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74 The PCB Magazine • April 2017 Since leaving my corporate digs a year ago and launching my "new wonderful [1] ," I've had the pleasure to evaluate, enjoy and envy in- sightful communications by some of the world's best technology companies. From new appoint- ments and facilities, to recent product innova- tions and event announcements, I admire the professionalism and relevance of these news re- leases that populate my inbox. Yet, for every well-crafted news release, there seems to be an avalanche of announce- ments that are confusing, grammatically gross, and less than awe inspiring. It's alarming that companies with the absolute best intentions to inform, arouse curiosity, and excite are inadver- tently casting a dark shadow on how their brand is being perceived by their targeted readership. The news release is well underestimated in importance. In this digital world where content is king [2] , a news release is deemed "old school" or little more than a device to support search engine optimization (SEO). Strategic message development, thoughtful composition, and op- timizing the overall benefits of a news release are often relegated to a quick and dirty "just get 'er done" document. If you've read this far, I expect you're feel- ing more than a little guilty. Me too! Besides my Jewish heritage that innately predisposes me to guilt, I admit to being a party to more than one nasty news release. The following is a partial listing of best practices to rid us of the nasties. Blast Off • News Release 101—The Basics: Hire professionals to write your news releases. They possess the knowledge and passion—yes, pas- sion—to favorably showcase your company. If this is not deemed feasible, the primary author should make it a priority to understand and learn how to execute the Five Ws [3] . This in- cludes the necessity to reference sources. One of the best investments I ever made was purchas- ing an Associated Press (AP) Style Book for my first undergraduate journalism course. The AP and other credible style guides are reissued regularly Nasty News Releases LAUNCH LETTERS by Barry Lee Cohen LAUNCH COMMUNICATIONS

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