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Publicity expert Dan Janal appears on “The Real Deal with Jason Silverman”

My interview on “The Real Deal with Jason Silverman” is now live!  I shared lots of great advice on how to get publicity.  You can find the interview on Jason’s website Jreal deal.

The name of this show is:
How to Write and Use an Effective Press Release with PR Expert and Internet Marketing SuperStar Dan Janal

You can listen via Itunes and subscribe to Jason’s podcast here.

I’m available for selected teleseminars, webinars and personal appearances and speeches. Email me if you’d like to discuss this.

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Press Releases: How to Get a Reporter to Open Your Emailed Press Release

Question: When I submit a press release to reporters, what should I write in the subject line of an email?

Answer: You can’t make the press release sound like an ad. So don’t use any bold claims or fantastic statements – even if you think they are true. Reporters get over-the-top claims all the time and they are on guard against this tactic. Instead, use the headline, or use keywords so reporters know the material is targeted for them.

For example, one of our clients was named a top franchise by Entrepreneur magazine. We suggested these subject lines:

1. Entrepreneur magazine rates CKO Kickboxing one of top new franchises
2. Franchise news: CKO Kickboxing makes Entrepreneur Magazine’s hot list
3. Sports business: CKO Kickboxing makes Entrepreneur Magazine’s hot list

I’d send the first to general business reporters, the second to the franchise reporters and the third to sport business reporters.

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Press Releases: One of the Most Powerful Marketing Tools Available

Guest Post by Lynnette Phillips

http://lynnettesbookmarketing.blogspot.com

When customizing a plan to put someone’s ‘Book Marketing on Auto-Pilot’ I always stress the importance of issuing press releases. Press releases aren’t a daily task; they’re more of a special event. When something out of the ordinary is happening in connection with your book send out a press release.

Lynnette Phillips

Lynnette Phillips

Doing a reading at the library? Issue a press release. Appearing at a book signing? Issue a press release. Conducting a summer writing class at the Department of Parks & Recreation? Issue a press release. Send your release to the local papers for these types of events. (You can find a Press Release template on Google Docs.)

Posting an excerpt of your latest book on your website or being interviewed on Blog Talk Radio? Use a press release submission and distribution service online. I use PRLog.org often. Not only are they a free service and they’re easy to use (you just fill in their form), but you also get to see right away how many ‘hits’ your release has received.
Some people are intimidated by the prospect of writing a press release. If you’re one of these people try thinking of a press release as a 300-400 word article. You’ll want to keep the content brief since the news industry often uses press releases as filler pieces and this will increase your chances of getting into print. Online a shorter release is more likely to be read. Busy people are in a hurry to get on to the next thing, they have short attention spans.
Here are a few other tips that may help:
  1. 1. Your Title – This will be what determines whether your press release is read or skipped over. Make it strong, succinct and informative. Ex: ‘Romance Novelist Interviewed on Blog Talk Radio’s Lynnette’s Book World.
    *An Internet press release title needs to focus on SEO (tags or keywords).*
    2. Summary – Directly below the title you may want to include a 1-2 sentence summary expanding on the title. Lindsey Gray will share news and trivia about her latest release, the supernatural romance, ‘Redemption’, with Lynnette Phillips’ is the summary that appeared with the above title.
    3. Opening – Make your opening line clear and compelling and pack it with as much pertinent information as possible. I.E., The Lynnette’s Book World program on Blog Talk Radio, featuring Lynnette Phillips, is looking forward to hearing about ‘The Spell of Zalanon’ from its author Johnny Flora, on Monday, May 23 at 3:00 PM Pacific time.
    4. Body – When you’re planning the body of your press release start with the most vital and pertinent information first. Then you can follow with quotes and facts related to the event or to your book.
    5. Proofread – Maybe you’ve heard me say “Marketing is Promotion”. Promotion depends on making a good first impression. Typos, grammar and spelling errors don’t serve as a good first impression when you’re a writer. If necessary set your press release aside for a day or two so you can look at it with fresh eyes.
You may be wondering when the best time to issue a press release is. I like to plan for a Saturday release to take advantage of the weekend traffic.
The Key to Successful Marketing is Promotion!
Lynnette
P. S. Keep Your Amazon Author’s Page Updated via Author Central (bio, picture bibliograph)

 

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Can I put a logo on my media release?

Yes. A logo can make your press release look like an official business document. It also adds a piece of artwork to make your media release look more professional.
People also ask, “Should I put my company logo on the press release, or should it be the PR firm’s logo?”

I suggest that you use your logo — unless your company is unknown and your PR firm is well known. If they can open doors for you, or if the can lend their branding to help you, then use the PR firm’s logo in addition to, or instead of, yours.

 

For more information on other questions about how to write a media release or common press release mistakes, go to our Resources Tab

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How Can I Write a Good Press Release?

Do you make these mistakes with your press releases?

Good press releases can be worth their weight in gold. A bad press release is as valuable as Fool’s Gold. Be sure you don’t make these blunders when you write your media release.

