Friday, April 11, 2014

10 Style Guides for Writers, Authors and Editors

Style Guides for Writers, Authors and Editors

Style guides provide writers and non-writers with a manual of rules for writing, formatting and creating documents. They govern consistency and uniformity. Many of us have used a style guide in school, such as APA Style, MLA Style or Chicago Manual of Style, to format and cite sources for a thesis, dissertation or research paper. You may have used a style guide when you composed an article for a journal, magazine or website. Some of us who copy edit or proofread for publishers use either a common style guide or the publisher's in-house style to ensure all written materials are consistent in substance and structure.

Every style guide conforms to different sets of rules, based on the field of study, trade profession, academic organization, or type of document. A few common rules that you will find in a style guide are how to use punctuation, quotations, capitalization, abbreviations, and spelling. A style guide will also have rules for citing and referencing sources, using numbers, adding tables and charts, setting up headers, and laying out the page.

Here is a nearly complete list of popular style guides used in different professions and industries. How do you know if you need a style guide? It depends on what you are writing and for whom you're writing. If you are writing a paper for school, your teacher will tell you which style to use. If you are writing an article or news piece, your publisher or editor will tell you which style to follow. If you are writing an online article and not a print article, then ask the editor as to style preference. If you are writing and publishing your own content, you can decide if you want to follow a style guide or not.

The Associated Press Stylebook
Style Guide for News Writing and Reporting

The Associated Press Stylebook
Journalists, reporters, PR writers and others who write for public media follow the style rules set forth in the Associated Press Stylebook. The Associated Press Style, known simply as AP style, governs congruity, clarity and conciseness in writing. Renamed in 2012 to The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law, it's still referred to as the AP Stylebook.

First published in 1953, AP Style was revised and updated into a more useful reference guide in 1977. Since that time the Associated Press has sold more than two million copies, making it one of the most widely-used style guides. Embracing 21st century technology, you can now find the AP Stylebook in digital versions (including an iPad app) which offer style guidelines for the new media.To remain current and relevant, AP style regularly incorporates new styles to handle words and phrases related to social media, such as "texting" and "podcast."

Who uses AP Style? The simple answer is anyone working in or writing for the news industry. Newspaper journalists, reporters, editors, broadcasters, magazine publishers, public relations firms, and other media outlets have adopted AP Style as the industry standard. AP Style provides strict rules for handling grammar, punctuation, and the basics of news reporting. You can also find rules on capitalizing, spelling, numbering, and abbreviating.

The book, packed with over 400 pages of information, is divided into several sections. Each section covers an area of style such as punctuation or editing.

 Author: Associated Press
 Publisher: Associated Press
 ISBN-10: 0917360567
 ISBN-13: 978-0917360565
 Formats: Spiral-bound | Online
 Website: [ Click Here ]

The Yahoo! Style Guide
Style Guide for Online Writing/SEO Writing

The Yahoo! Style Guide
The Yahoo! Style Guide is a style guide for the "digital world," establishing rules for writing online content aimed at an international audience. It addresses the fundamentals of writing style, English grammar, punctuation, and writing and publishing online content.

Yahoo! executive editors explore: 1) the ins and outs of basic writing and editing for web-based readers; 2) approaches for improving copy; 3) understanding basic Web/HTML codes; 4) complying with Internet copyright law; 5) optimizing SEO-friendly content; 6) improving audience accessibility; and lots more. The Guide offers plenty of before-and-after examples on how to rid copy of embarrassing errors. The editors have arranged the chapters chronologically from less technical (basic English/SEO writing) to more technical styles (understanding HTML codes and characters).

 Author: Chris Barr
 Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
 Formats: Paperback | eBook | Online
 Website: [ Click Here ]

The New York Times Manual of Style
Style Guide for Journalism and Newspaper Writing

The New York Times Manual of Style
The New York Times Manual of Style is the official style guide of The New York Times newspaper and news organization. Originally published in 1950, the editors last revised it in 1999 to include guidelines for writing online content. Although this Guide is intended for NY Times journalists, it is widely used by writers in other fields, particularly writers in news media. A substantial amount of the information is not specific to The NY Times nor the state of New York.

The New York Times Manual of Style, arranged in the same way as a dictionary, includes rules for using proper English mechanics (such as hyphenations, punctuation, abbreviations, and capitalization). It also includes an extensive collection of common style and usage rules, including: 1) city names, 2) compound sentences, 3) numbers, and 4) using correct language alternatives. It also features distinct style changes and exemptions for headline writers.

Anyone who desires to write for a news organization, news website or newspaper will want this book, as its style is purposeful and multinational.

 Authors: Allan M. Siegal & William G. Connolly
 Publisher: Three Rivers Press
 ISBN-10: 081296389X
 ISBN-13: 978-0812963892
 Formats: Hardcover | Paperback | Online
 Website: [ Click Here ]

Chicago Manual of Style
Style Guide for Writers, Editors and Publishers

Chicago Manual of Style
The Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS) is one of the most popular and widely-respected style guides for writing and citing sources used in publishing. CMOS tackles the elements of writing and editing, from English grammar and style usage, to creating and publishing print and digital documents.

CMOS is published both in hardcover and online. The web-based version lets you search the Guide's text in the newest and previous editions. The new edition offers tools for editors, a citation overview, and an invaluable searchable Q&A section, where editors of the Univ. of Chicago Press respond to readers' style concerns. The online edition requires a paid subscription; however, you can access the Q&A section for free. CMOS is commonly used by academic publishers, high school and university professors, as well as industry trade editors and writers.

Many social science periodicals and historical journals use Chicago Style. The American Anthropological Association and the Organization of American Historians have adopted Chicago style as their main style of choice. Chicago Style provides a handful of formats specific for citing sources and formatting papers. For example, CMOS allows both in-text citations or footnotes/endnotes.

Recent additions and updates include guidelines for handling electronic publications, proofreading digital content, and referencing online materials.

