Step 7: Press Release Marketing
If you’ve taken most, or hopefully all, of the previous six steps, then your website should be like a funnel. Your website is the top, and your design, videos, sales copy and autoresponder will allow your visitors to slide smoothly to the bottom, coming out on the other side as satisfied and loyal customers. All you have to do now is direct people into the top of that funnel.
Google Maps, search engine optimisation and social media are all a part of that process of pulling traffic towards your site; the final step in this report is going to multiply that stream of traffic and, as a bonus, position you as an expert in a way that will amplify the desirability of your products and services. If the idea of being seen as a “guru” in your space is not appealing, I quite understand. Not everyone likes the idea of being in the spotlight. But you should still pay careful attention to this chapter. Just one success story in this area can be enough to expand your business, so quickly, it’ll make your head spin… along with the numbers at the bottom of your bank statement.
As the title at the top of the page has already indicated, this step is about effective use of press releases. You might have heard of press release distribution being used to build links for the purpose of search engine optimisation, but although this is another residual benefit, it’s not the main reason why you should be writing and distributing press releases.
The primary goal that press release marketing is aiming for is to be noticed by a reporter who will then write or talk about it through his publication, radio station or TV programme. Not only does this mean free advertising for your business, but it also creates the same kind of “Halo Effect” that we talked about in Step Four. Simply being considered important enough to be referenced by a media outlet will have a positive effect on how your business is perceived by those who see or read the report.
Before you panic about the idea of seeing your face on televisions up and down the country, let me reassure you that national coverage, although entirely possible, doesn’t happen that often. What you’re most likely to experience is an editorial in an industry publication, or some local newspaper and radio coverage. It’s not nearly as terrifying as you think, and if you prefer, you can always assign your business partner or one of your employees to be the “face” of your business.
Writing a Press Release
If you Google around you’ll find plenty of templates, but the most important part of your press release is the head line and the opening paragraph. And you won’t be able to write either effectively until you understand what it is that your press release should be designed to achieve.
I’ve actually already hinted at this, but the purpose of your press release is to get the attention of a journalist. You’re not going to accomplish this by promoting yourself, your business or your latest special offers. You’re ONLY going to catch a reporter’s eye by giving him something that he needs. Put yourself in his shoes for a moment.
Imagine that your job is to find stories that your editor can use to fill space in their newspaper. Are you really going to take a story to your editor about a sandwich shop that’s giving away free coffee with every purchase? Of course not. How about a story of a sandwich shop that’s created the world’s most expensive cheese sandwich (this is a real story – http://bit.ly/bU431d)? Now that’s more like it. It’s an intriguing, fun story, and the reporter doesn’t even have to find an interesting angle because the work’s already been done for him.
When you write your press release, you’re effectively trying to sell your story to the reporter. The opening paragraph, and especially the headline, should grab the reporter’s attention by giving him something he can use, straight away, without having to spend a lot of time working out an interesting angle. Realistically then, you have just two choices. Perform a publicity stunt that makes your business newsworthy, or take an everyday fact about your business and create an interesting angle.
The first option might sound like more work, but it’s really just a matter of learning to think laterally. Take a look at stories that are already popular, and come up with an interesting angle. I did this with Melbourne SEO Services by creating a parody of the popular Old Spice commercials and then writing a press release about the power of viral videos (http://bit.ly/fft5ba). A press release about viral marketing would have been lost in the crowd, but by connecting it to the already successful Old Spice promotion, it created an angle for the story that made it more newsworthy.
When you start out issuing press releases, you’ll be sending them to as many people and places as you can. Eventually you’ll build relationships with reporters who will become your first point of contact. Making friends with a reporter is a worthwhile endeavour because, not only does it ensure that your press releases will get a little more than the usual attention, but you’ll also reach the point where reporters are contacting you for stories and quotes.
The first place to start is www.helpareporter.com. Enter your details and you’ll be added to a list of people who have indicated themselves as available to reporters who are looking for quotes and articles. When you receive an invitation, bend over backwards to be helpful and you’ll increase the likelihood of receiving future invites.
The next step is to create your first press release and distribute it as widely as you can. PRWeb.com is a good service for reaching multiple outlets, but do your own research as well. Visit the websites of local newspapers, radio and TV stations, and other media relevant to your industry, and most will provide instructions on where to send stories in which they might be interested.
It’s a little known fact that many reporters and researchers are deluged with dull and repetitive press releases and they often struggle to fill the space in their content schedule. Send them a story with an angle that will be interesting to their audience and there’s an excellent chance that, not only will they feature it, but they’ll be so grateful at having something they can use that they’ll remember you the next time you have something to send them. Craft your press releases carefully, just as you would with a sales page, and your submissions will soon rise to the top.
Three things you can do now:
- Go to www.helpareporter.com and register your details.
- Visit the recent news section of PRWeb (http://bit.ly/bMswqz) and see which press releases most readily catch your eye. Study them to get ideas for your own press releases.
- Research Google News (http://news.google.com) to find popular stories; come up with new angles that you can relate to your business.
Three things you can outsource:
- Hire a PR expert to craft your press releases.
- Hire a researcher to find contact details for media outlets to whom you can send your press releases.
- Promote your most outgoing employee to be the “face” of your business.
Additional reading and support
If you want to learn more about press release marketing, visit the links below.
1. Internet marketing training for small business owners:
2. Press release service:
If you have any questions about the content of this chapter, please don’t hesitate to contact me at www.davesupports.com.