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

Social Media Kickstart: Top Five Tips for Pinterest Marketing

One of my boards on Pinterest
One of my boards on Pinterest

Looking for new marketing opportunities? Consider Pinterest. This social media website is fast-growing, and addictive. It’s image-focused, so it’s perfect for advertising.

The site’s easy to use, so it won’t take long to get up to speed on how it works, and on how you can best use it for your business.

If you haven’t done so already, add Pinterest buttons and widgets to your own website, so that your customers can “pin” your images. Then, get acquainted with the site, and use it as part of your marketing strategy.

These five tips will help you to get the most from Pinterest.

1. Be Prolific: Create Boards for Your Products, and for Your Customers’ Interests

The Bark Around the Park
The Bark Around the Park

Check out what other companies are doing. Petplan Pet Insurance for example has 42 boards with cute images, and creative names, such as “The Bark Around the Park”, as you can see in the image above.

Bergdorf Goodman

Retailer Bergdorf Goodman has 39 boards which reflect the company’s image, and showcase must-haves for stylish women. One board, “History of the Chanel Little Black Jacket”, focuses on the making of Chanel’s iconic jacket. You can imagine customers whipping out their credit cards when they see the care and craftsmanship that goes into making such a jacket.

As you click through other companies’ boards, make notes of clever ideas you can use.

2. Get Social on the Site

Follow others, and pin others’ pins. Others will see your activity in their streams and notifications, and they’ll discover your boards and will follow you.

3. Get Chatty: Comment on Popular Pins (Because These Pins Are Seen More Often)

Pinterest’s “Popular” category consists of pins which are pinned most often, and commented on most often. When you comment on pins in this category, more users will see your comments. As with blog commenting, be sincere and specific in your comments. Say what you like about the pin and why, rather than simply “I like it.” Be careful not to over-do the commenting; don’t comment-spam.

4. Promote Your Pinterest Boards to Your Customers, and on Your Other Social Media Accounts

Let your customers know that you’re active on Pinterest, and encourage them to check out your boards, and interact with you. Contests are popular, so consider running one.

You can also find your friends on other social media accounts like Twitter and Facebook. To do this, click on your business name on the home page. Choose Find Friends from the drop-down list.

5. Create a Pinterest Marketing Plan

As you create more boards and add pins to those boards, starting promoting individual boards, rather than your entire account.

Create a plan, focusing on one or two boards a week.

There you have it: five top tips to help you to market your small business on Pinterest.

, and on Twitter: @angee

Check out my Pinterest boards.

 

Small Business Blogging: Get Value From Your Content-Creation Buck

Blogging for Dollars

Content creation is a hassle; I hear you. It’s a hassle for everyone, writers included. :-)

I’ve been running a series on my freelance writing blog on writing and selling PLR. Those ideas will help you if you’re looking for ideas for content for your small business blog.

Let’s say you’ve been cracking the whip, and someone in your organization, or someone you’ve hired, is busily creating content for your blog. Happy days, right?

NO… creating content is just the start. You need readers too. Some of those readers will eventually become customers. Readers who are already customers will consider their next purchase from you.

Let’s put that aside for the moment, and assume that not only are you creating worthwhile content, you’re also promoting that content.

How do you get more VALUE from that content?

Get more value from your content-creation buck

With some of my clients, I’ve found that once content goes onto their blog, it’s out of sight and out of mind. Everyone in the organization sighs with relief, and forgets about it. That’s a shame. It took time and money to create that content, so you need to get value from it.

Here are some ideas on how to do that.

Just because it’s there, it doesn’t mean it’s visible

Every blogger has the same problem: how to show off content which has fallen off the front page of the blog. Visitors arrive at your site every day, who would find value in that content, if only it were visible.

There are various ways to get attention to older content.

Consider:

* WordPress plugins. If you’re using WordPress, there are many plugins which show related content, as well as content in various categories. There are even plugins which will tweet older content, so explore WordPress Plugins.

* Compilation posts. You can create compilation posts on any topic you covered on your blog, as well as updates — “posts you may have missed”, or “this time last year”.

Use your blog’s content in newsletters and email updates

Few businesses send out regular mailings. Let your customers know when there’s new content on your blog. Every mailing you send out doesn’t need to be promotional. Provide links to your blog, as well as to your website.

The people on your mailing list don’t visit your blog every day — they may not even know you have a blog. This is a waste of your content.

My favorite garden center does a wonderful job of letting the customers on their mailing list know when there’s new content available. I love my garden, and get excited whenever I receive a mailing from them. Of course, after I get a mailing I schedule a visit to the garden center on the weekend. I’m sure that their regular mailings mean that I shop with them ten times a year, rather than once or twice.

Your content is valuable — make the most of it.