 Author: University of Chicago Press Staff
 Publisher: University Of Chicago Press
 ISBN-10: 0226104206
 ISBN-13: 978-0226104201
 Formats: Hardcover | Paperback | eBook | Online
 Website: [ Click Here ]

APA Style Manual
Style Guide for Social Sciences and Psychology

APA Style Manual
Most college students who are enrolled in a psychology class use APA Style for writing academic papers such as a thesis paper, dissertation or research paper. APA Style is maintained by the American Psychological Association (APA), the biggest and most-respected scientific and professional association of psychologists in the U.S.

APA Style is a collection of style and usage rules to improve readability and clarity in all areas of social sciences and psychology. The APA Style Publication Manual includes rules for researching and writing, such as: 1) specifying source materials; 2) creating tables or figures of illustration; 3) avoiding plagiarism, and 4) citing sources (like journals, newspapers, websites, and video). The Manual helps you to create a paper that communicates your information strongly and concisely.

 Author: American Psychological Association
 Publisher: American Psychological Association
 ISBN-10: 1433805618
 ISBN-13: 978-1433805615
 Formats: Hardcover | Paperback | Online
 Website: [ Click Here ]

MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers
Style Guide for Writers, Editors and Publishers

MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers
MLA Style sets the standard for citing sources in both printed and digital works. The Modern Language Association is composed of language and literature scholars who provide a consistent method for quoting and referencing text from authors and creators of original works. In contrast to other styles for citing sources, such as APA style, MLA style allows for parenthetical citations in the text, followed by an alphabetical list of cited works at the end of the text.

The MLA Style Guide is an excellent resource for undergraduate and graduate students, as well as professional writers and journalists who need a better way to avoid plagiarism and give proper credit to the originator of the work. MLA style shows you how to cite sources for all types of print and digital periodicals, as well as many types of multimedia such as film, TV, radio, and videos. The Guide also recommends typeface, font size, spacing, page numbering, and margin sizes.

Colleges and universities in the United States, Canada, and international countries expect literature and research papers to adhere to MLA style when acknowledging sources. Many scholarly publications in humanities and literature also require authors to use MLA style when citing sources.

The Style Guide is periodically updated to provide formatting rules for new mediums, including Tweets, multimedia, videos and eBooks. Current editions are available online or in print.

 Author: Modern Language Association
 Publisher: Modern Language Association of America
 ISBN-10: 1603290249
 ISBN-13: 978-1603290241
 Formats: Paperback | Online
 Website: [ Click Here ]

The Christian Writer's Manual of Style
Style Guide for Christian and Religion Writers

The Christian Writer's Manual of Style
The Christian Writer's Manual of Style is a style guide for writers of religious materials, but writers in different genres can use it to find questions about common style and usage. Professional writers and editors from different faiths will find the Manual useful. The Manual is written by Robert Hudson, a senior editor-at-large at Zondervan, a well-known Christian book publisher.

The new version is expanded and updated. It includes sections on punctuation and spelling, grammar, syntax, writing style, and so forth. Importantly, the Manual explains how to cite biblical verses, using proper abbreviations. For example, the verse "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth," (Gen. 1:1) is written in parentheses with the book of Genesis abbreviated correctly. A colon always separates the chapter from the verse number. The Manual also has an excellent section on using proper capitalization and hyphenating religious terms.

The Manual has a section on British English, which is different from standard American English. It provides definitions of many biblical and religious terms from the world's major religions, including Judaism, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism. Since people come from different countries and cultures, the Manual includes a section on ethnic sensitivities.

The Christian Writer's Manual of Style covers specific stylistic rules for writing religious articles, blogs, essays, papers, and books. It is a helpful resource that will answer almost any question about English usage and style. The book is recommended for college students and young professionals who are just beginning their careers in journalism.

 Author: Robert Hudson
 Publisher: Zondervan
 ISBN-10: 0310487714
 ISBN-13: 978-0310487715
 Formats: Paperback | eBook
 Website: [ Click Here ]

The Economist Style Guide
Style Guide for Finance and Business Writing

The Economist Style Guide
The Economist Style Guide is based on the house style used by the writers and staff of The Economist newspaper and website. It was developed by John Grimond, a long-time foreign editor of the newspaper. The Guide is designed to teach both writers and readers how to write clearly and succinctly, in a style called plain English.

The latest edition is divided into three parts. The first part explores common errors that writers make as it relates to cliche usage, punctuation, and grammar. This section creates a solid foundation for understanding basic grammar and writing.

The second part of the Guide explores some of the differences between British and American English. The third section has valuable reference information, addressing many things from business equations and stock market symbols to chemical elements, United States presidents and British chancellors. New supplements include the Greek alphabet, numerical symbols, the winter Olympic games, and the planetary system. The Economist Style Guide is an indispensable book for anyone who writes articles, reports, books, and research papers.

 Author: Economist
 Publisher: Economist Books
 ISBN-10: 1846686067
 ISBN-13: 978-1846686061
 Formats: Hardcover | Paperback | Online
 Website: [ Click Here ]

The Canadian Press Stylebook
Style Guide for News Writers and Journalists

The Canadian Press Stylebook
The Canadian Press Stylebook is the official style manual used by reporters and news journalists at Canada's national news organization to ensure that all stories conform to the same style of writing. The Stylebook is also widely used by corporate communicators, freelance writers, college students and graduates, and publishers and editors.

Since its first edition in 1940, The Canadian Press Stylebook has emerged as the handbook for many Canadians who work with written communications to guarantee correctness and congruity in their writing. The newest edition has been completely revised. It includes: 1) in-depth principles of capitalization, reference marks, acronyms and other phrasing and editing issues; 2) writing and creating content online; 3) a collection of correct spellings of cities and countries worldwide; 4) current facts on revisions to Canada's laws on political elections; and 5) writing and editing for broadcast media.

The Canadian Press Stylebook is the most current and comprehensive style and writing guide provided for journalists in Canada.

