Here’s the dilemma: you want to advertise your business. You know that the key to effective advertising is repetition. The kind of repetition it takes to get results you can measure by increased sales requires a minimum of four figures in the advertising column of your budget. The cold, hard truth is that your advertising budget just barely squeaks past the three-figure threshold. Before you head for Main Street draped in despair and a sandwich board emblazoned with your web address, read on.
Here are the facts: advertising is expensive, often difficult to track, largely ineffective (excluding a few highly targeted methods), and a necessary part of any marketing budget. So how do small business owners with baby budgets get the most bang for their advertising buck?
The secret to maximizing your advertising dollars is in learning how to write an irresistible press release. A well written release, coupled with a few carefully sprinkled advertising dollars spent in well targeted locations, will go a long way towards increasing the chances of your press release earning space.
You want maximum exposure with minimum investment and editors want content their readers will enjoy and find useful. If you learn to master the art of writing a press release that is educational, informative, inspiring and grammatically correct, you will enjoy seeing yourself promoted in print, time and time again.
Here’s the recipe for cooking up a stellar press release:
1. Make sure it doesn’t read like a thinly veiled advertisement! The slightest hint of a sales pitch in the text will earn your document a speedy, non stop flight to the trash.
2. Start with the meat of the matter. Your opening paragraph should deliver the five “W”s: who, what, when, where, why.
3. The next paragraph should elaborate on the first, offering a few juicy details designed to entice the reader to want to know more.
4. If the topic includes reference to an expert of some sort, offer some compelling biographical information about that person next.
5. If you really want to dazzle, add a journalistic feel by including a quote, as though the document were the result of an interview. For example, “We are delighted to have such an accomplished speaker for our event,” reports Executive Director Lisa Almeida.
6. The big finish. Wrap up with a quick review of the details and a name, number or web site for further information.
7. Before sending it off, be sure to take the time to find out the submission preferences of each publication or posting site. You’ll want to know the proper individual or department to submit to along with preferred method of submission; fax, email, PDF, Word document etc. as well as desired lead time and deadlines.
Don’t be discouraged if your first attempts don’t make it into print. If you are diligent about following submission rules and you keep honing your content and structure, you’ll eventually find the sweet spot. And how sweet it is when you see your business being promoted and you know it won’t be followed by an invoice!