Release the Secret Weapon!
When I began in the public relations industry, I was just starting out in that field. I had this misconception that press releases required a level of training that I had yet to acquire – and then my customers started asking me to write press releases! I approached it skeptically, but to my surprise I enjoyed writing them, I was good at it and the response was phenomenal. Am I special in this regard? Well, my mom would tell you, “Yes,” but between you and me, almost anyone can write a decent press release. That’s the first secret. The second secret is that press releases are a free, or very low cost, way to promote your business. It just takes a little prep work and a little effort.
I’m going to start by getting down to the basics of how a press release works. If you keep these things in mind, you’re well on your way to successfully using this marketing technique. The goal in writing a press release is to get editors to pick up your article for redistribution in their own publication. It’s a pretty simple concept. You write about your business and then hundreds or thousands of other people read it when it is published as content in other publications. That sounds great, right? Well, that’s because it really is pretty great!
What you need to know in order for your article to be chosen to be published is that editors don’t want a self-serving article about you and the fact that you’re hoping to sell things. If they did, their publication would be in short demand and on its way to going out of business. What have we learned about audiences? They want to be educated with a little entertainment on the side. So, that’s exactly what you need to supply, an educational and entertaining article that mentions your business and has contact information about where people can find you and your products.
Often when I write press releases, I take a few minutes of brainstorming to decide how I can make the article connect with the general public. Is there a holiday or season I can reference? Is there an emotion or sentiment the product provokes? Is there something about it that could make people’s lives easier or more pleasant? I look for the “hook,” that will get people to connect with the information I’m providing.
It helps to write in short paragraphs, to add interesting quotes and to add a picture, although that usually comes with a price tag. Some PR sites allow one link, but for some adding a clickable link also is an added expense. It’s up to you to decide if the cost of these “extras” is worth the expense, but if you’re launching a business or product, if you do any of the following then the extra expense to really get your product or event noticed through a press release may be worth it.
• create high-end crafts
• are looking for an upscale clientele
• have an extremely noteworthy experience or event
• are launching a product that you anticipate will be popular with the general public
• have images that really sell your merchandise
I have used PR.com, successfully for many years although clients have also requested I use other submission sites occasionally so I am also familiar with 24-7pressrelease.com, inewswire.com and several others. All of these sites have the same basic format, with free, one time or multiple press release plans.
Since your article will be available on the internet, your text should be search engine friendly. The first three words of your title should be keywords referencing your article. It’s also important to know the keywords associated with your merchandise and industry and use them throughout your article. Here is google adwords keyword finder to help you get started: Google Adwords Keyword Planner
TIP: It’s a good plan to keep a list of the keywords associated with your product or business to use in all your online content.
Speaking of plans, remember to plan ahead! There is the option to pre-schedule your press release for a specific day and time, but there is a middle step. Your press release will need to be approved for distribution, so don’t wait until the last minute. Approval times vary, and there is the possibility that you will need to make some changes and resubmit your article for another round of approval. Remember to pay attention to the site’s writing guidelines and get your article submitted early if you want it published by a certain deadline date that coincides with your launch, a holiday or a specific event.
The bottom line is that press releases are an easy and inexpensive way to get publicity for your business and merchandise circulated on the internet. It allows your information to be available to craft and trade related magazines as well sd accessible to search engines. It really is a great resource for promoting your business and your success as a craft artisan.