Dan Janal shares brilliant insights into how press releases work, how to use them for maximum effect, and some new and exciting ways to get publicity and exposure for yourself and your book. If you’re interested in media exposure and publicity, grab your pen, start listening and take notes!
Setting realistic goals and expectations should be one of the first things any service provider does with a client.
So, when people ask me how did their press release do? Or “What can I expect from a press release?” I show them numerous ways a press release can help them get publicity or prospects, or sales, or build their credibility. Each company has its own reasons for getting publicity. These questions might help you focus on what’s important – and ROI measurement that you hadn’t considered.
- Did your press release create new, credibility for you?
- Did your press release help you build your brand?
- Did your press release lead to more visitors to your website?
- Did your press release create buzz for your product?
- Did your press release help you close a deal?
- Did your press release shorten the sales cycle?
- Did your press release remind prospects about your services?
- Did your press release inform new prospects about your business?
- Did your press release get people to talk about you?
- Did your press release get your vendors more excited to promote your books and products?
- Did your press release help your sales staff get motivated?
- Did your press release lead to other business opportunities, like inbound sales leads?
- Did your press release lead to additional media opportunities?
- Did your press release establish you as a thought leader?
- Did your press release get indexed on Google?
- Did your press release help your site improve its ranking on Google?
As you can see, there are many different ways to benefit from a press release. Some are monetary. Some are ego. Some are branding. The real benefit comes when the outcome matches your original goal. When you get set on your goal (no lying or fooling yourself), then you can judge the results clearly.
Google announced new requirements for press releases a few days ago. It’s taken a few days for the SEO community to wrap their arms around the newest rules and regulations. I wanted to boil it down so you know what to do and what not to do. I’ll spare you the arcane minutiae and webmastering tools you don’t need to know.
1. Google doesn’t like when people try to stuff keywords into press releases. They didn’t like that for articles and now they are clamping down on press releases. That’s good for the people who search Google, which, ultimately, is good for you.
2. Google doesn’t mind when you put “anchor text” (keywords and links to your site) but they want you to use the “nofollow” tag in the code so they don’t follow the link. In other words, the link has no value for SEO. This is important because links are good things. You can to take readers from the press release to a certain page on your website for more info, such as your speaking page, or your consulting page, or your product page. You can also use links to take people to your Amazon page. It’s all good. Just follow the new rules and you’ll be safe
This is actually good news, especially for my clients. Here’s why.
1. It completely throws all the lower-tier, all-you-can-eat press release distribution services under the bus. They weren’t good to start with. Now they are totally worthless. Avoid them at all costs. They existed only to play games with Google. That game doesn’t exist anymore. Google took away their reason for existing.
2. It gives greater value to honest, reputable press release distribution services that offer a great blend of branding, distribution and publication. In other words; pick a winner and ride that horse forever. Obviously, I want you to choose PR LEADS’ Guaranteed Press Release service at www.PressReleaseSender.com.
3. Our press release distributor, PR Newswire, has been using the “nofollow” tag in all our press releases for years. That means all my clients’ press releases are in compliance with Google’s policies. If you used another service without the “nofollow” tag, I don’t know how Google will treat those older press releases. Ask them. It might not be pretty. You might have to revise all the press releases on your website for starters. And then you have to “disavow” (Google’s term) the links from press releases from other sites that printed your press release. That’s what happens when you go cheap. You pay a price later.
Which only goes to show, that if you work with a reputable company upfront, you are safe. If you want your press releases to be safe, work with us. We don’t cut corners and we don’t try to play fast and loose with the rules.
And, in case you are wondering, our clients are still getting great results by being published on more than 100 bona fide media websites and being listed on Google searches!
Isn’t it time you started doing press releases the right way? Call us at 952-380-9844 to get started. Or check us out at http://www.PressReleaseSender.com
They call them “newspapers” for a reason: they contain news.
But what can you do to get publicity if you or your company don’t create news?
You can piggyback on breaking news to get free publicity for yourself or your company.
