So why are you making it so tough for them to find you?
For the umpteenth time … last night I received a “Press Release” from a group forming an EcoVillage. This is great news! An awesome undertaking! A cause for celebration!
No where in the “Press Release” did it contain any contact information. Only at the very end — the very last line — does it direct people to the group’s website.
Really? No name, no phone number, no email address …? A project like cohousing which depends so much on social interaction has no way for people to interact?
The more you make people jump through hoops to find you the more likely you are to miss the very folks who could be your neighbors — the very ones who could save you from financial ruin by joining you.
The media receive hundreds if not thousands of requests for its attention. Making it easy for media folks to contact you should be your number one priority. Making it easy for future neighbors to find you is a also a number one priority.
November 3, 2015, I wrote a piece called The Top 5 All-Time Mistakes in Outreach Promotion. (Scroll down to the newsletter for 11/3/15.) In the piece I point out information that groups omit that make it hard for folks to figure out how to get in touch. One of my colleagues wrote to me saying that this piece was awfully basic. She thought what I wrote didn’t give people enough credit for knowing to include contact info. And yet … here we are today, press release in hand with no contact info except a website. Sadly, this is not unusual.
Meanwhile, in terms of creating a Press Release … there are rules to follow. Surely common sense dictates that ANY written solicitation contain contact information:
A Press Release contains information laid out in a standard progression:
1. Contact info at the top
2. A Headline that grabs attention
3. A secondary sub-line if needed that expands on the Headline
4. Who, what, where, when, why captured in the Headline, secondary sub line or in the 1st paragraph of the content.
5. Three to five paragraphs of content keeping the Press Release to one page if possible.
6. Include quotable information that the media can use e.g.:
“This will be the very first Passive House community built in our area that is also affordable for teachers, librarians, social workers and other middle income folks. The resulting savings on energy costs will help reduce monthly costs for housing putting more money into our local economy.”
7. A very precise Call To Action: attend this event, call for interview, etc.
8. Attached photos or visuals or directions to where media they can download the same e.g. dropbox, website.
9. Always include a short paragraph with descriptive info about who YOU are — make it obvious.
10. Always, always, always end Press Releases with hashtags: ### This indicates to the reader that this is THE END.
If you do not have a media maven in your group, if you can’t afford to hire one … then there are a ZILLION websites that can easily show you how to construct a Press Release. My favorite go-to site is HubSpot. Here is just one of their tutorialson creating a Press Release which also includes an example. Just follow the script.
Another cool favorite: Fast Company's "How To Write a Press Release That Doesn't Completely Suck."
Be smart and create a template or use one of HubSpot’s or another website'sfree templates so that you always have the standard information already created. Then, you’re just filling in the blanks.
Here's another head's up: learn the difference between a Media Advisory and a Press Release. They ARE different!
Both for groups creating their communities and for established communities in the ongoing task of resales … contact with the prospective buyer is absolutely key. Whether the written information is for a media person, a political person, or a possible new neighbor … help him, help her, help yourselves. Make this easy to do.
The Cohousing Toolbox
Sometimes you just need TOOLS to help you on your way. Whether you are a newly forming group or a well established community, here's some stuff designed to grease the skids of cohousing.
No more guilt! Tamara Bowman and Don Crowther show you how you can find FREE legal pictures for your websites, blogs and other media.
You got FREE pictures above. Why not some free advice on editing copy?
Eddie Shleyner, writing for HubSpot, says: "Editing copy boils down to two key things: recognizing weaknesses and knowing how to fix them. It’s a critical part of the writing process and yet, one that’s all too often overlooked. After all, if you don’t know that there’s an issue to begin with, how can you fix it?"
Happily, Shleyner, gives us his "10 Simple Edits That'll Instantly Improve Any Piece of Writing". If you are just starting out in your cohousing adventure writing press releases, web pages, blog posts, etc. you're gonna love this article. And for old timers it's a quick refresher.
Be sure to download HubSpot's THE MARKETER'S POCKET GUIDE TO WRITING WELL. It's FREE!
Do you have a tool to share? Send your thoughts, comments and suggestions toAnn. Include contact information. We'll print suggestions in a future newsletter!
Saturday, February 20, 2016 come out for the Visitor Day at Heathcote Community! Freeland, Maryland.