 Author: Patti Tasko
 Publisher: The Canadian Press
 ISBN-10: 0920009468
 ISBN-13: 978-0920009468
 Formats: Paperback | Online
 Website: [ Click Here ]

Wikipedia:Manual of Style
Style Giude for Writing Wiki-Articles

Wikipedia:Manual of Style
Wikipedia:Manual of Style (often shortened as MoS or MOS) is a style guide created by the Wikipedia community to help writers and editors compose and publish articles with consistency and uniformity in writing. The objective is to improve the readability of digital reference materials and to make them more user-friendly.

MOS is a comprehensive Wiki-style document (contained on one webpage), offering an impressive collection of information about composing Wiki-style encyclopedia articles. You can access MOS for free at This page addresses specific topics on style usage (such as article titles, abbreviations and punctuation), and offers rules for mathematical symbols, units of measurement, and abbreviating months and seasons.

A valuable and convenient feature of Wikipedia is the many links added to the main text of each article. Each link underscores relevant terms which link to other Wiki-pages to help readers discover additional information. Wikipedia writers construct these links manually based on Wikipedia's Manual of Style, which governs how to format text and links, and how to link text to related materials.

CSE Style Guide: The Manual of Scientific Style
Style Guide for Scientists and Researchers

CSE Style Guide: The Manual of Scientific Style
Originally known as the CBE (Council of Biology Editors), the CSE Style Guide (published by the Council of Science Editors) is a style guide for citing and referencing documentation in scientific research for publishing. The CSE Manual lists citation referencing for both British and American scholarly work, which makes the CSE relevant to work published in the United States and abroad. However, this does not mean every scientific discipline uses the CSE Manual. The general consensus is that the Manual is not the most user-friendly.

The CSE Manual is divided into four separate sections, which are presented in thirty-two chapters. Sections one and four address publishing issues, including components of policy, preparation and style. Section two addresses issues of writing style such as writing complete sentences and paragraphing.

The CSE citation format is useful to writers working in the fields of zoology, plant, physics, microbial, medicine, genetics and chemistry science. Although professionals disagree about which source is better to use for citing and referencing sources--the AMA Manual of Style or the CSE Manual--most medical professionals prefer the AMA Manual.

 Author: Council of Science Editors
 Publisher: Council of Science Editors
 ISBN-10: 097796650X
 ISBN-13: 978-0920009468
 Formats: 978-0977966509
 Website: [ Click Here ]

AMA Manual of Style
Style Guide for Writers, Authors and Editors

AMA Manual of Style
The AMA Manual of Style provides a standard style for citing sources within scholarly publishing of medicine. Similar to other popular style guides (e.g., the Chicago Manual of Style, the AP Style Guide), the AMA Style provides a standardized but flexible set of principles about formats, constructs, and the presentation of scholarly medical articles.

Created by the editors of JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) and the editors of Archives Journal, the AMA Manual is published by Oxford University Press. Print versions are available at most major booksellers. An online version is available, replete with frequent updates on definitions, methods of citation, word usage, and numbers.

The AMA Manual of Style conveys the same benefits of using other similar style guides in that it helps individuals present vast quantities of objective/subjective information and data. The AMA Manual of Style provides writers of scholarly medical texts with a uniform system of preparing articles for publication. It covers style, terminology, and technical information.

Using the AMA Manual of Style ensures that citing and formatting sources are consistent, and that presenting data is clear, congruent, and concise. Such rules on format prevent one scholarly work from presenting statistical findings in one format while another scholarly work presents similar findings in a different format. Uniformity of data allows for a more empirical and systematic comparison of separate collections of data occurring in different works, as the outlines of these collections will adhere to these style standards.

The AMA Manual will help health and medical sciences students with compiling and publishing scholarly works on medicine.

 Author: JAMA and Archives Journals
 Publisher: Oxford University Press
 ISBN-10: 0195392035
 ISBN-13: 978-0195392036
 Formats: Hardcover | Online
 Website: [ Click Here ]

The ACS Style Guide
Style Guide for Chemists and Scientists

The ACS Style Guide
The ACS Style Guide, created and published by the American Chemical Society, is the standard style used by scientists, engineers, and medical specialists who research and write scientific papers in the chemistry field. It offers examples on how to cite the most commonly used sources, and provides advice on referencing illustrations, statistics, tables, and units of measure used in chemistry. The ACS Style Guide has topics on grammar, sentence structure, writing style, word usage.

The newest edition fully reviews digital and online tools and resources that STM writers use to create and publish documents. The ACS Style Guide now covers how to handle Internet markup languages, how to cite and format online sources, how to submit documents online to publishers, and how to prepare figures, tables, and visuals.
 Authors: Anne M. Coghill & Lorrin R. Garson
 Publisher: American Chemical Society
 ISBN-10: 0841239991
 ISBN-13: 978-0841239999
 Formats: Hardcover
 Website: [ Click Here ]

MHRA Style Guide
Style Guide for Students, Writers and Authors

MHRA Style Guide
The MHRA Style Guide (Modern Humanities Research Association) contains referencing and style rules for writers, editors, and publishers. In 1971, the first book edition was written and the first print edition was released in 2002. Many college students use this Guide for essays, research papers, and written assignments. This Style Guide is largely used for MHRA's own publications, both books and periodicals. However, many writers, authors and publishers now also use this Guide for other writing projects.

The Modern Humanities Research Association is a global organization based in London whose purpose is to encourage the advanced study and research in humanities, especially modern European languages and creative writing.