Here are five proven publicity tactics to help you see your name in the news:
1. Anticipate news. Housing reports. Unemployment statistics. Inflation numbers. These reports are issued every month, like clockwork. Reporters need to find local commentators who can bring perspective to this news. Why shouldn’t that person be you?
2. Anticipate trends. If you see a TV story on tattoos, college kids taking on debt, college kids moving in with their parents, then you can expect your local newspaper to do the same kind of story one day. Act fast so the reporter calls you and not someone else.
3. Monitor editorial calendars. Every magazine follows an editorial calendar. They tell you what stories they will be writing and when. Contact reporters to get into the mix.
4. Breaking news. Monitor breaking news by setting up a Google alert. When news happens, you’ll get an email or a text message letting you know about the event. Then call your editorial contacts with your insights.
5. Second day stories. If the story is big enough, reporters will write a follow-up story the next day. Let them know you have new info or new insights to add to that story.
If you are prepared, you can get free publicity in TV, radio, newspapers and the web.
For additional press release ideas, read these articles:
Press releases are a great way for small businesses to get free publicity. Reporters scan press release distribution sites to find new ideas they can write about.
Here are five reasons reporters like to read press releases.
* Gives them ideas. As smart and imaginative as reporters are, every reporter will have writers block at some point in their lives. Press releases give them ideas that can help them write their stories.
* Gives them the basic info. Reporters won’t print your story word for word. They will use the press release as a starting point that gives them the basic information, such as the name of the company or book, the address or ISBN number, the product model number (which could be a confusing series of letters, dashes, spaces and capital letters, like the Honda CR-V, or the TomTom Go 2535 TM).
* Gives them contact names. People’s names can’t be spelled phonetically. Reporters will always ask people how to spell names. Sometimes reporters don’t need to call you because they can get what they need from the press release. Be sure to print your name, title, phone number, email address, website address and physical address so reporters have the basic info they need to tell your story accurately.
* Gives them quotes. Quotes make a story come alive. It’s like dialogue in a novel. Take your most interesting material and put quotes around it. Reporters will love you for it.
* Gives them the price of the product. You might have a hundred reasons not to print the price of your product, but reporters generally will want to print the price. If you make their jobs easy, you have a better chance of getting written up. If you leave out critical information, reporters will have a more difficult time writing their story.
If you follow these simple publicity tactics, you’ll have a better chance of getting free publicity from your press release.
Find out how you can send press releases to thousands of reporters at major newspapers for one low fee –with guaranteed results. Go to www.PressReleaseSender.com
You can get free publicity when you send a press release to a reporter – if you do the right things. But many people get bad results because they do the wrong things – or if they have unimaginably high expectations.
Here are 10 things to expect from a press release – from bad to good:
1. Reporters will throw it out – unopened and unseen. That’s because reporters get hundreds of press releases a day – by mail and by email. They don’t have time to read them all. It’s an unfortunate fact of life. You must make your press release stand out.
2. Reporters will open your press release and realize it does not concern them in the least and throw it out. That’s because you didn’t do your job and send the press release to only reporters in your field.
3. Reporters will open your press release, read the headline, read the first paragraph and throw it out. That’s because you didn’t say anything interesting or your information was presented badly. Think of your message and find a way to get the point across clearly and quickly. Who, what, when, where and why are usually good guideposts.
4. Reporters will read it but can’t find how to contact you – so they throw it out. Don’t put in switchboard numbers that do more to thwart callers than help them. Call yourself and see if you can reach you. If you have a voice jail system, I’ll bet you can’t. Put in your desk number or your mobile number.
5. Reporters will want to find more info, but can’t because you didn’t put in a website address or you sent people to the wrong page. Reporters might want to see your homepage, or your product page. Think this through and send them to the right page. If you have big company website, reporters might not find what they need. If you are promoting a book or a product, send them to that specific page with the relevant information.
6. Reporters like what they see and write the story based on info in the press release! Congratulations! You can get a story written about you without talking to a reporter, in case you didn’t know.
