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Press Releases: Do You Make These Mistakes When Writing Press Releases?

Last month was a great month for my new Guaranteed Press Release program. 30 clients wrote press releases that I edited and then sent out to the media where they were printed on many sites that led to high search engine rankings and lots of traffic back to their sites.

After editing so many press releases, I realized many people made the same mistakes, over and over. Here are the top 11 mistakes that you can avoid when you write your press releases:

  1. Headlines were too long. Although there aren’t any rules about exact word length, if you go beyond one deck of headline using 14-point type, you’d better have a good reason.
  2. Headlines that buried the keywords. Writing headlines these days is as much for attracting the attention of Google as it is to attract the attention of reporters. Here’s a formula to follow: Key audience achieves key benefit when using/reading your product/book. For example: C-level Executives Get Greater Employee Retention When Following Advice in “New Book Title” or “C-Level Executives Get Greater Employee Retention When Following Advice from Employee Expert Jill Smith.”
  3. In the headline, use Title case, that is, the first letter of each word is capitalized, except pronouns and articles. If you don’t know what a pronoun or an article is, then hire someone to write your press release. Do not use all upper case in the headline.
  4. Every press release needs a “dateline” to start the first paragraph. The “dateline” consists of the city and state where you are located and the date of the press release. Then follow with a dash and the first paragraph. For example: Excelsior, Minnesota — January 24, 2011 – C-Level Executives can get better…
  5. If you use quotations, and you should, start the paragraph with the quotation. Don’t start it with “Dr. John Smith said, “C-level executives can get…” It’s more impactful to start with a quote.
  6. Watch your punctuation at the end of a quote. The proper punctuation is that the comma goes before the ending quotation mark. For example: “C-level executives can be more productive,” said D. Jill Smith.
  7. You can put links to your pictures, videos or additional information. You can lead people from the press release to your website.
  8. When you do put in links to your site, use them as hyperlinks so when people click on the link they can go to the page you want them to see.
  9. Also, spell out the link in case the site that prints the press release suppresses the actual link. For example: For information about publicity, go to Dan Janal’s Guaranteed Press Releases,
  10. Put highly searched terms into your press release and link them to your site. For example, “Publicity strategy is an important part of a marketing campaign.”  In this example, “publicity strategy” is the term I want people to click on. If you do research on what keywords people are looking for on Google, and you put those links into your press release, you’ll have a great chance of being found on the search engines. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then you should hire me to write your press releases so they will be found on Google and get you more traffic.
  11. Don’t use italics, boldface or underlines. Newspapers and media web sites don’t print those fancy characters, so you can build some rapport with a copy editor by not putting in elements that they will have to remove.

If you follow these tips, your press releases will do a better job of getting publicity for you.

To Your Success!

Dan Janal

P.S. For more information on the power of press releases, please check out my special report on “How To Get Printed On Top Tier Media” at

Publicity Tactics: Does Old Media Still Matter?

Is Old Media still relevant in today’s social media world in terms of getting publicity that helps you make sales?

You bet.

While it is great to get mentioned on blogs and social media sites, Old Media or Mainstream Media is still the place to be to get results.

Here are 5 reasons to include Old Media in your publicity and marketing campaigns:

  1. Credibility. If the New York Times likes your product or service, you get instant credibility. I could name 100 other mainstream publications that you’d love to get into so your product, book or service gets the ringing endorsement of a trusted source.
  2. Visibility. Newspapers, TV and radio still reach millions of people every day. While we all like to get some of our news online, you can’t ignore the impact of traditional media sites and their incredible reach into mainstream America.
  3. Reprintability. Let’s face it. Nothing stands out in marketing kit or sales kit like a reprint from a newspaper or magazine. It demands to be great and it smacks of credibility. I’m seeing more and more websites feature logos of old media companies that have written about those authors and small businesses. That should tell you something: people are influenced and impressed by Old Media.
  4. Links to your site. Nearly all content from nearly all Old Media is printed on the web. Oftentimes, those articles have links to your websites, or are otherwise indexed by Google and other search engines. So if someone is searching for your type of business, they very well may learn about your from a reference in the Old Media on their web site. That’s a great introduction. In fact, I had one client who was named one of the top 20 entrepreneurs of the year by Entrepreneur magazine. When you search her name, the first listing is the link to Entrepreneur, not her own website. Can you imagine how much confidence and credibility she just received? Anyone searching for her can see that she has the implied endorsement of a top magazine! That’s a great way to start a conversation.
  5. Ego. Would you rather say that someone Tweeted about you or that the Boston Globe printed a review of your book and included a picture of the cover? I rest my case.

None of this discussion even hints that new media is not worthwhile. It truly is. However, the torch has not been passed from one generation of news hounds to the next – at least not yet.

Good publicity practices should include Old Media as well as New Media so you and your clients get the most publicity possible.