The newest edition contains chapters on quoting sources and using quotation marks; adding footnotes and endnotes; referencing and formatting sources; and publishing a thesis or dissertation. It also teaches the popular "author-date system," devised in the United States. You can download The MHRA Style Book for free at

 Authors: Glanville Price & Brian Richardson
 Publisher: Modern Humanities Research Association
 ISBN-10: 0947623760
 ISBN-13: 978-0947623760
 Formats: Paperback | Online
 Website: [ Click Here ]

FranklinCovey Style Guide
Style Guide for Business Communications and Formal Writing

FranklinCovey Style Guide
The FranklinCovey Style Guide is a handbook for writers and non-writers who need help in writing and producing professional business and technical correspondence. Developed by FranklinCovey, the global pioneer in helping to improve individual performance in large organizations, this latest edition of this Guide addresses today's challenges in communicating through online media and corresponding with international businesses. The Style Guide addresses topics on document layout and visuals, sentence style and word selection, writing for web-based media, and using global business English.

Lots of examples and mock-up documents help writers conquer "writer's block" and quickly produce documents from beginning to end. Writers learn how to produce effective results from every type of correspondence, such as: 1) writing concise emails; 2) adding simplicity and strength to any online presence; 3) writing useful and readable business proposals, documents, reports, and resumes; and 4) reinforcing all types of documents with proper editing and proofing.

The authors also disclose how to create visuals that interact meaningfully with your readers, and use diagrams, color schemes, images, tables, charts, pictures, and appendices to enhance any presentation.

 Authors: Stephen R. Covey
 Publisher: FT Press
 ISBN-10: 0133090396
 ISBN-13: 978-0133090390
 Formats: Paperback | eBook | Online
 Website: [ Click Here ]

The Elements of Style
Style Guide for English Writing

The Elements of Style
The Elements of Style is a time-honored reference book used by all types of writers to improve their writing skills and to understand the inner-workings of the English language. Also referred to as Strunk & White (penned by William Strunk, Jr. and E. B. White), The Elements of Style has become the authoritative guide on writing American English. Running less than 100 pages, it consists of eight rudimentary rules of style usage, ten general fundamentals of writing, a few formalities on form (such as using titles, numbers, and quotations), and a brief compendium of misspelled words and misused phrases.

Originally created in 1918 by William Strunk, Jr., it was reworked extensively by Strunk and Edward A. Tenny in 1935. In 1959 E. B. White broadened and improved upon it. This third edition has emerged as the official text of the book. A fourth edition was released in 2000 with a prologue by White's stepson, Roger Angell. In 2011, Time magazine classified The Elements of Style as one of the most significant books written in English since 1923.

 Authors: William Strunk & E. B. White
 Publisher: Longman
 ISBN-10: 0205632645
 ISBN-13: 978-0205632640
 Formats: Paperback | eBook | Online
 Website: [ Click Here ]

The Oxford Style Manual
The University of Oxford Style Guide

The Oxford Style Manual
The Oxford Style Manual is a style guide for writing and structuring documents composed by staff members and students of Oxford University, enabling a uniform and consistent style throughout all written and published material. This Guide is for anyone who writes and edits: authors, copy editors, proofreaders, students who are writing academic papers, and professors writing peer-to-peer articles.

The first section includes 16 subject-based chapters covering English punctuation, abbreviations, capitalization, sentence syntax and grammar. The editors offer guidance on how to handle quotations, images, tables, figures and sources, and foreign dialects. An additional chapter includes citing and referencing digital media, how to submit documents online to publishers, and current copyright laws for print and online media.

The second section includes advice on specific writing problems, such as common spelling problems; using hyphens and punctuation in multi-syllable words; differences between British and American English; and handling troublesome or unconventional terms.

 Author: R. M. Ritter
 Publisher: Oxford University Press
 ISBN-10: 0198605641
 ISBN-13: 978-0198605645
 Formats: Hardcover | Paperback | Online
 Website: [ Click Here ]

The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation
Style Guide for Legal Writing

The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation
The Bluebook is a style guide published by The Harvard Law Review Association and other notable legal publishers to help legal experts and scholars format and cite sources for legal publication. The Bluebook is the most popular legal referencing system in the United States. Lawyers, judges, law students, and paralegals use The Bluebook at most U.S. law universities and U.S. federal courts.

The Bluebook (named for its blue color) consists of three primary sections. The first section is called the "Bluepages," which teaches how to cite basic legal sources. The second section teaches the fundamentals of citing complex sources and how to format them. This section is separated into two principal parts. Part 1 explains the basics for citing and formatting sources in all areas of legal writing. Part 2 explains the basics for citing specific types of legal matters, such as legal cases, laws, publications, journals, and international materials. The third section includes a set of tables that correspond to section two and illustrates how to cite sources.

The latest edition is 500-plus pages and is considerably more complex than other citation guides like APA style and MLA style.

 Authors: Columbia Law Review, Harvard Law Review, University of Pennsylvania Law    Review & Yale Law Journal
 Publisher: Harvard Law Review Association
 ISBN-10: 0615361161
 ISBN-13: 978-0615361161
 Formats: Paperback | Online
 Website: [ Click Here ]

The Religion Stylebook (Free)

The Religion Stylebook
The Religion Newswriters Association offers a free online stylebook on religion called The Religion Stylebook. It is a searchable, user friendly, reliable style guide to assist journalists and reporters in writing on religious topics for the mass media.

The Stylebook lets you browse entries by letter (A-Z), or by categories according to religions and different faiths. If you know what you are looking for, you can use the Search tool to find specific entries.

The Style book provides stylistic rules on:

1) The dominant religions, sects and churchly associations that writers frequently come across.
2) Recommended spellings, punctuation, capitalizations, explanations and handling guidelines for religious words and phrases.
3) Correct titles for religious dignitaries in different faiths.
4) Pronunciation of words and terms.
5) Explanations on common terms that news and timely stories use on current events, such as abortion, religious freedom, homosexuality, and marriage.
6) Religion terms that The Associated Press Stylebook excludes.

The Religion Stylebook focuses on the most typical style-related issues that seasoned journalists face. Even though it is not a dictionary or a thesaurus, the editors do define many terms and how to use them properly in writing a story.

The Religion Newswriters Association was established in 1949 to uphold quality in covering religion in traditional media.

