Online Press Release Tips: 5 Ways to Get Value for Money

Online Press Release Tips: 5 Ways to Get Value for Money

A decade ago, you could write an online press release, post it to a PR website, and get great results. You needed to use appropriate keywords, but your little press release was great value for the time you invested. In 2014, Google’s severe on press releases written purely for SEO – no more free traffic for junk releases.

This doesn’t mean that press releases are worthless, far from it. They’re an essential tool. If you use them correctly, not only will they enhance your marketing campaigns, they’ll also help you to get customers. Consider this: if major companies continue to use press releases, why don’t you?

Let’s look at how you can get real value from the online press releases you create. (Note to self: write more press releases for my own business…)

1. Focus on Your Entire Marketing Campaign, Rather Than a Single Press Release.

You’re launching a new product. You’re running online and offline advertising, you’re using social media to get the word out, you’re blogging – you’re even running a Pinterest contest.

Whether you’re doing a big launch, or a mini one, online press releases fit right in. Be aware however, that press releases aren’t advertising. They’re factual, and are written in the third person.

You’re free to use any angle you like: straight news, or human interest. If you’re looking for media attention, a human interest story may be the way to go. Do customers use your products in unusual ways? What good works have you done lately? Years ago I wrote a press release for a company which helped a lady who ran a shelter for abused pets; it was a lovely story, and got press.

2. Quid Pro Quo: Give and Get.

An online press release is targeted directly to your audience. You’ll reach potential customers who’ve never heard of you. So, make it easy for them to stay in touch. Offer readers a freebie in exchange for their email address.

And of course, use the email addresses you collect. Many small businesses never bother using their customer lists; this is a huge waste of resources.

3. Pitch Your Story to Bloggers in a Sentence or Two.

Bloggers can extend your reach by hundreds of thousands, even millions. Ideally, you’ll have reached out to bloggers long before you launch your campaign.

Pitch your story to bloggers, but keep it short.Greg Kumparak, mobile editor, TechCrunch says:

“Know how to make your pitch in a sentence or two — if you can’t wrap up your own product in a concise and interesting way, we probably won’t be able to either.”

Add a link to your online press release to your pitches.

4. Post Your Press Releases to Your Website.

Press releases are the gift that keeps on giving. Post them to your website, into a “Press” area. Anyone who wants to learn more about you will appreciate your releases. Over time, your press releases will show the evolution of your business; they build your credibility with people who’ve never heard of you.

5. Keep Your Releases Short: Add Support Materials for More Info.

Keep your press releases short: a maximum of 400 words for the meat of the release. Get your point across with your story: aim for an emotional connection. Use a conversational tone. If your eyes glaze over when you’re reading, rewrite – “don’t be boring” applies to press releases too.

Most press release distribution websites allow you to add media to your releases. Take advantage of this. Add documents, images, and videos ( if you have them). Offer the press release as a PDF download.

Online press releases are a wonderful addition to any marketing campaign, yet few small businesses use them. Major companies use them as a matter of course. Try these tips; you’ll be pleased with the results.

Need help with your online press releases? Contact Angela.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Publicity Power: 5 Press Release Tricks to Help Your Small Business

5 Press Release Tricks to Help Your Small Business

Love press releases? I do too. To my mind, they’re an essential part of any content marketing strategy.

I’ve often told the story of how I got into copywriting – via press releases. At the time (1980s!) I was running a business which was spending HUGE amounts on display advertising in Sunday newspapers. Since press releases cost us nothing except a few postage stamps, I sent out ten press releases to various media outlets.

Hey presto – we got fantastic coverage: radio, TV, magazines…

Yes, those days were different. However, the underlying marketing is the same now as it was then.

To get publicity, you need:

  • A hook – a good story – for media attention;
  • A belief in yourself, and the worth of your business;
  • A little creativity.

All these years later, the media isn’t what it once was. However, publicity is just as powerful now as it was then. And it’s basically free. All you need is a story that’s attention-getting.

You may be wondering about a press release’s value in these days of Hummingbird.

The death of SEO press releases?

Yes, and not before time. Google’s Matt Cutts rained on the SEO parade:

With this new mandate, what Google has done is kill off the SEO press release. Google is now requiring that URLs and anchor text within press releases be converted to no follow links.