One tactic that I’ve found to be indispensible in getting my clients links from media sites is to distribute press releases. Many top media sites will print press releases word-for-word so you control the message. The benefits of doing this include getting links to your site, creating screen shots of your press release on famous sites to build your credibility and the visibility of reaching the audiences of those publications.

For a free report on how to get your message printed in top tier media websites, go to

To Your Success!

Dan Janal

How to Get Your Press Release Read By More Prospects And Reporters

A press release that gathers dust doesn’t help anyone. Your prospects and reporters need to find your press release when they search through Google.

Here are 6 ways to make your press release stand out, above the competition, so you can get more qualified prospects visiting your website.

  1. Target a specific audience and put that into the headline. A headline that says “Doctors can improve patient satisfaction by following these five principles” will do better than a generic headline that says “Business can improve customer satisfaction by following these five principles.” The more specific you are, the better, all things being equal.
  2. Find keywords your prospects are searching for. You can use Google’s search tool to find what people are looking for. Use those short keywords (like “personal finance”) as well as long-tail keywords (like “how can I save money for my retirement?).
  3. Look at keywords on your competitors’ sites. You can see this information by visiting their sites, or by using keyword analysis tools.
  4. Use places in your press release if you are a local business. For example, if you are a dentist and want local patients, then put the name of your city or county in the press release. If you want clients from all over the country, it is not necessary to do this.
  5. Proclaim your expertise in the headline. If you put “publicity expert” in the headline, you will more likely be found if someone is looking for a “publicity expert.”
  6. Use keywords throughout the press release, but don’t over-do it. How do you know when too much is too much? When it sounds unnatural. You’ll know it when you see it. It’s like pepper. A little dash works wonders, but too much ruins the meal.

If you follow these tips, you’ll have a better chance of seeing your press release at the top of the search engines where reporters and prospects and fine your news.

To Your Success!

Dan Janal

Do you want to get your business quoted on top media sites – guaranteed? Check out this special report:

I help speakers, authors and small businesses get publicity so they can sell more products and get more speaking engagements. I make this happen with coaching, consulting, done-for-you services and do-it-yourself tools. For info, go to or call me at 952-380-9844.

Do You Make These Press Release Mistakes?

I used to believe that you should do your own publicity and press releases.  After all, who can tell your story better than you can?

Turns out, I was wrong.

I’ve spoken to thousands of people in the past year about writing press releases during my speeches at conferences and on teleseminars and webinars. Now I am forced to admit that I was wrong.

You can’t write your own press release and you can’t do your own publicity.

From thousands of encounters, I’ve gathered these insights:

  1. You need an outside perspective. You can’t tell your own story. Many people don’t even know what their story is. They pick the dullest, least newsworthy aspect of their business and they describe it in a way that only a mother could love.
  2. They bury the lead. I saw a press release where the person didn’t mention he had written a new book until the 8th paragraph. “I didn’t want people to think I was being too self-promotional,” he said. There’s a big difference between looking like a snake-oil salesman and looking like Katie Couric.
  3. They don’t know English. If you want a good press release, don’t ask your programmer in Pakistan to write it for you. I’m not kidding. This happened. The release actually wasn’t that bad, but it didn’t look like English you’d read. It was sort of like looking at a guy with a bad toupee. You knew something wasn’t right, but you couldn’t tell right away.
  4. Formatting and style. A press release has to look like a press release just like a poem looks like a poem and a play looks like a play and a greeting card looks like a greeting card. If you don’t put in a headline, dateline, “30” and other features, then reporters know the document is the work of an amateur.
  5. Keywording is nonexistent. Today’s press releases need to be found on the search engines. Using proper keywords is a key way to get seen. If you don’t know what I’m talking about when I say “keyword” then I’ve proved my point. You need help.
  6. One and done. If you think you are going to set the world on fire with just one press release, then you’re way off base. Successful marketing is about creating multiple impressions and getting seen anywhere and everywhere your target audience looks. If you show up to a Rotary Club meeting once, no one will remember you. You have to show up every week before people realize you are alive. Same with press releases. Plan a campaign. Don’t stop with just one.
  7. Procrastination. People have a lot on their plates these days. If you look at press releases as just one more thing to do, then it won’t get done. Press releases can do so much good for you, it is a shame people don’t take the first step to get started.
  8. Competing interests. Every entrepreneur I know juggles more balls than Randy Moss. It is hard to get focused and stay focused – especially if you don’t really know how to do publicity or write a press release. That’s even more reason to look for help.
  9. Not getting started. Given all these reasons and examples, it is easy to see why some people start to write a press release and then give up. That’s all the more reason to get help from someone who knows what they are doing. Hey, you don’t do your legal work; you hire a lawyer. You don’t do your taxes; you hire an expert. You don’t invest in your own stocks (maybe that’s another story);  you hire a personal financial advisor. Maybe the slogan should be “Friends don’t let friends write their own press releases.”