 Authors: Religion Newswriters Association
 Publisher: Religion Newswriters Association
 ISBN-10: none
 ISBN-13: none
 Formats: Online
 Website: [ Click Here ]
- Brian Scott
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Thursday, March 27, 2014

15 Tips to Write, Format and Distribute a Press Release

15 Tips to Write, Format and Distribute a Press Release

A well-written press release can greatly boost your sales, promote your business globally, and significantly improve the image of your business, products and/or services.

I share with you my own 15 PR tips that will guide you in the right direction to: 1) write a newsworthy press release for any occasion; 2) format a press release for print media and digital media; 3) distribute your press release to newswires, PR distribution sites, journalists, and the media; and 4) generate ongoing, long-term publicity with a single press release or a series of press releases.

PR Tip # 1: Credibility

PR Tip # 1: CredibilityA press release that adds credibility and trustworthiness will win readers' confidence and will persuade them to purchase your product and/or service. You have many ways to gain credibility, such as distributing your press release through well-known and respected "wire" services and then picked up by the media, such as a newsstand magazine or top 10 news site.

To write a well-written press release, ask yourself these questions:

1) Is your press release meaningful and newsworthy to the public or your target audience?

2) If you read your press release from the viewpoint of an experienced journalist, would you see immediate value that would interest your readers?

3) Honestly...will your press release interest the readers about your topic?

4) In a mound of press releases, will your press release capture the attention of a busy editor or journalist?

5) Can the editor or journalist quickly skim through your press release and find all of the important points—the Who?, What?, When?, Where?, and Why?

A well-written press release can add substantial value to your business, because unlike an obtrusive ad, a press release provides NEWSWORTHY information that readers don't mind looking at.

PR Tip # 2: The Boilerplate

PR Tip # 2: The Boilerplate
Companies of all sizes (including individuals and entrepreneurs) commonly use 1-2 paragraphs that characterize what they do, what they offer (i.e., products, services, community outreach), and who their target market is. This paragraph is known as a "boilerplate." Nearly all press releases include a boilerplate at the conclusion of the press release—after the content and before the contact information. Always provide a link to your website in the boilerplate so readers know how to (and where to) obtain further information about what (or whom) you are publicizing. You may also want to include direct links to your profile pages at Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. This will increase your social media exposure.

PR Tip # 3: Write in Plain English

PR Tip # 3: Write in Plain English
Avoid wordiness in your press release. Stuffing too many redundant and useless words in a sentence is a bad a habit that most of us tumble into once in a while. Formal writing (i.e., business writing) is no more verbose than informal writing (i.e., writing e-mails). In fact, writing a press release should be more exact and accurate because it is formal. The best way to eliminate wordiness is through editing. When you edit, remove phrases and words that add no value to your press release, and clarify your key points with precise, accurate and concrete words. Of course, you don't want to over simplify all words and sentences so that your sentences sound abrupt. Good editing greatly improves the coherency of your press release. Make sure that you cover all important information in enough detail so that the reader immediately recognizes the value of your message. A first draft of a press release always contains redundant words and overused adjectives. Remember to write for the reader, not for your ego.

PR Tip # 4: Timeliness

PR Tip # 4: Timeliness
When you write an engaging news release with relevant keywords, readers and potential customers can easily find your news online. A wonderful benefit of a news release is that it allows you to reach prospective customers beyond individuals who visit your website or online store. A second benefit is that your published news release will remain searchable online after it has been published.

A news release is (obviously) newsworthy. If you don't have anything new to say, then you have no reason to write a news release.

Your news release should have one or more of these elements:

Timelines: The news release is reporting NEW (relevant) information. It you are reporting about an old product or service, you can still write something newsworthy about it.

Influence: Your information influences the media's audience (i.e., readers, listeners, viewers).

Originality: Your information is distinct from similar news and delivers a unique point of view or brand-new information.

Emotion: Your information announces a problem or solves a problem that commonly affects your target audience.

Location: Your information refers to events that affect the surroundings of the targeted readers geographically.

Popularity: Your information quotes a widely recognized individual such as a political leader, a sports player, a company president, or a celebrity.

PR Tip # 5: Common Press Releases

PR Tip # 5: Common Press Releases
Types of common press releases include:

1. Standard News Release
A standard press release is the most popular and the one that most people recognize. This press release provides news that you want to share with the media. The objective of this press release is to attract reader interest, media coverage, and business publicity.

2. Product Launch
A Product Launch press release resembles a basic news release based on format, but its purpose is more precise. This press release is more immediate or relevant right now, and its primary function is to generate a buzz about a "launch," such as a launch of a new product, service, or event.

3. Staff Changes
A Staff Changes press release announces staff changes, promotions within the company, and/or new key personnel. This press release is unlike the standard press release because it contains biographical and background information about staff members. It also usually includes profile photos of staff members.

4. Expert Profile
An Expert Profile press release is much less immediate than a basic press release. This press release showcases an individual's knowledge and experience in a niche. The purpose of this press release is to establish credibility with media people so they can go to you as a source of information and quotes.

5. Event Announcement
An Event Announcement press release is formatted differently than a standard press release because it must contain the basic Who, What, When, Where and Why. An Event Announcement sometimes resembles an outline as opposed to writing in 3-4 line paragraphs. Its purpose is to publicize an upcoming event to the general public.

PR Tip # 6: Pitching to Local Media

PR Tip # 6: Pitching to Local Media
Here are a few tips if you are writing a press release that you will send to local media in your area:

1. Before you begin your press release: Contact people who are happy to provide quotes and can talk to reporters who are eager to cover your occasion or news item. Choose suitable communicators for your news item. Clients, customers, friends, colleagues and family members are usually the perfect communicators of local news. Remember: do not include people's quotes in your press materials without their consent. If quoting children, you must get parental consent beforehand.

2. Understand the media. Contact each media channel to learn which reporter covers your topic and/or industry (depending on the story). Find out if the reporter favors to get news by e-mail, fax or mail. Never send the same press release to more than one staff worker at a publication or newscast station. If you are distributing your press release via e-mail, submit it individually to each journalist or reporter. Never bulk e-mail to large groups of people because they may determine your press release as "spam."

