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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, http://www.pressreleasesender.com
  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 http://www.pressreleasesender.com/toptiermedia/

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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 http://www.pressreleasesender.com/toptiermedia/ or email me at sales@prleads.com.

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

To Your Success,

Dan Janal

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