By Terry Corbell
The Biz Coach
Strategic Press Releases Will Help You Beat Your Competition
Ever wonder why some companies are always in the news or how they succeed on the Internet? It’s a good bet they have a good PR consultant or have mastered the art of writing press releases.
You can level the playing field with effective press releases. They should be part of your marketing mix.
A press release that gets the attention of the media in your marketplace serves as an implied testimonial – a marvelous center of influence. But you have to make a good impression on journalists so they’ll be motivated to act on your press release instead of discarding it.
Remember if you have a story to tell, it has to be newsworthy. Topics can include salient business events, achievements, awards, financials, management changes, market expansions, product launches, special sales, and events to benefit your favorite charity.
Press releases are also valuable in crisis management.
But press releases aren’t necessarily for journalists in this digital age. Bloggers might also be interested in what you have to say.
Press releases are also effective in search engine optimization (SEO) with the right keywords to promote your Web site’s prominence and to give you more mentions on the Internet. Even if you can’t get the media’s attention, your press release can still directly speak to your prospective clients and customers.
In my three decades+ experience, I’ve seen both sides of the equation. As a broadcast journalist, I was asked to consider press-release submissions. As a Biz Coach columnist, I’m lobbied for publicity all the time. I’ve also written press releases to promote my clients, my firm and my employers (prior to becoming a business-performance consultant).
So for maximum impact, here are eight basic tips:
- Brevity – write one page with an economy of words – 300 to 450 words – to explain relevance or benefits. Occasionally, it’s OK to make it longer with an attachment for a white paper or a research study.
- Use good grammar to insure confidence among readers. (See: 25 Best Practices for Better Business Writing.)
- Remember the acronym, “WIIFM”, or what’s in it for me. Journalists and other readers want to know why they should pay attention to your press release.
- Use a proper focus. A press release should be informative and not read like blatant advertising copy. Forget the puffery. Keep it professional. Don’t exaggerate. By nature, and not to be critical, journalists are cynical.
- Make sure it’s timely information.
- Use journalistic style – make your release resemble a news article. Answer these questions: Who, what, when, where, why and how.
- Include salient information with facts or data in an easy-to-understand manner. Newsworthy quotes or statements by well-known people and you are helpful, too.
- Insert multimedia content. (For an explanation, see: Inspiration from Raymond Loewy for the Best Business PR)
Keeping in mind the eight basic tips, search-engine press releases should follow this procedure:
- Unless you know how to submit a press release to Google, Bing, Yahoo and others, you’ll have to use an online press release service. For maximum circulation in the search engines’ news and Web-search sections, expect to pay hundreds of dollars. There are also free press-release companies. You won’t net as much prominence, but if the company has a good Google Page Rank, you’ll enhance your SEO.
- Write a motivating headline. Use a factual, but brief headline with an action verb in present tense whenever possible.
- Follow it with an overview — two sentences – to inform readers what to expect in the press release.
- The body – the content – should effectively tell your story. The lead paragraph should capsulize your points with pertinent information.
- At the bottom should be a brief profile about you and your company followed by contact information.
- Incorporate SEO elements. Insert relevant links to your Web site — it’s best if your Web address is inserted in the second paragraph. Use a maximum of 10 relevant keywords that will attract Internet surfers. It’s best to insert the most important keywords whenever possible in the headline, overview and last sentence.
- Promote your press release in all your social media.
You can see samples of my press releases here.
From the Coach’s Corner, here are three relevant resource links:
- Getting the Most from Your PR Requires 5 Basic Elements
- Need PR, But No Budget? Here’s How to Leverage News Media
- Fact Check on PR Newswire Advice – Some Inaccuracies
“Always be sincere, even if you don’t mean it.”
-Harry S. Truman
Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.