If this sounds like you, then we need to talk.

Short story: I write the release and send it out to top media for just $795.

Details: I can write your press releases. I won’t be the cheapest price on the market, but I am the best. With more the 30 years of daily newspaper writing, public relations writing and book writing, believe me, I can write a press release. Plus I can guarantee it will be printed on at least 40 media web sites.

For info, go to or email me at

Thanks for letting me get this rant off my chest. I just hate to see a good opportunity wasted.

To Your Success,

Dan Janal

How to Write a “Top Trends for 2011” Press Release

Now’s the perfect time to write a press release announcing your predictions for the coming year. Your readers and your prospects like to see what thought leaders like you think will happen in the coming year.

Here are 10 tips to write a “Top Trends to Look for in 2011” press release.

  1. List 10 trends or thoughts or ideas that you think are likely to happen.
  2. Explain why each is important.
  3. Offer a short story or anecdote that illustrates that point, if you can. You don’t need to do this for each tip, but it is a good way for people to follow your train of thought.
  4. Add a bit of humor. One humorous prediction is always relished. In fact, if you have a cool wit, the entire press release could be done with tongue in cheek. People love to pass around funny material, so this press release could go viral.
  5. Show why you are the expert to write this piece. Refer to your consulting, coaching or books. That way you subtly market your services so you can get new business.
  6. Keep the press release to 750 words or less. People don’t have a lot of time to read long pieces. We are in the midst of a period in which people have shorter and shorter attention spans. So your press releases and articles need to be shorter.
  7. Use key words in the headline and first paragraph to grab the attention of search engines. People use search engines to find companies like yours and products like yours. If you do you use the right keywords, you will have a lot more qualified prospects reading your press release and visiting your site.
  8. Put links to specific web pages into your press release. For example, you could lead people to your home page, your squeeze page, your blog or your sales page. Or all of them. Use your links wisely.
  9. If you don’t have time to write this, find someone who can. The chance for positive exposure is great.
  10. Post the press release to your blog. Share the link with your followers on LinkedIn®, Facebook and Twitter.

If you have trouble writing this press release, let me know and I’ll write it for you – as well as brainstorm if needed. Then I’ll send it to top news media outlets and vertical market reporters. I’ll even guarantee that at least 40 media websites will print the press release or I’ll give you your money back.

Want details? Please see or if you are ready to start NOW, call me at 952-380-9844.

To Your Success!

Dan Janal

Should You Write A Press Release If You Don’t Have a Web Site?

Not too long ago, I appeared on a teleseminar to talk about how to get guaranteed publicity with press releases.

Julia, a coach, asked me if a press release could help “jumpstart” her business even though she didn’t have a website.

At first, I thought she should wait until she had a website. After all, don’t we want to showcase our talents and successes to our prospects so they will hire us?

Then I thought and I realized I was getting too involved in the process and not enough involved in the outcome.

The “outcome” of any marketing activity is to inspire a phone call so you can overcome any fears or objections the person has and sign them up for your service. In today’s economy, fewer people than ever are buying services from a website without speaking to a real person.

For that reason, I think a press release would help Julia even before she has a website. Here’s why.

  1. The press release will contain her contact info, so people can call her or email her if they wish.
  2. The press release can describe the “next step” you want people to take. For some of us, that next step is to go to a website and sign up for a special report so we can identify prospects and start a relationship. But the call to action could just as easily be “to arrange for a complimentary evaluation, call me at this number or email me at this address.”
  3. Some people don’t want to read a long report or a sales letter anyway. They would much rather talk to the person who is going to help them so they can see if that’s the right match for them. Why would you want to delay that process?
  4. When you send a press release out via my service, I can guarantee it will get printed on at least 40 media websites. This helps you in several ways:
  5. People will see the press release on the media web sites, read it and some will contact you.
  6. The press release will be indexed on Google, so someone who is looking for someone like you will be more likely to find you. As I wrote earlier, they will see your phone and email address so they can contact you.
  7. You will benefit from the branding halo of the media web sites. The media gives credibility to people who are written about. You can trumpet that fact when you do talk with prospects, as in “I was written up in 40 media websites, that’s why you should hire me instead of someone else.”
  8. When you do create a website, you will have great material to post, including the press release and a list of the media sites that printed the press release.
  9. You can use the names of the publications on your marketing materials, like your business card and you emails.
  10. Your readers and your prospects will think highly of you because your press release contains useful information that helps them solve a problem. As a problem solver, you will enhance your credibility in their eyes.

Based on these 10 facts, I think you should send out a press release. I can help you write and distribute your press release, if you wish. If you need a referral to a web designer who works with coaches in the spiritual space, please let me know and I’ll be happy to refer you to him.

To Your Success,

Dan Janal