12 Steps to Writing and Sending a Press Release that Attracts Clients to You
In 1983, Dr. Paul Hartunian actually sold the Brooklyn Bridge … to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
How did he do it? Via free advertising generated by press releases.
In fact, not only has he generated millions of dollars of free advertising, but he’s been featured in some of the most prestigious publications and most viewed channels and shows around, including Forbes magazine, CNN, and The Tonight Show.
Here’s where it all started …
Hartunian heard on the news that the wooden walkway of the Brooklyn Bridge was being replaced. He quickly made a phone call to the company removing the walkway and offered to buy the rotting wood walkway. He cut up the wood into one inch squares. And then he wrote a press release with the headline, “New Jersey Man Sells Brooklyn Bridge … for $14.95.”
For around $100 or less, he sent out 200 press releases and had reporters from around the country calling him and doing stories for months.
As a freelance writer, you probably won’t do anything as outrageous as Hartunian. And, you may not be seeking vast media attention. But, press releases can get you noticed and help:
- Attract your ideal client.
- Raise your online presence.
- Increase traffic to your website.
- Position you as a celebrity or expert.
Hartunian says one of the key factors to getting the media to do a story on you or your business is to keep in mind that the media isn’t interested in giving you free advertising. They are interested in information and stories that will intrigue, interest, or entertain their readers, viewers, or listeners.
As a writer, this is right up your alley. You can use your copywriting skills to weave a story that will spark interest and intrigue readers. For example, you could use curiosity in a headline to announce a new service you offer. Your headline might read something like, “ABC Marketing Adds New Service, Doubling Profits for Clients.” Plus, because the press release is about you or your business, it should be fairly easy and quick for you to write.
However, there are some important things you need to know about how to write and send a press release that attracts clients to your business.
I've put together 12 simple steps to guide you:
Define your objective. Determine what you are going to write about. It could be an event with your company, a personal achievement, an announcement of a joint venture or partnership. Ask yourself what you are trying to accomplish with your press release. Are you trying to get featured in your local newspaper or CNN? Get noticed by industry bloggers? Are you trying to generate new business or revenue? Or, do you simply want to use an online press release to optimize your website for specific keywords to increase traffic to your site?
Depending on what you’re trying to accomplish, your target audience will be different and, therefore, your approach will be, too. For example, if you are trying to get noticed by the media, your goal will be more about being interesting or entertaining. But, if your goal is to optimize your website, you’ll be more concerned about weaving keywords in your story and headline that will help people searching for your business find you.
Identify your audience. Just like when you write a sales letter, understanding who your target audience is will get better results. Draw a picture of your ideal target in your mind. How old are they? How much money do they make? What type of industry do they work in? And so on.
Research Keywords. Use keywords that a buyer or customer would search for when looking for you on Google or other search engines. Choose two to three keywords per press release. Make them important keywords. For example, if you are writing a release for your business, one of your keywords should be the niche you specialize in, such as info-marketing. Another keyword might be a main word related to your announcement or to your specialty, such as copywriting.
Use two of your main keywords in the headline. Then, include them again in your first paragraph and in your summary. Use these keywords to link to pages on your website. Make sure your keywords are relevant to what you are saying in your press release. For example, if your press release is about a new service you added to your business, you might say, “ABC Marketing Helps Restaurant Businesses Get Free Advertising with New Service.”
Tell a compelling story. Your first paragraph should grab your reader’s attention and tell them the main points of the story. Make your press release about five to six paragraphs long with four to five sentences per paragraph. The total word count should be close to 500 words. (For more information on what to include in each paragraph, check out John Wood’s article, “A Simple, 103-Year-Old Strategy That Will Boost Your Income and Enhance Your Client’s Image.”)
Create a paragraph at the end of your story which includes a link to your website with a compelling offer (such as to get your free report, e-book, or a consulting session). Include your contact information and website for media contacts.
Distribute your press release locally and offline. This can be to your local newspapers, radio stations, and TV stations. There might also be organizations you belong to or specialty niche publications.
Distribute your press release online. It’s a good idea to distribute your press release online even if you aren’t looking to get a story published. This will help you establish an online presence and help you with search engine rankings. You can do this through online press release distribution sites. Some are free and some will charge. Depending on how important an announcement is, you may want to consider a paid distribution site. It can be a small trade-off for a major hit. A few free sites you can use are Free-Press-Release.com, PR.com, and Free-Press-Release-Center.info.
Submit your press release to social bookmarking sites such as StumbleUpon, Technorati, and Digg. Social bookmarking is a powerful tool that can help promote your website by spreading your URL so you can get backlinks and increase traffic to your site.
Share your press release with your list, friends, business colleagues, and any organizations you belong to. Ask your friends to comment on your press release online as comments will attract more search-engine attention and help you get more exposure.
Share your press release on your Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn accounts. This not only helps you get your news out, which these sites love, but it helps drive traffic to your online press release. Ask people to retweet and share your press release with others.
Aim for writing press releases on a consistent basis. If you really want to beef up your online presence, write a release at least once a week and your presence will really build over time.
However, if that seems like more than you can handle, start with one a month and build from there. You can announce new clients you land, awards you win, and new services you add. You could also announce significant results you get for clients or when you attend conferences or complete special training.
Follow these 12 steps, and you’ll be on your way to writing press releases that get you noticed by prospective clients and more. You can use them to build yourself from unknown to a leading expert in your industry. Plus, repeatedly sending press releases will build your web presence, which will help attract clients to you instead of you having to hunt them down.
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