7. Reporters like what they see and get more info from you in a phone call or email. Congratulations! Now you have the chance to build a lasting relationship.
8. Reporters write the story and it appears on their websites or in their publications. Congratulations! You will probably get more website visitors, traffic to your store or calls to your company. Remember, those are visits. It is up to you to convince those people to buy. Don’t overlook this important step. Publicity can lead a horse to water, but it can’t make him drink.
9. Reporters post the story online. Congratulations. Many media sites allow for reader feedback. Read this section to see what people are saying and thinking – and then respond when appropriate. This can be a great way to build relationships with readers.
10. Your site’s rankings in search engines should improve. Congratulations! Google loves to see links from high credibility sites, like the media, to your site. If you can get more media exposure, you’ll probably rate higher in Google’s eyes so more prospects will see your website.
As you can see, there are many good things that can happen when you write press releases, target the right reporters, present the right message and follow up with prospects. Good things can happen with press releases – if you follow the right path.
Have you ever written a press release and nothing happened?
One reason might be that you didn’t follow the special rules for writing and formatting a press release. Reporters can be picky and they will quickly hit the delete key on any press release that violates the basic rules.
Here are 10 common formatting mistakes that will kill your press release. Avoid these mistakes at all costs and you’ll find press releases can be a very effective free publicity tactic.
1. Headlines should not be written in ALL UPPER CASE. Headlines should be written in Title Case in which the first letter of each word is capitalized. Exceptions are for prepositions (e.g. on, off, about, of) and articles (e.g. a, the) except if they are the first word in the headline or the first word of the second line of the headline.
2. No dateline. A dateline tells readers where and when the news took place. Start with the City and State (but leave off the state if it is a well-known city, e.g. CLEVELAND, but not Canton, OH.) Write the city in CAPITALS. Follow with a comma, then space, then the date, in month, day and year format (January 2, 2012) followed by a space and a dash and then the first word of the story. For example:
CLEVELAND, January 2, 2012 – The City Council today…
3. Misplacing the comma in a quotation. The comma goes before the closing quotation mark,
Correct: “The day is long,” she said.
Incorrect: “The day is long”, she said.
4. Not listing a contact person. You must include the actual name of a person with a phone number and email address.
5. Not proof reading the press release. It’s impossible to proof read your own work, and a computer spell checker will not find all the mistakes. Have another person read it before you send it.
6. Not checking basic facts. If your introduction says “five ways to” do something, then make sure your list have five ways, not four or six.
7. Using bad links. Test each link to make sure it works and that there are no typos.
8. Writing too much. People have short attention spans. Write only what is essential and refer people to your website for more information. Shoot for 300-500 words. 800 words is the maximum unless you have a very good reason for writing longer.
9. Not including keywords. Keywords are essential for press releases today as search engines and reporters rely on keywords to find relevant press releases.
10. Not using -30- or # # # to signify the end of the press release. It’s a standard convention that lets everyone know the press release is at the end. It’s a holdover from the days when press releases were transmitted by telegraph.
If you avoid these common mistakes, you’ll find reporters will be much more receptive to your press release and you’ll be able to take advantage of a free publicity tactic.
For more free publicity tips, go to www.prleads.com/news
Press releases perform a valuable and useful role in getting found on search engines.
Based on my work with more than 500 press releases over the past year or so, I’d suggest you can improve your chances of being found by:
1. Adding relevant keywords to the press release, especially in the headline and first paragraph.
2. Using anchor text to lead readers to different pages on your website. It is a great SEO tactic that many people overlook.
3. Having at least one call to action for readers, like “click here to read the first two chapters of my book (or white paper, or take an assessment).
4. Using Google’s free keyword tool to find the most popular keywords, as well as the least competitive ones – and use a mix of them.
5. Searching Google on those terms to see what shows up. You might be inspired to use other keywords you hadn’t thought of.