3. Begin your press release with a powerful opening. Reporters are always on tight deadlines; they will glance at the first paragraph to determine if your press release is newsworthy. You need to start strong to convince the reporter that your press release is worth his or her time to read it fully.

4. What you consider news may not constitute as news to a reporter. Just because your business is commemorating its 10th anniversary serving the community does not mean your local papers or news stations will cover this occasion. Every press release needs a hook to separate it from other press releases that local media receive on a continual basis. If you are writing a press release to announce this important event, ensure that you provide something that adds interest and value to the readers. If your business has achieved success in your community, write about that you did right and how you contributed to the community.

5. Make the reporter's job easier to do. Most local and regional newspapers and media accept well-written press releases and print them, word by word. Radio news will sometimes read straight from your news release. Write your press release as if you were hired to write a story for the local media. If you make the reporter's job easier to do, he is more inclined on using your press release to write his own story.

6. Write a story-driven press release. Incorporate real world examples to show how your business helped improve economic problems by hiring local residents. Real world situations will catch the interests of your audience.

7. Avoid jargon. The ideal manner to convey your news is to write plainly, using common language. Jargon is vocabulary unique to trade professionals or industry groups and is not suitable for the general public.

PR Tip # 7: Follow the Inverted Pyramid

PR Tip # 7: Follow the Inverted Pyramid
Write your press release the way you intend a journalist to write it as a news story. The main body of your press release should follow the inverted pyramid format: put the most important information and quotes first, followed by the least important information. Editors and journalists use the inverted pyramid format in case they need to reduce a story to fit space restrictions—they can clip from the end without dropping vital information. The first sentence (called the "lead") must grab readers' attention and state concisely the purpose of the press release. Use the next couple of sentences to develop the lead. Use a "call to action" in your press release to tell the public what you want them to do with the information that you are releasing. For instance, do you want them to try out a new service? If so, provide information on where to register. Do you want them to visit your website to download a trial version of your software, or to sign up for a free seminar? If so, provide the URL of your website.

PR Tip # 8: Write for Online Readers

PR Tip # 8: Write for Online Readers
The fast growth of online news consumption is primarily driven by individuals, ages 30-65, followed by the younger generation, ages 10 and older. More than 45% of adults (ages 50-65) read news online from one or more reliable news sites. Search engines like Google and Yahoo! now feature news, images and videos in search engine results.

The top 10 news websites include:

1. Yahoo! News
4. The New York Times ( reported that over 50 percent of its traffic comes via search engines.)
5. Google News
6. The Huffington Post
7. Fox News
8. Washington Post
10. ABC News

Americans are participating more in the news creation and gathering process, such as commenting on news stories and sharing news via Twitter and Facebook. These days most journalists find new story beats and important contacts from the social web.

PR Tip # 9: Use a Subhead

PR Tip # 9: Use a Subhead
Subheads are extremely valuable devices, yet typically ignored by PR writers. Basically, a subhead offers you the chance to expand your story and further catch the reporter's interest. The length of the subhead can be the same length as the headline, between 2 and 22 words, preferably near 60 characters. The subhead allows you to provide more precise information about what you are publicizing. It also lets you add additional keywords so search engines can index your press release under multiple keywords.

PR Tip # 10: Exposure is Everything

PR Tip # 10: Exposure is Everything
You can submit your press release to the popular "wire" services (,,, etc.), and/or free press release distribution sites to distribute your press release across the Internet. Distributing your press release online will generate steady publicity over time. For an online business, exposure is everything because it amplifies the online presence of your website. Unless online customers hear or know about your website, they have no reason to visit it. The press release is the most successful way of informing likely customers about your online business. A press release can also build brand awareness and recognition, adding credibility to your business. A good press release not only serves as a piece of information, but it also offers something of interest and value for readers.

PR Tip # 11: Brief is Better

PR Tip # 11: Brief is Better
Press releases range in length from one page to three pages. The preferred length is one page. In fact, shorter press releases (between 250-350 words) usually receive more exposure, if written well. Journalists, reporters and editors frequently look for "economy-size" information for sidebars and/or fillers for their publications and/or websites. The content of your press release must be accurate, concise, and easy to read. It must, above else, interest readers, otherwise an editor or journalist has no use for it.

PR Tip # 12: Credit Your Sources

PR Tip # 12: Credit Your Sources
To add authority and interest to your press release, you'll want to add a quote from a leading expert or quote a source to support your newsworthy information. Before you include any quotes in your press release, you must get permission from the person or source. If you are quoting a source from something you read, you must get written permission to use it, otherwise you may be held liable for copyright infringement. If you are quoting somebody whom you know very well, then you can get verbal permission.

Most press releases, when including a quote, use attributions to recognize or credit the source.

1) If you are quoting copyrighted information, your attribution should contain the source, date and/or website link.

2) When quoting an individual, include the person's full name, professional title, and/or company position.

3) If you are using facts, figures and/or statistics from other sources, make sure you attribute the source.

Without appropriate attribution, your press release will lack trustworthiness and appear inaccurate (even though this may not be the case).

PR Tip # 13: Standard Format

PR Tip # 13: Standard Format
Use 8 1/2 x 11" paper only for your press release. Use standard white paper. Do not use color or tinted paper.

In the upper left corner of the paper, you have two choices. The first choice (most common) is to type "For Immediate Release." You can uppercase all characters if you choose. These words inform the media person that he or she can use your press release right away, or in the future. The second choice is to include a date for release. If you are writing a press release related to Halloween, you can put "For Release On Or Before Halloween" or "For Release On Or Before October 31st." This tells the reporter when he or she can use your press release.

In the upper right corner add: "For further information contact:". And then add the full name of the contact person, a phone number, and e-mail address. Next add your mailing address. (You may also use left alignment for contact info., if you choose).

