental marketing tactic for your practice.

Updates & Promotions

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Does your practice have a special deal or monthly promotion? Be sure to let your patients on social media know about it (value!). Attract your leads with offers that are only available online to encourage patients to find your practice on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. It is also a good idea to let your online communities know about updates around the office, which makes patients feel more engaged with your practice.

Engage Your Audience

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When it comes to social media, there are two major things you want to accomplish: engage and get people involved. Ask trivia questions, offer contests or sweepstakes, and incorporate some fun quotes and photos that your audience can share with friends and family.

You might be surprised by how much you can learn about your patients and your business through sites such as Facebook and Twitter. When your patients contact you through your social media pages, make sure you answer them. Think of your social pages as an extension or your company. Customer service is very important in order to gain and retain patients!