News about webinars, seminars, presentations

Guidelines to help authors to write effective news announcements about webinars, seminars, presentations and other events.

Webinars, seminars and presentation at events are an important part of the public relations message for many learning providers and they offer a great way for L&D professionals to keep up to date with industry developments and the latest thinking, and to keep in direct contact with experts in the field.

However, news about events are more likely to contravene our submissions policy than any other kind of news, mostly because authors can fall into the trap of producing adverts for them rather than news stories about them. 

A press release about an event can easily appear as an advert, rather than a press release, unless the author adopts a reporting style: reporting about the event in the 'third person'. Learning News' submissions policy makes it very clear that all releases should be written in the 'third person' (with the exception of quotations).

In almost all cases the news value of a webinar will be in its content and or its expert speakers, the target market and any implications for the target market. Therefore, the release should focus on these things and not on the organizational aspects of the webinar, such as the date/time or price and other secondary benefits of attending.

The fact that a presentation is free or has a cost will rarely be newsworthy. If you do want to mention the price you should briefly 'report' on it, rather than using the price as promotional text and include any reference to the price in the main body and never in the headline or synopsis. Or leave the price out altogether and place this information on a linked web page from the release, for example on a registration page. Releases that have the word 'free' in the headline or synopsis are almost always rejected (or edited down) by Learning News.

Date and time
Care is required for how the event's date and time are reported on. The date and time are never 'the' most important news aspects about a webinar or seminar and, while obviously important to include, should not form the main point of the press release or be included in the headline or synopsis. Seminar/webinar dates and times included in a synopsis are usually edited out by Learning News or moved into a notes section in the main body. 

The price, the date/time and any other 'logistical' information should be listed once only.

Using language or links like "Register here!" or "Book your place", etc is first and second person advertising language and is inappropriate in a news story. Instead, explain how to register, including a link to the registration page.

This news story from Learning Technologies is a good example of how to write a news announcement about a presentation. It's genuinely interesting because it focuses on the content as the main theme. Other, less interesting but important, facts are included as supporting information.