Headline (bold-face, centered)
Subhead (italicized, centered)

BODY COPY (Flush left; never single-space the entire body copy.)
Paragraph 1 (the lead):

Paragraph 2: flesh out the lead with supporting information and quotes.

Paragraph 3: sum up your press release

BOILERPLATE (about your company)

### or -30 - (to signify the end of the press release)

PR Tip # 14: The Body Copy

PR Tip # 14: The Body Copy
The body copy of your press release should consist of three parts.

1) In the first part, tell your full story in two to three sentences. If you can't tell your full story in this size of space, it may indicate that you are unfocused or you don't really understand what you need to communicate.

2) The second part should contain quotes from you and/or a leading expert. This part is also where you flesh out your story and make it valuable to readers.

3) The third part must contain your "call to action." What would you like your readers to do with your information? Call you? Visit your website? Buy a product? Attend an event? Be specific.

PR Tip # 15: Notes to Editors

PR Tip # 15: Notes to Editors
You can include a section called "Notes to Editors" at the end of your press release. This is where you can provide technical information or additional details that are too dull for the main press release. If you are including photos or images with your press release, you can use this section to explain the size, DPI quality and publishing rights for each image.

- Brian Scott (C)
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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

7 Crowdsourcing Job Sites to Find Freelance Writing Work (updated for 2014)

Freelance Writing Work

The Internet has made finding freelance writing work much easier. You can visit a job site in one or two clicks of the mouse, and then review current jobs that need writers immediately. In this special post, I will reveal the best, most-referred "crowdsourcing" sites that supply new writing jobs each day.

Because each job site can attract 50-100 new writing jobs each day, I recommend you stick to just one. It makes no sense to register at multiple sites. The reality is you can only handle one or two (maybe three) projects at any given timeunless you have superhero powers or you are a freak of nature! :)

In the "old days" companies placed classified ads in newspapers and publications to find freelancers. These type of classified ads still exist in both print and digital form. Browse through job listings at,, or, and you will encounter the so-called "traditional job ad" in which the company posts a static ad and invites applicants to submit a resume.

The Internet has created a phenomenon for finding freelance work...

Crowdsourcing in the Cloud

We now have technologically-evolved, "crowdsourcing" sites that let businesses post projects and allow writers to bid on them. The job poster can view all bids at one location. Each bid includes the writer's: 1) written bid proposal; 2) proposed rate to complete the project; 3) a visual portfolio and bio.; 4) a resume; and 5) reviews from past clients. The job poster can then select the writer or writers to work on the project. These sites handle all transactions and projects securely, from start to completion.

A few of these sites may require a membership fee, which I will disclose in each review. You can sign up and register at each site for free, but the site might restrict certain functions and features.

Of course, you can still scour the free (classified) job sites for freelance jobs, but these sites don't provide the  advantages (or abundance of jobs) that the following crowdsourcing sites do.

When you sign up with one of these sites, you can:

1) Access hundreds of freelance writing jobs to bid on;
2) Create a personal portfolio of samples that employers can review;
3) Receive secure payment in escrow, and then receive final payment upon completing a project;
4) Communicate with the client privately and securely via project management tools;
5) Build a reputable, steady freelance writing business directly at the job site;
6) Generateeffortlesslyrepeat clients and referrals (the bread and butter of all successful writing careers).

The low monthly price of a membership (if any) is definitely worth ityou will earn it back anyway.

The following sites are the "best of the best"; they are the most popular, widely-referred, and proven to benefit both the freelancer and the employer. Large companies like McDonald's, General Electric, and Boeing use them to hire freelance talent; so do thousands of entrepreneurs, ad agencies, book and magazine publishers, and media companies. So let's get started!

Freelance Job Site # 1:

Many freelance writers prefer to find work at, the world's largest job site for both outsourcing and crowdsourcing. The site connects over 4 million employers with freelancers from over 230+ countries. The site has created the perfect platform to match employers with freelancers.'s Writing Jobs (Categories)'s Writing Jobs (Categories)

The site offers from 500 to 1,000 freelance writing jobs ranging from article writing, copywriting, ghostwriting, and academic writing. I estimate that employers post from 50-100 new writing jobs daily. Because is highly-competitive, many new jobs are fulfilled within 24-48 hours.

You can view all niche categories for writers at Just scroll down to the category called "Writing & Content" and you can view the subcategories.

You can join for free and bid on writing projects. Eventually, you might want to upgrade to a low-cost monthly membership to reap all of the site's benefits. A basic membership costs $4.95 a month.

My advice is to visit the site daily, browse open jobs, and research how freelancers bid on them. Once you become familiar with how the site works, sign up for a free membership and start bidding. When you have landed and completed 2-3 jobs, then consider upgrading to a basic membership. Many writers use to land most of their writing gigs and build a successful online business directly at the site.

Freelance Job Site # 2: Job Site is equally as popular as Freelancer.comit is the world's most popular crowdsourcing job site to find freelance writing jobs. The site helps businesses hire and manage freelancers and virtual workers globally (but mainly in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K.). You can sign up with Elance for free at The site also provides: 1) an easy way to find authorized, reputable clients; 2) a digital workplace of your own; and 3) exceptional portfolio-building tools.'s Writing Jobs (Categories)'s Writing Jobs (Categories)
After you've created a profile and portfolio, clients seeking your skills and expertise can outsource work to you. Otherwise, you can browse  new jobs posted by employers. You can submit up to 15 bids each month. To bid on more, you must upgrade to a basic (low-cost) monthly membership.

Elance boasts about 3,000 total writing jobs in several different niche categories. To browse current jobs, go to On the left side of the page you will see the total number of active jobs, along with subcategories and niches.