Wednesday, March 2, 2016 7-8:30 p.m. DC Home Buyer Seminar
Presented by GPN Title, Long & Foster, 1st Portfolio
Saturday, March 5, 2016, tour Takoma Village Cohousing in Washington, DC. Sign up via Washington DC Area Meetup.
Saturday, April 16, 2016 the Living Well, Aging Well Summit will be held at the Fairfax County Government Center from 9am-3pm. The mission of the summit is to collaborate, present knowledge and provide a forum for individuals, family members, general community members and industry professionals to explore multiple aspects of living and aging well.
The Summit will feature multiple opportunities to learn and grow:
Please stay tuned for more information about how to register!
Heathcote Community, a 50-year old intentional community and permaculture demonstration farm, is seeking proposals from families or groups who would like to be Associate Members of Heathcote and rent Heathcote’s farmhouse for a year.
You know how when it's going to snow people go to the store and buy milk, bread and eggs?
Are they all making french toast? (quickmeme.com)
Find out how cohousers spent the Blizzard of 2016 by visiting this photo array on the Mid Atlantic Cohousing website. We'll be adding photos and text as they become available so check back. With 36" of snow on the ground the folks at Catoctin Creek Village in Lovettsville, Virginia just got out of their front doors three days after the storm finished. They promised pictures ...
Saturday, April 30, 2016 Have you registered for the unique opportunity to promote your community along with others around the country through the National Cohousing Open House Day ?
This will be a great way to strengthen the bonds within and between communities while lengthening your waiting lists and filling openings. It will help generate new interest nationwide as well, thus more communities can emerge over time. Sign up using this form.
Aging Better Together: May 20-21, 2016Salt Lake City, UtahDiscover how you can live a powerful purposeful life in cohousing!The conference holds the keys to creating a highly functioning senior friendly cohousing community. You will learn how to get started, meet the people who can help make it happen, and discover best practices from others who have already made the journey.
There is something for everyone - those exploring the idea, newly forming groups or existing communities with aging members.
Do you have an announcement? Send your info to Ann using the standard
5-Ws: Who, What, Where, When, Why + contact info!
The Murphy Bed goes vertical with the Espace Loggia -- it's a bed that is raised to the ceiling rather than tucked in a wall. It comes in twin and queen sizes. Lots of variety.
"Just two people are needed to transform the MK1 table in mere seconds. And you don't have to worry about hunting down inserts, sliding panels, or fumbling with some lock that long ago jammed shut. You will probably need to find another spot for TV remotes and empty Doritos bags before you add this to your living room set, though. Oh, and just over $1,300 to pay for it. [Duffy London via Notcot]"
Ukrainian designer Julia Kononenko is the creator of this transforming sofa. It's so simple it's a DIY project for any seating space. According to Kononenko: "In our apartments we are always in the confrontation with furniture for the living space. It is so important, that the Interior items possess little space, are multi-functional and small in size. I created a sofa for the living room, that can easily be transformed into a small dining-table with 6 padded stools. In terms of ergonomics it gives maximum comfort and convenience to the user. While transforming the sofa, the seat turns into six padded stools, and the backrest - into a countertop.
From one small sofa, we can get a dining-table for 6 persones.
Transformation furniture - ideal for limited space."
It's a little WEIRD ... it's a little BIZARRE ... it's a ...
Nail-It Finger Saver
No more "Owwww!" For cohousers and DIY'ers everywhere.
Holds the nail in position while keeping your fingers out of harm’s way.
Suits most nail sizes.
Made of: Plastic
Wanna have a contest? What fun contests about "life in cohousing" would you like to see? Send your suggestions to: Ann Zabaldo. Or you can comment on our blog. Open to all clean & green, natural, organic, cage & steroid-free contests ...
You can leave comments about blog postings or all our published work below. Newsletters are posted to the the web site two days after being emailed to subscribers. Or you can send your comments to ANN. She reads them all! While at the website, cruise around earlier blog posts and other parts of the website. Look for FREE downloads!
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Ann Zabaldo is a passionate promoter of cohousing. She was on the develoment team for Eastern Village in Silver Spring, MD and Takoma Village in Washington, DC where she lives. She serves on the Board for MAC.
See cool blog for Emerson Commons.