Are You Missing Out on a Huge Opportunity to Reach Your Market?
There was a time not too long ago that the sole purpose for writing a press release was to get press. Which, if you think about it, makes sense, right?
However, I’m finding more and more that writing a press release is one of the single greatest ways to attract qualified sales leads imaginable. And yet, so few companies actually do it.
The goal of a press release has changed because the target audience is not necessarily a reporter, or editor… It’s your target customer.
Not a single press release I’ve written for my business has gotten picked up by main stream news, yet all of them have produced sales leads.
For instance, in a webinar that we gave last year, our press release (from PRWeb.com) attracted 90 visitors to a landing page on a website that was less than 30 days old. Because of some SEO techniques that were uses, I suspect that most of the Google traffic to the landing page is due to the press release as well.
And another 58 or so went directly to our blog
What is the true potential of the press release?
Over 1,400 people read the press release over the course of one month. 1,400 people knew that I was going to have a webinar. That says two things:
1. Press releases are a great way to get a lot of people to your site; and
2. I probably left some opportunities out there. But it was one of my first releases, and I was learning.
30 Minutes to a Good, Solid Press Release
What should you write your press release about?
Your company might not be Apple launching the newest version of the iPhone, but that doesn’t mean that there something to write about.
- A new product or service: If you are launching a new product, or service, or product feature; then write a press release. It’s most definitely news worthy!
- New Website: If you have a new website that will better serve your customers, that’s news worthy.
- Webinar/white paper: This is my personal favorite. If you have written a new white paper/ebook or are going to have a webinar, then this is a great way to get people to sign up.
- Tie in to current events: A few weeks ago, the Northeast was hit by Hurricane Irene. If you have a testimonial from a customer showing how your product or service helped them during this time of crisis, write a press release about it!
One of the best parts about writing a Press Release is that they are the gift that keeps on giving. If you do proper keyword research, you can get onto the front page of Google tomorrow!
Here’s a press release that we just experimented with. We wanted to rank for the words “Increase online sales leads”. The title was “How Mid-Sized B2B Companies can Incease Online Sales Leads in 30 Days”.
The day after we released it, it was ranked second on Google. Admittedly, this ranking will decrease over time, but if you write press releases frequently, you’ll consistently be at the top of search engines.
Write a Compelling Headline
An experienced copywriter will tell you that the difference between something getting read and something getting ignored is the headline.
Here’s a simple headline formula that almost always gets read:
“How to [insert the problem your product/service/white paper is going to solve]”
For instance a marketing firm might say “How to get more Facebook Fans”.
An Audio Visual company might say “How to decrease the cost of your next system”.
Can you do better than a simple “How to” headline? Of course! However, if you use this simple formula, your headline is going to be better than 99% of all headlines produced.
Tone of the press release
Before we get started with the opening paragraph of the press release, let me just talk for a second about the tone. Always write the release in the 3rd person, so never use words like “you”, “your”, “our”, “us”, etc. And always avoid unsubstantiated hype. Unless you can get credible third party validation, you can’t say it.
Many companies make the mistake of saying that they are “the world’s largest provider” or “the industry leader” or something like that. Unless your industry magazine states that you are those things, then it’s best to leave them out of the press release.
The simplest way to begin is to be direct. Tell people straight way what it is that you are doing.
For instance, if it was a press release that I was writing for Cloud Marketing Labs, I would write something like:
“Cloud Marketing Labs, a B2B marketing firm, is hosting a free webinar that shows how businesses can increase Facebook fans.”
This opening line accomplishes a few things:
- It tells readers who we are, and why we are (relatively) important.
- It tells them why they should care. (More Facebook fans).
- It tells them how they are going to receive the information (via a webinar).
My very next line of the opening paragraph would be:
“The webinar is going to be held on….”
Get a quote from the CEO – or better yet, a customer
Always insert a quote into your press release. It helps the readers be reminded that an actual human being is behind your company. Get a quote from a customer talking about how the success of their recent Facebook page explosion has dramatically altered the course of their company.
Or get a quote from your CEO that tells readers why increasing Facebook fans is important for their business.
Call to Action: The Money Step
Most press releases just end. They talk about the webinar, or the free trial, and that’s the end of it. I think that this is a HUGE mistake. Remember the statistic above: Over 1,400 people read that one press release. I had to send them somewhere – if not, I’d lose all of the interested readers.
There are almost an infinite amount of calls to actions, but here are three examples that work extremely well:
- Click here to sign up for our webinar: [insert link]
- Visit our Facebook page and “like” us to download our ebook: [insert link]
- Sign up for our newsletter to receive more useful tips: [insert link]
This takes some experimenting and some practice, but even if you get 90 people to your webinar, or Facebook page, or whatever… then it is time well spent.
One more thing
The more Press Releases you write, the more success you will have. There is a cumulative effect that goes on. The number of readers increases, the amount of traffic increases, the amount of subscriptions increase, and so on…
You’re done your release, now what?
Now you distribute your release. I recommend one of two services:
PRWeb and PRLog.org
PRWeb is a paid service that works great for SEO. It also allows you to incorporate videos, pictures of your product, and anchor link your text.
PRLog.org is a free service. While the SEO isn’t bad, you can’t anchor link text. You also can’t incorporate videos or pictures.
Of the two, PRWeb will give you a much broader reach than PRLog.