Freelance Job Site # 3: Job Site lets employers hire, manage, and pay freelancers from around the world. More than two million freelancers (in general) are registered. Although currently ranked as the 2nd crowd sourcing job site, oDesk holds the #1 rank in annual freelance earnings, which totals over $300 million. This is the total earnings that all freelancers have earned collectively in one year.

oDesk's Writing Jobs (Categories)

oDesk's Writing Jobs (Categories)
You can access more than 5,000 freelance writing projects. About 50-100 new writing projects are added daily. I prefer because—in my opinion—it attracts higher-paying projects for writers.

To browse current jobs, go to

Similar to Elance, if you look on the left side of the job listings page you will see sub-categories under "Writing and Translation" which include jobs for copywriting, blog and article writing, technical writing, and creative writing.

You can sign up for free to bid on jobs. If you land a job and the client pays you for the completed project, the site charges a fee equal to 10% of the total amount billed to the client.

Freelance Job Site # 4: Job Site is another leading "freelance-favorite" job site that operates the same way as the other sites. Founded in 1998, the site connects businesses with freelancers who specialize in more than 160 professional categories. Employers use the site to hire freelancers locally, nationally, or globally for both large and small projects.

To sign up for a free account, go to You can bid on up to 10 jobs a month; if you decide to bid on more jobs, you can upgrade to a low-cost monthly membership. Based on other crowd sourcing job sites, Guru seems to charge more in transaction fees. You can review all membership fees before you register.'s Writing Jobs (Categories)'s Writing Jobs (Categories)
You can find from 500 to 700 writing jobs at Scroll down the page until you see the category called " Writing, Editing & Translation." Click on it to display all sub-categories. A few of these sub-categories include writing web content, ebook writing, writing sales material, and screenwriting.

After signing up, build a profile to showcase your skills and writing samples. You can include your primary writing specialty, along with 5 skill-set subcategories. Furthermore, I recommend you take Guru's online "tests" to prove your skills and increase your "worth" on the job site. You can also show a link to your website (a feature that none of the other job sites let you do). When seeking work, you can browse through open writing projects and/or receive e-mails summarizing projects that match your talents. Then you can submit a bid proposal for a project that excites you. The employer will assess your bid to determine if you have the qualified skills and the price is right.

Freelance Job Site # 5: Job Site unites hundreds of employers and freelancers from around the globe to fulfill creative projects. The site expedites the entire outsourcing activity and offers fundamental economical benefits to both the employer and freelancer. Employers receive excellent quality work at reduced labor costs and freelancers receive payments securely and on time.

Freelance writers will appreciate the large selection of projects for different skill-sets. Unlike the other sites, GetACoder focuses more on the field of Information Technology and computer programming.'s Writing Jobs (Categories)'s Writing Jobs (Categories)

You can find around 3,000 writing gigs broken into subcategories. The site has been around since the birth of the Internet. Don't let the site's "bare bones" look fool you into thinking that it lacks professionalism. Thousands of reputable employers and freelancers trust in GetACoder and have been transacting business at the site for many years.

There are no membership fees; however, like the other sites, it subtracts a percentage from transactions between you and the employer after you have finished a project and the employer pays you.

You can browse open jobs at Near the top of the screen you can find subcategories for content writing, technical writing, creative writing, etc. Sign up for free at

Freelance Job Site # 6: Job Site [ website ] is one of the lesser-known, smaller outsourcing marketplaces for freelancers, even though it has been around for many years. On any given day you may only find between 5 and 10 new projects in the "Writing/Editing/Translation" category. works the same way as the others. You can sign up for an account, create a profile and portfolio, and bid on projects. The main difference is that the site charges a $6.95 (basic) monthly membership fee in lieu of taking a commission or a percent of the project fee when the client pays you. Depending on how many projects are awarded to you, this type of fee structure can work in your favor, saving you money in the long-term.

Additionally, the monthly membership fee allows you to: 1) create an impressive portfolio; 2) advertise directly to employers; and 3) promote an external website. You can post multiple profiles under one membership to promote different members of your team (if you have one).'s Job Categories's Job Categories
I have always enjoyed the site's vibrant, simple, and uncluttered page layout. It's easy to navigate, find freelance jobs, and advertise your talents. To find current projects, just hit the tab at the top that says "FIND PROJECTS" and this will take you to a screen that lists all job categories. The "Writing/Editing/Translation" category screen lists sub-categories such as Article Writing, Blog Writing, Academic Writing, Copywriting, and so forth. To view the details of a project, click on the link and it will take you to a separate page for that project.

Freelance Job Site # 7: (U.K.) Job Site (U.K.) [ website ] is a London-based outsourcing marketplace that matches freelancers with employers. Although freelancers in any country can use the site, freelancers in the United Kingdom will benefit the most. The site's currency is the pound sterling symbol (GBP) with the U.S. dollar conversion rate listed below it in parenthesis. If you live in the United States like I do, use one of the other job sites like or was founded in 2007 by two Cambridge graduates: Xenios Thrasyvoulou and Simos Kitiris to help freelancers connect with businesses for contract work. The site gives you three ways to land freelance work: You can: 1) create a profile and portfolio to sell your services; 2) search for jobs according to skill, category, search term, etc.; and 3) submit up to 15 bid proposals a month. If you use your 15 bids, you will need to buy more "credits." Job Categories Job Categories

The site offers around 3,000 projects to freelancers of all skills, and about 300 projects for freelance writers. You can find projects for blogging, writing SEO content, writing articles, copywriting, guest posting, and so on. I was able to register as a freelancer with my Facebook account and start building a portfolio and bidding on projects within minutes. More than 16,000 freelancers offer writing services at this site. Like all job sites, uses a secure escrow system to ensure freelancers get paid after completing the work.

All logos from these job sites are trademarked and used with permission. Screen shots that contain information are used with permission. I am not affiliated or employed with any of these job sites. I am an independent freelancer who uses these job sites to find freelance work. :)

Related links:
Search for All Freelance Writing Jobs at (My Hub)
Freelance Writing Jobs at Ad Agencies (My Hub)
Writer's Guidelines Database (FreelanceWriting,com)

I welcome your comments, thoughts, or corrections.

Brian Scott
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