Here’s the thing. If you get media attention, you WILL get SEO value, because you’ll gain lots of links. However, you shouldn’t use press releases just to get links.

Let’s look at five simple press release tricks.

1. Make your press release newsworthy.

What’s “news”?

Anything you say it is.

Truly. Your press release might have a hook related to: timeliness, public interest, conflict, tragedy, humor, sex, money, human interest, the future, or animals.

Any one of those themes will do. Combine two of them, and you’ll hit the publicity jackpot.

Take a look at a newspaper, and you’ll see those themes every day. They’re news.

I tend to use the terms “press release” and “news release” interchangeably. All press releases must contain news.

2. Tell your story: attract media attention.

You’ve got a newsworthy theme. Your next step is to find the story within that theme. TV Tropes could be a happy hunting ground for your story; check out the Rags to Riches trope, for example.

Whatever your theme, there’s a story buried within it. Think about it.

Tell yourself the story. Start with “once upon a time, there was…”

Stories in news release are publicity gold. Find yours.

3. Have a strategy: help your audience to discover you.

You can post your press releases online of course, however, consider making press releases part of your overall content strategy.

Press releases are content. Post your releases into a Media, or Newsroom section of your website. Over time, those releases tell the story of your business.

Many of your site visitors have never heard of you, so several years’ worth of releases on your website increase their trust in your business.

4. Turn on the glamor: add images and video.

Glitz up your press release. Add images from your media kit, as well as images you’ve created for your current content campaign. You can also add a video, and a downloads like a white paper, or a report.

These items increase the likelihood that people finding the release will click through to your website.

5. Yes, use links in your releases (for traffic, rather than SEO)

Finally, of course you can use links in your press releases. You want traffic. If you’ve been hammering several keyword heavily in your online activities, avoid using them. Use other words as anchor text.

Your aim is to get traffic from your press releases, and if you include a newsworthy theme and story, you will.

So there you have it – five press release tricks to help your small business. Now, go and get some publicity – you deserve it!

Need some help? I create press releases for clients. My aim is to find a theme, and tell your story.

 

, and on Twitter: @angee

Marketing: free publicity grows your business

 

bookspress.pngWhatever your aims for your business, news releases are the best (as well as the fastest, easiest and cheapest) way to get attention.

Even if your news release isn’t picked up by a media outline, posting them online to a PR service gets you into  Google News within a day or two.

Create a media campaign

News releases should not be a one-time deal.

Create a schedule that you can live with, and then send the releases out regularly. In my copywriting business, I have several businesses that I send out news releases for.

Their schedules vary, from once a month, to once every six weeks. These are large companies which do a lot of advertising, but they realize that news releases give them a benefit which money can’t buy: editorial in the media gives them credibility as well as free publicity.

You can send out releases on a monthly, or quarterly schedule. Create a schedule that works for you.

Good luck with your news releases. They will build your business faster than any other tool.

TIP: don’t forget to create a Media section of your Web site to which you can add your releases. Not only does this give journalists a fast overview of your business, it also offers search engine benefits, and helps your prospective customers to understand your business.

Need help with publicity? Contact Angela.

You’re a Star: Shine Brightly With a Customized Publicity Campaign This Week

PR Publicity

What could you do if you had an unlimited advertising budget? Maybe you’re salivating, thinking of all the advertising you could buy.

Sadly, even with an unlimited advertising budget, your results may not be as amazing as you hope.

Here’s why. When you buy advertising, you’re limited to the advertising venues you choose. In 2013, audiences are fragmented. If you choose to advertise on radio and TV, you won’t reach all the people in your target audience. Your audience may miss your ads completely. That’s money down the drain. The same applies to any advertising venue – you’ll reach just a small part of your potential audience.

Every business needs to advertise. However, for true effectiveness, you need something else: publicity. Publicity amplifies the effect of your advertising, and it’s long-lasting. I’ve often told the story of I first got into copywriting… how a press release I wrote changed the fortunes of my employer.

You need publicity as well as advertising

Few businesses strive for publicity. Public relations tends to be a mystery. Businesses may not even be aware that most news stories in print and digital media originate from a press release.

