From Press Release to Profits

There are three basic types of press releases: feature articles, contributing articles, and news releases.

A feature article is usually 500-1000 words and is submitted with photos, a contributing article is a short, information or educational article, and a news release is approximately 200 words of factual information about a specific subject (i.e., hiring announcement, event announcement).

Press releases are important because they provide your business with free publicity. In other words, they market your business at no cost to you. Gratis. Free. Sans Money. And if that is not reason enough to include press releases in your marketing activities, studies indicate 71% of prospects find press releases to be more credible than other marketing materials. With that in mind, it would be a big mistake not to use these wonderful marketing tools to get new customers.

Following are some quick tips to keep in mind:

Using real life stories about how your company or organization solved a problem is a great strategy for press releases. Identify the problem, identify why your solution worked, and why it is the superior solution.

Tell the truth... and only the truth! Journalists are skeptics - they've seen it all already. If your story sounds too good to be true, then it probably won’t get published.

Do not use your press release to try and make a sale. A good press release will answer the who, what, where, when, why and how, providing the media with useful information about your organization, product, service or event; it should never be blatent advertising.

Be Brief! Avoid using unnecessary language and don’t repeat points that you have already made in the press release.

Avoid the hype. The exclamation point (!) is your enemy in a press release. If you just have to use an exclamation point, use one... and only one!

Company Info Your press release should end with a short write-up that describes your company, products, service and a even a brief company history.


Variations and Special Notes

Take a professional looking photo but ensure you add personality to it; look approachable, "human", and warm. This is imperative to create rapport with prospects (at the subconscious level). If people are included, action shots are best, but ensure the people in the photo are the center of attraction. If you have these photos handy when you need them - you will forever thank me! :-)

Most media prefer black and white glossy prints. However, magazines prefer color transparencies or digital photos. If you are sending photos to magazines, contact them to find out their printing guidelines and preferred format for photos.

Okay, my final note on press releases is really about thinking outside the box. Let's say that you go to all the trouble to create press releases and they don't get published? A waste of time? I should say not! You can use the exact press release that you submitted for publication as a flyer or other marketing material... just never represent that it was published in a specific place. Just the press release format alone creates instant credability with prospects... almost as if it had been published.

This same idea works if the press release was published also... get copies or reprints and use them a hundred different ways in your marketing (i.e., fliers, as an article in your news-flier, hand out at networking meetings, use as a diret mail piece, etc.)