Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

Press Release Magic

 Press Release MagicPress releases are one of the key marketing tools we encourage everyone to use for their business health. Using them wisely and often will help keep your business thriving.

Everything we teach businesses to do is about communication. Make sure your business is regularly communicating to the market, your customers and your prospects about what your business is doing, events, sales, announcements and training you offer.

Keep people informed, connected and interested in your business with press releases.

An incredible business building bonus these days is that there are multiple websites that will host every press release you put out and that helps drive traffic to your website in three key ways.

FIRST, each press release may be found and read by clients and prospects when they search online for information that your press release talks about.

SECOND, Google LOVES news, and press releases are news. Your press release may come up in Google’s free search results and drive free traffic to your press release and website. This will happen with far greater certainty if press releases are one part of your communication strategy. If Google finds recent blog entries, new videos and relevant articles on your site as well….bingo… first page Google search results.

THIRD, some news agencies may consider it worthy of reporting and your news could be mentioned in newspapers, radio and TV.

Marketing always, everywhere has never been easier, more affordable or garnered greater potential results.

Make your plans to communicate regularily via the internet with articles, videos, blogging and press releases. You can provide great, valuable information to your clients and prospects and receive plenty of business as a result.

To get you started with the basics of writing a press release here’s a process you may find helpful for planning it before your write it, or you can ask us to write it for you. Be clear in your message, make it interesting and then spread it far and wide:

Follow these 5 steps to write leads that will showcase your newsworthy story to its fullest potential:

1. Know Your Angle - Determining your angle is the most crucial step you must take before you even begin writing your press release.  Ask yourself what about this story will get people’s attention and leave them wanting to know more.  While all the scientists at your pharmaceutical company may be enamored with the unusual chemical properties of a new drug, the general public is going to want to know less about that and more about the fact that it cures cancer.

2. Know Your Audience – On the other hand, if you are hoping for coverage in scientific publications, your audience may indeed be more concerned about the chemical properties of your new drug than its efficacy. When preparing to write the lead paragraph in your press release, imagine your target audience and craft a lead that will appeal to his or her sensibilities.

3. Include the 5 W’s and the H – Who? What? Where? When? Why? How? Journalists are trained to think this way and will appreciate getting all the pertinent information up front. Reporters often cover specific beats, so featuring the 5 W’s in your lead lets them determine if they want to know more about your story without wasting their time if they don’t.  Remember, newsrooms can receive hundreds of press releases per day.

4. Reveal Your Angle Right Away – Which opening sentence captures your attention? “Space aliens touched down at a Des Moines farm yesterday…” or “Des Moines citizens were agape yesterday when Farmer McDonald confirmed that something amazing from the sky had appeared in his cornfield.” The first sentence is direct and to the point. It reveals “what,” “where” and “when” in just 10 words, while the second sentence doesn’t even state the newsworthy angle.  Don’t try to build suspense, and don’t be too wordy. Leave it to reporters to add local color and flair to your story. You want to grab attention from the very first word and then, once you have it, hang on to it.

5. Watch Your Language – That doesn’t mean no swearing, even though you should avoid that, too. It means watch your writing style. Are you using active instead of passive voice? (Active voice: “Space aliens landed in Des Moines.” Passive voice:  ”Des Moines is the place where space aliens landed.”) Active voice allows you to say more in fewer words and is always preferable to passive voice. Also be sure to employ economy with words. If a phrase or sentence adds no new information, cut it out.  There will always be time to elaborate on certain points in the body of the press release or on the phone with reporters.  Also avoid industry lingo when possible. Industry insiders may appreciate it, but an acronym-laden press release will limit hold limited appeal for the general public.


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