Here’s a secret: journalists mine their press releases looking for the faintest glimmer of gold amongst the trash. Finding a story is GOLD to them. Providing that gold isn’t easy. However, it’s possible. What could your company achieve if a journalist or three wrote about you? If you appeared in Google News?

You need just two things to create a powerful publicity campaign: time and imagination.

Firstly you create the content for your campaign, and then you launch it.

What do you need to include in a publicity campaign?

A few days ago one of my writing students contacted me about a new ebook she’s launching. She asked me what she would need to include in her first publicity campaign.

Good question. The short answer is, anything you like. It’s your campaign, so whatever you think goes. Ask yourself some questions. How much time do you have available? What results do you want?

Let’s say that you want to create a customized publicity campaign this week to promote something. That “something” could be your business, a new product you’re launching, or a service you provide. As in the case of my student, it could be an ebook. Maybe it’s something for your community – your child’s school needs new sporting equipment, and you’re running a donations drive.

Your first step in any publicity campaign is always to set clearly defined goal.

The next step is to decide what your message will be, and commit to staying on message. “Staying on message” throughout your campaign is perhaps the hardest thing to do, as any politician will tell you. It’s a challenge, but you won’t get the results you want unless you manage to do that.

Let’s get started…

Step 1: set a clearly defined goal

Write down your goal for this publicity campaign. Please don’t omit doing this. You must write down your goal, because you won’t remember what it is tomorrow. Trust me on this one.

Step 2: what’s your campaign’s message? Write it down

Write down the message in a sentence, preferably on a sticky note (stick it onto your phone), as well as in your diary. Make sure the message is in front of you DAILY.

Step 3: create a media kit

According to Wikipedia, common components of a media kit include:

Backgrounder with historical information on the company or individual.
Fact sheet listing specific features, statistics, or benefits.

Biographies of key executives, individuals, artists, etc.

Past press coverage

Photos or other images (high resolution) of key executives, logos, products, etc.

A press release detailing the current news the media kit is sent in reference to

Media contact information (usually of a public relations department or spokesperson)

Collateral advertising material, such as: postcard, flier, newspaper ad, etc.

You can put anything you like in your media kit.

At a minimum, include a company backgrounder, some photographs, and anything else you think would be helpful to a journalist or blogger who wants to write about whatever it is that you’re promoting.

Many companies add their company’s media kit to the “media” section of their website. You can do this too.

However, for the sake of this publicity campaign, create a customized media kit which focuses solely on your goals for this campaign, rather than on your company as a whole.

Let’s get started with your customized publicity campaign

Set a date on which you’ll begin your campaign. Please don’t put it too far in the future. Give yourself a week for preparation. If you give yourself too much time, it won’t get done.

Next, decide what you’ll include in your campaign.

You could include: a series of press releases, Facebook and Google+ pages, a webinar, guest posts on blogs, a blog tour, content marketing with articles… anything you like.

Ask yourself: What am I comfortable creating? Or hiring someone to create for me?

LIMIT yourself. Don’t aim to include too much. A press release, a blog post, a YouTube video, and a couple of articles, might be all that you can comfortably create in a week.

Every company has different resources. Use them. If you have a mailing list, make good use of that list. These are people who want to hear from you, who have done business with you, and who know you. They can help you to get the word out. So include mailings to your list in your list of activities for your publicity campaign.

Create your creative material

Create your material. If you’re a copywriter, you can do it yourself. Alternatively you can hire someone.

The time element: avoid becoming overwhelmed

We’ll have more to say on the various elements of a publicity campaign later – I’ll create some additional how-to material for you on this blog.

For now, consider the time you have available.

If you’re doing everything yourself, creating all the creative material might take you a week or more. Aim to have everything ready before you launch the publicity campaign. Once you launch, you’ll be so busy talking to people and running your business, that you won’t have time to create additional material.

However, don’t set the launch date so far in the future that you procrastinate. As stated, I recommend that you take a maximum of ONE week to create to your campaign material, and then a week to execute. Any longer than that, and your campaign will stall.

Just get it done. :-)

There you have it. You’re good to go. Set a goal for your campaign, decide on a message, and start creating your material today.