1. Bury the lead – People want to know what the story is about. Right now. A press release isn’t a suspense novel. Don’t save the best for last. Put the good stuff up front.

2. Boring - Would you read something that sounds like corporate speak or bureaucratese? Neither will a reporter. Neither will a prospect.

3. Too cute – You might love puns but most people don’t get them. Punt the puns. See what I mean? Leave them out.

4. Incorrect keywords - Search engines read press releases and code them on your keywords. If you don’t have the right keywords, your release will never be found on the search engines. Use a keyword tool to find out what people are searching for and put those words into your press release.

5. Too many keywords - Search engines hate when you use too many keywords. How many is too many? As a rule of thumb, if the press release reads like the way people talk, you’d be fine. If you think people talk like this, then you need a good editor: If you need document management software, you should review our document management software because it is the best document software you can find, according to experts in the document software field.

6. Too salesy - Press releases don’t have to have earth-shattering news but they shouldn’t be blatant sales pitches. No one likes reading those and that style won’t help you with reporters, readers or search engines. Tell your story. Hold the hype.

7. Unrealistic expectations - The press release is one step in a marketing campaign. If you are in business for the long term, then you shouldn’t have any problem with this. Don’t expect your phone to ring off the hook. Don’t expect 100 reporters to call you on day one. Don’t expect your search engine rankings to go to page one on Google. Don’t expect your prospects to instantly fall in love with you. But if you write press releases and post them to your website and send them out over credible news wires to the media, you will eventually reach all those goals. Be patient. Be persistent.

8. Sending out only one press release - You can’t hammer a nail with one swing. You can’t expect to nail hundreds or thousands of reporters or prospects with one press release. You have to send one out every month. At worst, send them out once a quarter.

9. Sending out too many press releases - Unless you are Microsoft or Apple, you don’t make so much news that you need to send a release out every few days or once a week. Too many releases would start to work against you with search engines. They like to see steady, incremental increases in content. If you put too much stuff out there too fast, they get suspicious.

10 Not following style - When you see a poem, you know it is a poem. It has a certain style and format. Same with a press release. If you don’t have the right elements in the right order, a reporter will toss out the release because she’d know you were an amateur. Make sure you have contact information followed by a headline. Then put in a dateline consisting of the city and state where you are located, the date of the release and the first paragraph. Follow with the body of the press release and close with an “about us” section where you do get brag a little bit and tell your company history. End with “30” or “###” on a separate line and center it. Why? Because it is style. If you don’t know what I just wrote, hire a good press release writer who can save you time, money and your butt.

If you avoid these 10 deadly sins of press release writing, you very well could make more sales, get more prospects and have the world beat a path to your door.

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How can you promote yourself without being obnoxious?

Once you get publicity in newspapers, TV or on media web sites, you have to let your followers, fans and prospects know about it. Of course, some people are shy about saying nice things about themselves. So look what PR LEADS client Lauren E Miller did when her stress relief techniques were printed on CNBC.com (with our help, of course).

This is her idea and it is a great idea. Here’s what she sent via email:

Subject line: Hi Dan, It’s Lauren with Spring Cleaning Your Head

Peace to you Dan,

Check out some great tips on spring cleaning your thought
life on CNBC:

http://www.cnbc.com/id/41845496

Enjoy! and if you are in Denver I hope to see you at
the Stress Skill Building Workshop on March 12th from 10-
11:30 am.  Details and registration are found on my
website: www.laurenemiller.com under events.

To Your Peace and Joy!

Lauren E Miller
CEO Microwave Stress Solutions, Inc.
www.laurenemiller.com
303-521-6134

I noticed three great tactics:

1. She didn’t jump up and down and say “I was quoted here.” She made it user benefit oriented. Of course, I’m okay with jumping up and down and saying “I was quoted here.” But she did a much better job. I’d recommend this highly.

2. She put in a tracking link to the website so she can see how many people clicked through. Now she can tell the value of her media placement.

3. She promoted her in-person seminar. The media mention was an easy way to create another positive “touch” or “impression” with her fans.

Nice job, Lauren. I learned a lot from you!

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Does choosing the correct search term makes a big difference?

One of my clients sent me a press release today about “online education.”

You’d think that is a good term.

In fact, 300,000 searches are made for that term in a month.

But, when I did more analysis, I found that many other relevant keywords were being searched more often on Google. For example:

distance learning had 1,000,000 hits

distance education had 1,000,000 hits

online courses and courses online each had over 800,000 hits.
As you can see, your first instinct for choosing a term might be good, but there might be better terms.

You must use the terms that your clients and prospects are searching for if you want to be found on the search engines.

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Are You Distributing Meaningless Press Releases?

Today’s Guest Post is written by Marsha Friedman, President of EMSI Public Relations.

The print media landscape has changed dramatically in the last two years. Most major daily newspapers no longer employ book editors or staff reviewers. They no longer have the space for reviews, nor the revenue to pay for a writer to cover that area.

Marsha Friedman

When they do want to include a books section in the Sunday paper occasionally, they typically grab copy from the wire services. Moreover, most lifestyle sections have been downsized in both space and staff. The New York Times has laid off more than 1,500 people over the last two years and they receive more than 500 press releases per day.

