Creating Powerful Press Releases in 10 Minutes a Day

Posted by Heather Villa, CMA, MBA, MSM on October 06, 2010 in: Business Marketing, Tips in 10

Businesses use a lot of different ways to generate attention for themselves. They might create articles that are distributed in print or online. They might use Twitter. They might use other marketing techniques. They probably use a website.

Press releases are a great way to market your business, too. In this Tips In Ten article, I’m going to show you how you can create press releases in 10 minutes. (Yes, it is possible).

A quick history lesson

Press releases have changed in the way they function since they were first put to use.

Years ago, during the newspaper age, press releases were created by businesses or individuals and sent to the newspaper office in the hopes of attracting the attention of a reporter to do a story. The press release needed to demonstrate in just a page – to the reporter – that the item was worth having a newspaper article written about it.

Sometimes, the press release would come off the printer or fax machine (or out of the envelope) and would be turned into an article on its own. And sometimes, the press release would prompt the reporter to pick up the phone and get in touch with the contact name given in the release. And sometimes (more often than not), a press release would be sent straight to the trashcan because of the overwhelming number of press releases sent to a newspaper office in a day.

Today, though, press releases work differently. In general they LOOK the same, but the ones that are distributed online perform additional functions. While they are still written as press releases (in the hopes that a reporter might inquire for more information), they are more often written to alert the general public about news or announcements in a business.

In a way, when posted online, they bypass the newsroom and go straight to the public (and show up in web searches). This also creates backlink opportunities as well because news sites pick up the press release and a link from the news site’s web page links back to the business’ web page.

So your press releases, when written and distributed online, might still be picked up by the media but are also intended to be written for your end-user – your customers and prospects. Writing press releases is a great way to distribute information and announcements about your business.

What press releases are and aren’t

Unlike articles, press releases are not generally instructive. They are to be about some specific kind of newsworthy event:

  • A sale
  • An announcement
  • An opening
  • An event
  • A newly hired staff member
  • Changes in the business

That means that your press releases need to be about your business. If you own a salon, write articles for topics about hair care, beauty trends, and techniques, and write press releases about your salon’s grand opening, a major sale you have, and a celebrity client who walked in recently.

Unlike advertising, press releases are not promotional in nature. They can talk about the business and they can announce but they cannot be advertisements. This is a little trickier to do but it is possible. The best way to make sure that your press release is less about advertising and more about announcing is to watch that you don’t include:

  • Explosive sales words like “amazing” or “unbelievable”
  • References like “you” or “we”

An advertisement might look like this:

Amazing sale on hair care products at ABC Salon. We’re dropping prices on everything! Hurry in because you don’t want to miss this weekend sale!

A press release about the same event might look like this:

ABC Salon is holding a sale on all hair care products. Prices are being lowered across all brands throughout the store; however, this limited time offer is available only through the weekend.

Notice the difference? You can almost hear a newscaster speaking the second one! So, a press release needs to be about a piece of news and it needs to be written in an announcement format.

(However, you can sneak in some of those sales words I said were forbidden. You can do it by quoting the person. They can say those things and it’s okay.)

Writing the release

So, here is how to write a press release in 10 minutes. Ready? Here goes.

First, pick your newsy topic. What announcement are you going to write about? Now, simply fill in the blanks of this template. (And follow along with me as I write a press release about Tips In Ten).

Title:
[Business Name] [news-related announcement]

i.e., Heather Villa Offers Free Productivity Tips through Tips In Ten Newsletter.

Paragraph 1: City, State, Date – [Initial paragraph about the problem.]

i.e., Miami,  Florida, August 22, 2009 – People are busy and many entrepreneurs find it challenging to juggle over-burdened schedules to get everything done.

Paragraph 2: [Elaboration on the problem. Initial introduction of the solution.]

In order to run successful businesses, these entrepreneurs need to apply techniques and ideas that can help them to get more done in less time. Heather Villa, a business coach and productivity consultant, helps small business owners do just that.

Paragraph 3: [Initial quote by key person.]

Heather Villa explains: “As a business owner, I understand the challenges that come with entrepreneurship. And, as a specialist in productivity, I’ve developed numerous techniques that business owners can quickly and easily apply in just ten minutes to get more done and enjoy greater success.”

Paragraph 4: [Details about the solution.]

Tips In Ten is a weekly newsletter delivered to a subscriber’s inbox. Each issue can be read in ten minutes and, in most cases, the time management and productivity-enhancing ideas can be applied in as little as ten minutes. Tips include how to use Twitter, how to delegate effectively, how to manage projects, how to collect receivables, and more.

Paragraph 5: [Details about the bigger picture; perhaps about the business.]

Heather Villa holds an MBA and MSM and a Certified Management Accountant designation. She is the owner of several businesses, and her private consulting practice specializes in coaching that helps small business owners to run more successful businesses by being more productive and efficient.

Paragraph 6: [Bring the topic back to the forefront and add another quote]

Subscribers have found that applying even a few of the techniques found in the Tips In Ten can raise productivity dramatically an that has a bottom line impact on the business. Heather Villa adds, “Knowing that small business owners are more successful because of these tips is such a reward.”

Paragraph 7: [Final details about the offer.]

Tips In Ten is a free weekly ezine available at http://heathervilla.com . Subscribers leave their name and email address and can unsubscribe at any time.

Paragraph 8: [Contact information.]

For more information about Tips In Ten or any of Heather Villa’s services, visit http://heathervilla.com.

Wasn’t that easy? At this point the paragraphs are short but they’re all there and they contain the content you need. You might add a couple sentences here or there, proof read it and it’s ready to go!

You can distribute it at a number of locations. I recommend some of the following:

  • http://prweb.com
  • http://ereleases.com
  • http://1888pressrelease.com

There are many others although I’ve had the best results from these. I’ve also found that the free release options are okay but paying for a release has given me better results, particularly because I can target the press release and often get robust tracking to see who, where, and when the release gets clicked.

Heather Recommends:

Running a business can be busy, challenging work. I can help you become more productive and successful. Find out how.

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