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

Press Releases: For Traffic, Not Just For Press

Press releases

Have you discovered the power of press releases yet? You’ll get traffic, without getting “press” per se. This is the way publicity works now; you’re going directly to your customers.

Press releases are simple and effective marketing.

You can do very well with press releases if your business is new, as I mentioned here:

He wasn’t trying to attract media attention (just as well, because he didn’t get it), he was aiming to build an online presence fast… Here’s the thing: he got a trickle of traffic, sure. But for over a year later, he made SALES to customers who told him they’d first heard of his company online — via the press releases.

If you’ve tried other sources of traffic, and are disappointed, give press releases a try.

This article, Five ways to get your story in the press, has some useful tips:

” Tailor your story to the particular media audience or outlet

 Daines says many small business owners make the mistake of simply buying media lists and sending out generic mass mail-outs about their product or service.

‘Sending out a mass email approach that’s been blind cc-ed is lazy. You will fail to engage the reporter if you haven’t researched what they write about, what they’ve done in the past or what they’re interested in,’ Daines says.”

Big tip: think in terms of a media campaign, rather than a single release. This applies whether you’re using old-style press releases, or online press releases.

You’ll need to tell your story yourself

With old-style press releases, you target the media. With luck, a journalist will give you a call, and will interview you.

Sadly there are fewer journalists and media outlets than there used to be.

This means, that you need to tell your story yourself:

* Make sure your releases are supported by content;

* Promote your story on your website and elsewhere;

* If you’re launching a product or service, start your push BEFORE the launch.

Compared to other forms of advertising, press releases are inexpensive. They perform well as basic content for your site too, because they help build trust and credibility.

Writing for the Web? Go Beyond the Words

The Web is changing fast. Are you changing with it?

Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter…

Images, video and audio enhance content on the new Web. Do you know how to create them and use them to enhance your Web writing?

If you’re a newly minted Web writer, start by becoming a master at creating Web articles.

Then get experience as an audio-visual writer, and you’ll be streets ahead of other writers – you’ll out-pace the competition, and you can charge more.

Ready to master the new Web, and become a master content creator?

Press Releases: Not just For SEO

Press release

Have you been using press releases for your business? For a time, they were out of fashion, because Google’s Matt Cutts discounted their value for search engine optimization (SEO).

However, apparently they are still worthwhile for SEO. If you choose to use them for that. This article reports:

… we showed one case where Google not only discovers the links within typical press releases but uses the anchor text for ranking purposes.

One ranking might not make a case for their value, but SEO benefits, while pleasant, are far from the only use to which you can put press releases.

I call press releases “the gift that keeps on giving.” Here’s what else they can do for you:

* They get your company’s name in front of your customers;

* They’re “free” content for your website;

* They’re an ongoing resource for people who arrive at your website, without knowing anything about you. Create a “media” or “newsroom” section of your website, just for press announcements and news releases;

* They let you put your point of view;

* They give you credibility.

In this article, I encouraged you to make the most of your press releases in various ways, including:

* Offer your news release in PDF form, for easy downloading;

* Offer a short report, or additional information. If you’re promoting a new product, add a report on the research you’ve done, your testing procedures, or anything else which seems relevant. Once you’ve got someone’s attention, and they’re reading your release, make the most of their interest.

Press releases can be extremely valuable. They’re not an instant fix for marketing woes, but if you’re not using them, consider it. Not only can they bring traffic to your website, they can encourage your visitors to linger — some of them will buy from you.

photo credit: BrittneyBush via photopin cc

Want Media Attention For Your Business? Make It Easy

Storyboard Press Kits

If you want media attention for your business, you need to make writing about you as easy as possible. You need a press kit, plus:

* A great “About” page;

* Some company history;

* Downloadable images;

* Hooks.

Share this info on a “Media” page, or in a downloadable press kit.

(Make sure you link to your press kit — journalists won’t hunt through every page on your site looking for it…)

A great About page

As I say here:

Your “About” page is the most powerful page on your website. Whenever a site visitor reaches your About page, he’s there for a reason. He’s interested in you. He may buy. Therefore, rather than ignoring your About page, make it powerful. Treat it as the valuable page which it is.

Your About page also backgrounds your business for the media.

Company history

Journalists LOVE stories. When did you start your company? Why? Decades later, everyone knows that Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak started Apple in a garage. Google was started in someone’s home.

Maybe you planned your new business with your wife over a takeout meal. Or maybe you and your parter found the perfect location for your business five minutes from where you grew up.

When you share your company history, you make it easy for journalists to write about you.

Downloadable images

Professional photos are fine, as are images you snapped on your smartphone. Add some downloadable images to your Media pages.

Hooks

“Hooks” are are the “why” of a media story — and angle which makes your story relevant and newsworthy. If you own a major company, with shareholders, just about anything you do is newsworthy. However, even if you own a tiny business, some of what you do is newsworthy.

And as I tell my clients when they tell me they don’t have news: “Create something!” :-)

Does creating press kits and creating media pages sound like a lot of work?

Frustrated? Try Storyboard

Storyboard’s a new company which is dedicated to making press kits much easier.

I’ve no experience with the company, but I’ll be keeping it in mind for some of my clients.

Here’s what TNW has to say, TNW’s verdict on Storyboard:

Storyboard ticks a lot of boxes – it’s very easy to use, and for those who don’t wish to create yet another dull PDF or ‘About US’ page for reporters to access from their site, this offers a promising alternative. But there is certainly room for developments and improvements.

If you can get it, publicity gives a huge boost to your business. What’s not to like? Publicity is FREE. When you make it easy for journalists to get up to speed on who you are, your chances of getting publicity improve immeasurably.


Angela Booth is an Australian copywriter, Web writer and content strategist. Want your website to do more for your business? Contact Angela via email to set up a chat. She loves to talk about business and the Web.