Who’s reading them? Anyone? Daily newspapers, monthly magazines and Web-based news outlets don’t have staff sitting around waiting for a good press release to write about. And, the way most press releases are written, they typically require some level of action on the part of the news organization to respond to it. Yet, they don’t have the staff anymore, therefore, they rarely, if ever, respond.

So, if you’re going to send out a press release, make sure it has valuable content and enough information that doesn’t require any action by the news media for it to be useful to them.

If you’re going to do your own PR, realize it’s a profession and there’s skill and knowledge you need to gain in order to be successful at it. It’s like trying to do home repairs. After a few tries to fix the pipe, if it still leaks, maybe it’s time to call the plumber. If you’re having some of these issues and you’re starting to lose faith in the message of your book, maybe it’s time to consider calling in a pro.

Marsha Friedman
Chief Executive Officer
EMSI Public Relations

http://emsincorporated.com/

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Should a Press Release Ask People to Take Action?

Getting a prospect to read a press release isn’t a cause for celebration. Getting them to take action is.

Many press releases are written solely as information pieces that describe the who, what, when, where and how of a new product or service. However, many press releases I’ve read don’t ask the reader to take action.
These press release writers want to tell the story. That is a good first step. But if you stop there, you will be leaving money on the table.

If you only tell your story but don’t ask people do anything, people will do nothing.  You are assuming people will click through to your website to learn more. You assume people will go to the store and look at the product and buy it.

Well, you all know the old story about what “assume” spells.

You must, absolutely must, put in at least one call to action on your press release and probably more than one.

What is a call to action?

Many people do not know what a “call to action” means.

A call to action is a specific request that the reader do something. For example:

–       click a link to go to a web page to read more about the product
–       click a link to go to a web page that asks them to submit their name in order to get a free sample, a special report or some other item of value
–       join a newsletter subscription list
–       call your office to speak to a representative who can answer questions and make a sale
–       make an appointment for a consultation, either by using an online form, an email or a phone number

Notice that the call to action is not an over-the-top sales pitch such as:

“Buy today and get two for the price of one.”
“This is a limited time offer. After Friday, the offer disappears.”
“There are only 50 copies available. After that, there will be no more products.”

That’s okay for a sales letter, but it would be inappropriate for a press release because people expect press releases to be information, not sales. That’s where the first set of “calls to action” is appropriate and the second set is not.

Press releases should be written so that action is asked for. If you don’t, you will not make sales or build a prospect list.

This article can be re-printed in your ezine or website if you include the following information:
Dan Janal helps small businesses get publicity so they can sell more products. His clients get terrific results from coaching, consulting, done-for-you services and do-it-yourself tools. For info, go to www.prleadsplus.com or call him at 952-380-1554.

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How Much Hype Can You Put Into A Press Release?

Press releases are meant to be promotional pieces of communication that help you tell the world about your new products and services. Reporters and prospects expect a certain amount of self-promotion. But how much is too much?

This article will show you six ways to improve your press releases so they get read and you get the attention you deserve.

1. First of all, press releases should provide a solid core of information. They must contain the who, what, when, where, why and how of the event, the product or the service. Without that information, people can’t make an intelligent decision about your offer.

In other words, people do want to know the name of your product and how it can help them. They want to know how it differs from other products or services. They even want to know the price.

What they don’t want to see is hype.

People expect a certain amount of hype. They expect you to point out your product’s good points. But no one believes that your product is the first, the best, the greatest or the most wonderful. They don’t. So why start off a relationship on a negative where they don’t trust you because you are hyping something?

They also glaze over buzzwords like “truly revolutionary” or “next generation” or any kind of over-the-top claim. In other words, if it reads like a sales letter, then start over. No one is going to be fooled that this is useful information when it is really a naked sales pitch.

2. Here’s a test. Think of your most hated infomercial food processor, exercise machine or diet program. Now, change the name of your product to “sleazy infomercial product” and re-read the press release. If you feel that you’d want to buy one, or learn more about that product, then you might have done a good job. If you think, “Who’d believe that stuff?” then you might have crossed the line.

3. Don’t make the press release look like a sales letter. Don’t use a big screaming headline in red ink. Don’t use bold face, italics or large type.  Reporters will strip out the formatting, so you can save them the time it takes to do the editing.

4. It is okay to put in a call to action that helps them learn more about your company or product. Here are examples:

“For more information, go to this link.”
“To download a free chapter, go to this link.”
“For a free consultation, go to this link.”
“For a no-obligation consultation, call this number.”

5. Read a newspaper article or two (or 200) to see what reporters are looking for in a news story and to hear the tone of the article. If you do, you’ll probably write a much better press release.

6. You can put in pictures of the product, or link to pictures from your website. If you are sending a press release to a reporter, don’t put in pictures because the file size will be quite large and might not transmit properly or quickly to reporters who use mobile devices.

If you follow these steps, you’ll be on the start to creating a press release that tells your story and will be read. If you don’t follow these steps, your press release will probably wind up in the garbage can.

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