6. Telling your followers when you get printed or quoted, via your blog, email and social media. Toot your horn!
7. Printing screen shots showing your best results.
You’ve probably gotten a phone call from one of our competitors offering you an unbelievable price for sending out press releases. Before you lighten your wallet, ask them if they provide these services that we offer:
Editing for style to ensure your press release looks and sounds professional
Editing for content to ensure you tell your story properly
Test links to make sure you didn’t put in any bad links
Keyword research to find the best keywords that get the most hits
Search engine optimization to better help you rank high in search engines
Search engine marketing tips to help you get found in search engines
Headline review to help with theme as well as seo
Editorial feedback to make sure you don’t send out a dog of a press release
Guaranteed publication in more than 40 media web sites so you are assured of getting seen
Report showing proof of publication to prove that we deliver on our promises
Proven ideas for additional follow up and media opportunities
Creative ideas to take your marketing to the next level
Consulting on a variety of publicity topics
Coaching on numerous publicity and business topics
Check out our options and you’ll see that all press release services are not created equal – and you get what you pay for.
How can you get reporters to read your press releases?
By writing headlines that are fantastic!
My friend, sales training expert Jill Konrath wrote a great article about how to write great subject lines for sales letters and there was such great info there that I asked if I could share her article with my readers.
Fortunately for all of us, she said “Yes!”
Read and learn!
By Jill Konrath
If you’re like most sellers, you don’t pay a lot of attention to the subject lines you put on emails to prospects. They’re an afterthought. No big deal, right?
Totally wrong. Your subject line is the most important part of your message. If it isn’t a good one, your email gets trashed in a nanosecond. In fact, research by ExactTarget (my email newsletter service) shows that the average person spends only 2.7 seconds on a message before deciding if they’ll delete it, forward it, or read it.
Just 2.7 seconds. That’s all the time you have to capture a reader’s attention. That’s why your subject line is so darn critical.
What You Shouldn’t Put in a Subject Line
To avoid auto-deletes, it’s imperative for you to avoid:
- “Salesy” verbiage. Get rid of words like excited, hot new product, free offer, or special pricing.
- Information about your company. No one is interested in your new service announcements or company updates except you.
- Capital letters. Just the first word should be capped. Otherwise it seems like a headline, not a personal message.
Here are several options that have proven effective with today’s crazy-busy prospects.
- Use a referral. If someone has referred you to this person, put that in your subject line. They’ll want to know why. For example, you might write: Terry Jones said to get in touch.
- Ask a quick question. If your prospect feels it’s simple and relevant, they’ll take a look. Your subject line might read: Quick question re: new client acquisition challenges.
- Tempt with ideas or information.My prospects are always interested in subject lines like these:
- Idea to reduce your sales cycle time
- How XYZ company increased sales to Fortune 500 companies by 127%
- Mention a trigger event. If something is happening within the company or in their greater business environment that’s relevant to your offering, bring that up. For example, if you read about a recent merger, you might write: Impact of XYZ merger on (insert relevant business issue you address).
Get the picture? To work, your subject lines must focus on something your prospect cares about. If you do that, they’ll keep reading.
Here’s a major caveat, though. When they start reading your message, it needs to deliver exactly what you promised in your subject line.
If you move into salesy mode or talk about your company, you’ll trigger your prospect’s auto-delete reaction. They can’t control it. And you will lose the opportunity to open the conversation.
Hopefully by now you understand just how critical those simple little subject lines are to your sales success. I suggest you sit down right now and create 10 new subject lines you can use in the upcoming weeks.
Finally, start your experiment. See if you can tell which subject lines are most effective with your prospects. Then create variations of the same theme. You’ll immediately see the difference in your sale success.
Jill Konrath is the author of SNAP Selling (#1 Amazon sales book) and Selling to Big Companies, a Fortune “must read” selection. As a frequent speaker at sales conferences, she helps sellers crack into new accounts, speed up sales cycles and win big contracts.
For more fresh sales strategies that work actually with today’s crazy-busy prospects, visit www.jillkonrath.com.